Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley wrote Legislative Auditor Roger Norman today to inform him he’d found no probable cause to take action against University of Arkansas officials concerning financial problems in the University Advancement Division.
Jegley said he’d consulted before reaching his conclusion with the Washington County prosecutor, who’d previously found no evidence of wrongdoing in statements made by university officials about the matter. Said Jegley:
“While there may be differing versions of the events and discussions concerning the matters at issue, none rise to meet the standards meriting further actions under Ar. Code Ann Section 5-53-102. We now consider this matter closed.”
I believe the cliche is now applicable: The fat lady has sung on this mess.
Jegley had been reviewing allegations by a fired employee, PR chief John Diamond, that Chancellor David Gearhart had ordered document destruction during the effort to suppress publicity about the financial situation. Gearhart denied this.
Some legislators, who repeatedly pressed for new reviews of elements of the situation, will remain dissatisfied. It’s understandable. UA leadership didn’t acquit itself well on the accountability and transparency front throughout this fiasco. But it and Gearhart survived and the people who criticized him didn’t.
UPDATE: About an hour after I posted the news, the UA issued a news release about the letter. It quoted his findings and concluded:
The review grew out conflicting testimony made during a legislative committee meeting in 2013. Jurisdiction for the legislative committee meeting fell to the 6th Judicial District, which covers Pulaski and Perry counties.
Jegley was asked to determine whether any testimony constituted perjury, and Monday’s opinion found no basis for that.
“I appreciate the diligence that Prosecutor Jegley put in to this review,” said University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “I believe this is the appropriate conclusion. We remain actively engaged in moving forward toward our goal of being nationally recognized as a top 50 public research university.”