Special Review of Campus Services Finds Wasted Money, Nepotism

Photo by Tyler Meuter

A special review of Campus Services conducted by the Department of Internal Auditing found improper payment from vendors, misuse of time and nepotism, all in connection to Paul Strouts, former vice president of Campus Services.

Strouts, who began serving as vice president of Campus Services in 2012, solicited annual donations of $35,000 from Barnes & Nobles (B&N) between 2013 and 2017 to fund a football suite and regularly golfed during working hours, among other abuses of Tech resources.

The redirection of bookstore commission revenue to the Georgia Tech Foundation (GTF), in order to fund the football suite, was in direct violation of the Institute’s ethics policy.

When the GTF asked Strouts about the nature of the donation, Strouts assured GTF that the suite would not be used in a quid pro quo manner, and that B&N staff would not regularly use the suite. However, analysis of tickets sold for the suite between 2013 and 2017 found that upwards of 80% of tickets were assigned to Tech employees, their friends and relatives, and B&N employees.

Strouts, along with Lance Lunsway, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services, New Business Development, and Auxiliary Operations, often played golf with vendors, potential vendors and employees, according to the special review.

In addition, Lunsway was found to have taken 596 hours of consulting time on employment time, all of which should have been reported as vacation time. On more than one occasion Lunsway consulted clients that were conducting business with schools within the University System of Georgia.

In 2014, Strouts created the director of digital signage position and hired Tom Stipes, a mutual friend of Strouts and Lunsway, to take the role.

Over the course of the next four years, Stipes proceeded to reimburse himself for travel and nearly $6,000 worth of meal expenses without providing any benefit to the Institute through his position. Although Stipes was charged with improving Tech’s Digital Signage Network, no upgraded monitors could be identified.

Lunsway and Stipes both improperly claimed travel expenses on multiple occasions. In one incident that involved Strouts, Lunsway and Strouts both were reimbursed for renting the same hotel room.

Strouts, Lunsway and Stipes each resigned during the course of the investigation. On June 21, JulieAnne Williamson, assistant vice president for Administration and Finance, was chosen to serve as the interim vice president of Campus Services.

The special review, which was limited to Strouts and those connected to him, mentioned that “based on the volume of the complaints received, the scope of this review only included some of the allegations” of improper behavior within the Campus Services, and that “additional allegations … will be addressed in subsequent reports.”

The Institute is will begin the search process for a new permanent vice president of Campus Services in fall 2018.