Almost a month after Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center announced internal fraud investigations, no arrest has been made, and one prominent customer of the non-profit center is getting frustrated with the pace of the response.
Retired Georgia Tech professor Ferdinand Levy, former dean of the school's College of Management, has held season tickets to the Atlanta Symphony at the Woodruff for four decades; put that together with Levy’s internationally renowned expertise on managerial economics, and you see why people tend to listen when he speaks about the Woodruff’s financial problems.
Levy told the Atlanta Journal Constitution over the weekend he thinks it’s taking far too long to investigate what he considers a simple scheme, in which a former employee allegedly set up a dummy corporation to bill the Woodruff Center almost $1.5 million for services that were never provided.
"As I said in the paper, this isn’t Madoff," Levy said.
GPB couldn’t reach Woodruff Center CEO and President Virginia Hepner on Christmas Eve, but she told the AJC on Sunday her internal investigation has been handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s office, which declined comment to the paper and also did not return GPB's calls.
Speaking to the AJC, Hepner did confirm a preliminary finding: the dummy company was one of only 13 regular vendors that the Woodruff Center had over the years the alleged fraud took place. Professor Levy finds this fact remarkable.
"Is it hard to keep track of 13 vendors and audit them? At least in four years, that 13th one should have come up regardless of the amount of money it had," Levy said.
Levy is frustrated the results of the investigation still aren’t public.
"I don’t know what they’re investigating," he said. "I think they’re investigating the ineptitude of the management, of the internal auditors, and the board’s oversight, I hope."