Bowie State fund-raising group gives control of its accounts to university system organization

June 26, 1998|By Tom Pelton and Ivan Penn | Tom Pelton and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

The financially troubled fund-raising organization for Bowie State University has turned over management of its accounts to the University of Maryland system's larger fund-raising arm to help eliminate a deficit in operating funds said to be more than $64,000.

The Bowie State University Foundation's decision Wednesday follows the release of an audit last month that criticized it for improperly dipping into restricted scholarship and campus activity accounts to cover overspending by its administration.

Among the financial commitments the nonprofit organization could not afford were the purchase of more than $40,000 worth of furniture for the offices of fund-raising employees and a $12,650 contract to buy Washington Redskins season tickets, according to university system officials.

The interim executive director of the foundation, Russell A. Davis, was pressed into resigning from his foundation post and from the vice presidency of the school last month, after The Sun reported that a court found he had improperly taken $3,873 from another nonprofit organization that meets on campus. Most of the foundation's debts were incurred before Davis took office.

"We are deeply concerned by deficits that were incurred in the BSU Foundation's unrestricted accounts and by practices that allowed those deficits to accumulate," Ira Moss, chairman of the foundation's board, said in a written statement.

"In keeping with our fiduciary responsibilities, we have initiated a series of steps to eliminate the deficits and [ensure] proper account management as we move forward," Moss said. "Key among those steps will be an aggressive fund-raising effort on behalf of Bowie State University."

The foundation board passed resolutions Wednesday night that turn over the assets of the nonprofit organization to the larger University of Maryland Foundation, which serves the University of Maryland, College Park and other system campuses.

The University of Maryland Foundation will act as trustee for the Bowie State foundation until the smaller organization's bills are paid, according to the resolutions.

The Bowie State foundation's operating accounts were $63,869 in the red at the end of the 1997 fiscal year and have since gone further into debt, according to university sources. Joyce Romanoff Marx, acting interim director of the Bowie foundation, declined to give an estimate of the deficit.

Pub Date: 6/26/98

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