SC State Fiscal Status Faces Continued Criticism


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WOLO) -- South Carolina's inspector general says financially struggling South Carolina State University should stop diverting millions of dollars to school foundations.

The historically black school reportedly sent $2.3 million in rebates from contract vendors to a pair of school foundations in recent years.
The state watchdog says money from contracts to any state agency should not go to foundations with no legislative or public oversight.

The report says the S.C. State University Foundation, which spends money on student scholarships, also paid for travel, consultants, flowers, entertainment, meetings and country-club memberships. The report did not say who received or requested the expenditures.

The school's board of trustees recently voted 8-to-1 to give university resident Thomas Elzey a $50,000 bonus. School officials say this is in line with a one-year contract evaluation that was already set in place for Elzey. University spokesperson Sonja Bennett-Bellamy says the president's bonus did not come from any Foundation or other state funding and does not impact the school's bottom line in any way.

The university has faced a $13.6 million deficit and has borrowed $6 million from the state of South Carolina. The school says it will make changes to increase transparency.

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