Stanford wants whistle-blower removed from job

January 01, 1992|By Peninsula Times Tribune

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Stanford University leaders are stepping up efforts to turn the tables on whistle-blower Paul Biddle and a lawsuit he has filed.

Mr. Biddle, the Navy representative on campus responsible for all federal research contracts with Stanford, has provoked the university's ire by publicizing his accusations that Stanford has billed the government for such things as flowers, refurbishing a grand piano and maintenance on a 72-foot yacht as part of indirect costs associated with government-sponsored research.

His revelations have spurred drastic reductions in government funds coming to Stanford and contributed to the resignation of its president, Donald Kennedy.

Stanford says Mr. Biddle has violated conflict-of-interest laws and ethical standards and has asked that he be removed from his job, according to documents released Friday.

"They don't try to address the issue, but they do power politics. If you don't agree with them, they try to bury you," Mr. Biddle said after the university's move.

In September, Mr. Biddle filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act aimed at forcing Stanford to repay the government about $480 million he says the university has overcharged taxpayers, plus penalties and interest. The law protects whistle-blowers and allows government employees to be awarded as much as 30 percent of any repayments.

Stanford officials say Mr. Biddle cannot be an impartial government representative on campus because he could gain millions of dollars from his suit.

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