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07/15/2010

Two Former Winthrop Staff Targeted in Internal Probe of Potential 'Breach of Trust'

Quick Facts

 The unrelated cases arose through Winthrop’s own internal audit processes.
 Restitution for losses to Winthrop potentially totaling over $200,000 will be sought, officials said.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University officials announced today that they are in the midst of probing two potential “breach of trust” matters – unrelated – involving former Winthrop employees.
 
University spokeswoman Rebecca Masters confirmed that one of the cases, involving alleged misuse of a procurement card, may lead to charges involving approximately $200,000. The other case involves disposal of scrap metal and suspected misallocation of approximately $20,000 in proceeds from the sale of those items.
 
“Each case was discovered through internal reviews and both are being pursued through Winthrop’s own aggressive internal audit processes,” Masters said, adding that there is no set time frame for the investigation to be concluded beyond “as soon as possible once the investigations are completed.” She said Winthrop Police and the Office of Internal Audit are conducting the investigations, in coordination with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) as warranted. 
 
Winthrop has disclosed the following information about the inquiries:

  • Former Facilities Management employee Dave Rentschler has been under investigation for some weeks regarding his handling of certain scrap metal sales and the eventual use of approximately $20,000 in aggregated proceeds from various sales. That case is pending with the local solicitor’s office for decision about prosecution.
  • Meanwhile, another investigation was initiated on a new matter that came to Winthrop’s attention initially through Winthrop Budget Office review of increasing costs in the Printing Services operation, at a time when all units of the institution were to be aggressively reducing costs. Discussions with and requests for explanations from Robert Walker, the supervisor of those operations, were unsatisfactory; the employee then resigned. The budget review continued, resulting in the matter being referred to Winthrop’s internal auditor for further inquiry in coordination with Winthrop Police. The investigation into this matter continues, with Winthrop expecting the aggregate amount of funds involved to total approximately $200,000.

Masters said the fact that both matters are “deeply disappointing, and emphasize the importance of our own on-going internal accountability measures. We are fortunate to have in place a budget team that is on the lookout for spending anomalies and is willing to pursue those and refer to internal auditing when warranted.”
 
Because the latter investigation is ongoing, Masters could not estimate when it might be concluded, but said restitution to Winthrop will be sought.


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