AMHERST, N.Y. — We are hearing from local leaders after a former Vice President of the University at Buffalo admitted to stealing A$320,000 from the school.
Dennis Black is charged with felony grand larceny for stealing from the Faculty Student Association going back to at least 2007.
Black abruptly resigned in July of last year. He spent the money on everything from Yankees tickets to vacations and his son's bachelor party.
2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik tried to get more answers from the school Thursday night. Thursday afternoon, UB issued a statement from its President explaining how an audit uncovered a pattern of financial abuse, which led to further investigations at the state level and ultimately tighter financial controls at the school.
Through UB's spokesperson, we requested an on-camera interview with someone from UB and we were referred back to the statement. But, we were told that President Tripathi initiated the audit in mid-April of 2016 when he noticed irregularities in Denis Black's travel schedule, and after the audit revealed financial abuses, Tripathi demanded Black's resignation on July 7, 2016.
"It certainly raises a lot of red flags about where is the oversight in many of these high positions of authority," says Mike Brown.
Brown is the UB Council Student Representative. It is the main oversight and advisory body to the University.
"It was absolutely shocking to the entire student body, I think, really just the entire UB community, and the Buffalo community," Brown said. "I think there's definitely a lot to look into in terms of procedures that the University follows to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again, or that it's not even currently happening with someone else."
UB North is in Assemblyman Ray Walter's district.
"You see some of that extravagance, and you just have to shake your head and wonder what goes through somebody's head that would possess them to do something so awful," Walter said.
Black will pay New York State $320,000 in restitution and more than $22,000 in back taxes. He faces prison time and will be sentenced in January.
The UB Faculty Student Association says it has made some changes including hiring a new outside auditor.
"What else can be done to put things in place to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again?" asked Dudzik.
"Every time something like this happens, everybody wants more laws, more laws, more laws, but more laws aren't going to prevent a bad person from doing a bad thing," Walters said. "We just need to make sure that efforts, the internal audits, are taking place. That the external audits, whether it be the Inspector General, or the District Attorney's office in this case, take place and that people are held accountable and Mr. Black is going to be held accountable.
"He is going to jail probably, and he is going to pay a debt to society that needs to be paid.”
Another former UB administrator also pleaded guilty Thursday. Andrea Constantino was the Director of Campus Living. She pleaded guilty to grand larceny and will pay New York State back the more than $14,000 she stole. She'll be sentenced in December.
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