Auditors find more policy violations by top Kennesaw State officials


University System of Georgia auditors have found more policy violations by top administrators at Kennesaw State University — this time conflict-of-interest and ethics breaches in the division responsible for “the nuts and bolts of campus life,” including food for more than 33,000 students.

The reports, dated June 2 and received by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open-records request, come as a separate report auditors’ released Friday cited Kennesaw State president Dan Papp for violating financial policies involving compensation, annual leave and car allowance payments.

The additional violations, some dating back to 2012, occurred during Papp’s tenure, putting a stain on his 10-year presidential tenure. Papp abruptly announced his retirement from the university earlier this month.

The additional reports, addressed to Papp, found that Kennesaw State’s administrator over the school’s dining halls and food services vendors violated policies in numerous cases.

A special review of Randall Shelton, assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services and Programs, found that he:

  • did consulting work for one of the school’s current vendors, Ballard Brands;
  • traveled to conferences for the company but charged Kennesaw State for the trips;
  • interfered in the bidding process for companies competing for a dining contract, which resulted in an annual donation to the department he supervised;
  • authorized the former dining director to use a vendor’s truck to move personal belongings
  • used his position to get family and friends hired.

The University System, through a spokesman on Monday, declined to comment on personnel matters, including whether Shelton was still employed with Kennesaw State. A photo and welcome message from Shelton was still included on the division’s website Monday. The auditor’s report involving Shelton has been referred to the state attorney general’s office, the spokesman said.

The University System got its first complaint against Shelton in November, according to the review. Another tip in January, on its ethics hotline, claimed he revived one of Ballard Brands’ franchises, WOW Wingery, on campus and that likely cost KSU more than $430,000 in building improvements, fees and lost revenue.

The allegations in the hotline tip were largely corroborated by system auditors, the report said.

Shelton’s Auxiliary Services division is responsible for university stores, student ID cards and parking permits, campus copy and print services, dining halls, parking, student health and campus postal services. The division addresses “the nuts and bolts of campus life,” according to its website. Each unit in the division operates as a business, and as mandated by the Board of Regents, pays for its own salaries and payroll benefits, facilities, systems, equipment, all other operating costs, and debt service out of money generated from sales and student fees.

In auditing the Auxiliary Services division, state auditors also found several management problems in the division. The most egregious related to long-running investigations of Kennesaw State’s former dining director, Gary Coltek. Auditors found that top-level officials at the school failed to notify the university system of alleged misdeeds by Coltek, who resigned from Kennesaw State in late 2015, and has been accused of misusing state resources, conflicts of interest nepotism and other ethics violations. Coltek is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Kennesaw State conducted three investigations — criminal and legal investigations in 2012 and a third management investigation in 2015 — into Coltek’s actions. But school officials only reported one investigation to the University System, violating policies. The issues identified in the investigation “clearly warranted” punishment beyond a letter of reprimand, which Kennesaw State officials gave to Coltek, the report states.

The report also found that six of the seven dining outlets on the main campus in Kennesaw operated at a loss in fiscal 2015, and noted an overly costly outsourced dining provider’s contract and weak expense controls for dining.

To fix the problems, auditors recommended future malfeasance investigations be conducted by the University System’s audit office, rebidding the current dining contract, revising the department’s organizational structure and eliminating the controversial mandatory commuter meal plans.

Papp has 30 days to submit a response to the University System responding to the draft audit of the auxiliary services division. The final audit report, including the recommendations and his responses, will then be issued.

Papp is set to retire from Kennesaw State June 30. During his time leading the university, Papp has overseen the consolidation of Kennesaw State with Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, led the school in starting a football program, and almost doubled the number of academic programs.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Breaking: Clark Atlanta University president to resign in December
Breaking: Clark Atlanta University president to resign in December

Clark Atlanta University President Ronald A. Johnson is resigning in December for personal reasons, he wrote in a letter Friday, after leading the university for more than three years. “I make this decision for personal reasons and I advised our Board of Trustees of my intentions today,” Johnson wrote. “While I am reluctant to...
Official: $1B Mega Millions jackpot will impact education payouts
Official: $1B Mega Millions jackpot will impact education payouts

A big lottery jackpot also means a bigger payout for education.  Georgia Lottery officials said Friday’s $1 billion jackpot — the first of its kind for Mega Millions — is a big deal toward surpassing the $1.1 billion the Georgia Lottery contributed toward education during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.  Georgia...
Opinion: I’m not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one.
Opinion: I’m not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one.

A senior at Etowah High School wrote an essay about the message school dress codes deliver to young women.  Regular readers know I share Cherokee County student Madison Jones’ concerns over dress codes and the misplaced focus on how the behavior and appearance of girls impacts boys and their education. Most recently, I wrote about a...
Savannah State planning cuts as tuition and revenue declines
Savannah State planning cuts as tuition and revenue declines

Savannah State University administrators are considering budget cuts to deal with recent enrollment and revenue declines. University President Cheryl Dozier said in a recent letter to faculty and staff that enrollment has declined two consecutive years, which has resulted in a reduction in funding this fiscal year. Savannah State’s total budget...
Investigators probe DeKalb teacher’s relationships with other students
Investigators probe DeKalb teacher’s relationships with other students

Investigators are looking at whether a DeKalb teacher, found dead after being accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his students, had been inappropriate with  other students.  Zachary Meadors, 28, of Lawrenceville, was found dead Wednesday in a vehicle in the 1200 block of Scenic Highway in Gwinnett County late Wednesday...
More Stories