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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published September 10 2010

Audit finds an improper use of state funds by NDSU

North Dakota State University officials agree with state auditor findings that spending $24,000 for unused hotel rooms and $15,000 for Tony Robbins seminars was not a good use of taxpayer money.

An audit released Thursday cited several examples of expenses state auditors viewed as unnecessary or unreasonable uses of public funds.

Other examples included upgrades to first-class airfare, alcohol and bartending fees and an arrangement that auditors viewed as subsidizing the North Dakota Horse Park.

President Dean Bresciani said NDSU has already made several changes that would prevent these expenditures from happening again, including new guidelines for credit card use and expanding the role of the internal auditor.

“I think these were innocent mistakes but also helpful illustrations as we move forward,” Bresciani said. “We’re not doing business like that anymore. We’re setting a higher expectation.”

The operational audit, which is routinely done by the Office of the State Auditor, covered fiscal years 2008 and 2009, before Bresciani was president.

These are some of the highlights from the audit and documents used to compile the audit:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590