An internal audit by the California State University reveals a pattern of questionable travel expenses by an employee in the university's risk management division, including a tour of a giraffe center in Kenya, excessive lodging costs at hotels in London and Tel Aviv and brief overnight stays in San Francisco, St. Louis and New York City that left no time for conducting business in those cities.
The university's Risk Management Authority, based at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach, is responsible for assessing the liability of running educational programs around the world, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. Some international travel, he said, is a legitimate part of the job.
But the audit conducted in late 2012 and released on Wednesday uncovered travel expenses that "were often questionable in terms of their appropriateness and business necessity and did not always appear to have clear or demonstrable benefit to... the university," says a statement from CSU.
"Many of the ineligible or questionable expenditures have already been reimbursed by the employee, and the university is currently reviewing further appropriate action," the statement says.
The audit does not identify the employee. Uhlenkamp said the person remains on the CSU payroll. The university web site lists eight employees in the Risk Management Authority.
The audit says the employee incurred close to $159,000 in travel expenses during a 27-month period from July 2010 to September 2012. It does not say what portion of those expenses were inappropriate but points to several examples that were questionable or wasteful. Among them: