INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Southern issues stern warning to employees over questionable purchases
BATON ROUGE- Southern University issued a scathing memo to employees at the university last week involving unauthorized purchases.
Monday evening, Southern said the dissemination of that memo was routine but sources tell WBRZ this is the first memo they've seen like that in decades.
Nine days after the WBRZ Investigative Unit submitted a public records request, the university issued that memo. The WBRZ Investigative Unit was looking into questionable contracts that one company received within a five-month span totaling $266,000. Questions to the university about whether the bid law was followed were not answered by news time. However, emails tied to some of the contracts written to Neighborhood Restoration of BR LLC stated the work did not "have the proper number of quotes required to proceed."
The owner of Neighborhood Restoration BR LLC, Milton Laday, told WBRZ he is good friends with the executive director of facilities services at Southern University. However, he told WBRZ that he did not think his friendship had anything to do with him getting the contracts.
The contracts involved work done on public buildings for maintenance and repairs.
Last month as the WBRZ Investigative Unit was awaiting documents from the public records request, Southern University sent a strongly worded memo to all high-ranking staff.
It reads, "We are concerned with reports of university departmental personnel making unauthorized purchases and/or asking vendors to provide unauthorized services, in the name of the university without an approved Purchase Order."
The memo goes on to say, "It is against university policy to make purchases in the name of the university without an approved purchase order."
We requested interviews from Southern University or someone from their purchasing department. That request was denied.