Jose Oliva to lead investigation of misspent state money at UCF
Incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva will take over chairmanship of the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee “to investigate the misuse of funds by the University of Central Florida,” term-limited Speaker Richard Corcoran announced Friday.
The university’s chief financial officer, William Merck, stepped down Thursday after an audit revealed the school improperly used $38 million in state funding to construct a campus building.
UCF President Dale Whittaker told the state university system’s Board of Governors on Thursday that the school has replenished the state money, while taking steps to investigate the problem and to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
The use of state operating funds to build the 137,000-square-foot Trevor Colbourn Hall, which opened this semester at UCF, was in violation of state policy that restricts that money to activities like instruction, research, libraries, student services or maintenance.
Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who leaves office in November, released a letter he sent to Whittaker. He’s made a reputation for bird-dogging state spending during his 2-year tenure as leader of the House.
Whittaker took over Florida’s largest state university in July. The issue could have ramifications for the entire university-system budget, as it will provide