The chancellor slated to take office at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in July was indicted Wednesday by the Internal Revenue Service for allegedly conspiring to obtain $2.1 million between 2001 and 2008.
Robert Felner, former dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville, is charged with committing mail fraud, laundering money, evading taxes and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.
The statement said Felner and an accomplice embezzled nearly $1.7 million from the University of Rhode Island and approximately $450,000 from a University of Louisville federal earmark grant, which was intended to establish a center to improve and assess the No Child Left Behind Act in Kentucky.
According to UW System spokesperson David Giroux, upon learning of Felners investigation, the UW System sought and obtained his resignation within 48 hours.
He was never our employee, Giroux said. He was offered a job and was never actually on our payroll. Giroux added nothing in the search process throughout the last academic year uncovered anything concerning the charges raised in Wednesdays indictment.
As soon as any of that information came to light early on, we moved swiftly, Giroux added. And we are very glad we did that.
University of Louisville President James Ramsey said in a Wednesday statement that Felners indictment only confirmed the universitys initial concern of wrongdoing, adding they will continue to work with federal agencies and are anxious for the cases conclusion.
Giroux said the UW System now has clearer guidelines in place to lay out explicitly when and who is supposed to conduct reference checks, citing there are no guarantees those would have made a difference in the UW-Parkside search.
All we do know is what actually happened, and that is we went through a search that was very public and very transparent, he said.
The search for a permanent chancellor will start again in the near future, according to Giroux.