Attorney General Jerry Brown said Friday his office found no wrongdoing at the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation.
“We examined whether money given to a charitable foundation was handled appropriately, but found no violation of law,” Brown said. “However, the foundation board has agreed to make changes to improve oversight of its funds.”
Brown launched an investigation into the foundation’s financial records after students who claimed they found part of a contract to bring Sarah Palin to the Turlock campus turned it over to State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.
Yee had called on the university to release its records and then claimed officials lied when they said they didn’t have any.
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Yee and others claimed that the foundation used state-paid university staff; the university countered that accommodations were made to reimburse the state for any such staff time devoted to foundation tasks.
Though the audit found that the foundation’s accounting procedures were inadequate, it failed to understand fully its duties and responsibilities under the law and it failed to implement its own auditor’s recommendation to prepare a budget for all fundraising events.
Brown’s office said in a release that the foundation has been working with an independent auditor to rectify these lapses.
According to the release, the foundation’s board of directors agreed to:
— Participate in directors’ training on management of charitable organizations and the fiduciary duties of charitable boards of directors.
— Consider immediately all recommendations made by its independent auditor.
— Ensure that its relationships with all outside fundraisers comply with California law.
— Ensure that it consistently follows all its fiscal and governance policies.
“We appreciate the Attorney General’s review and had already been working to implement many of the recommendations,” said Russ Giambellucca, Vice President for Business & Finance at CSU Stanislaus and treasurer for the Foundation. “... We are pleased that the corrective actions required by the AG are consistent with the direction we’ve been taking already.”