Florida International University's former Associate Vice President of the Office of Business Services Patti Bamford has filed suit against the school, claiming that it fired her after blowing the whistle on some shady handling of money. Bamford claims the school publicly stated it didn't have the money to operate at its previous level and used the opportunity to cut jobs and raise tuition on students. Though, Bamford claims that the school was sitting on $17 million in cash reserves at the time.
"During 2009, Bamford reported to several FIU officials and employees FIU's gross mismanagement and gross waste of public funds that she had discovered," reads Bamford's suit. "The nature of the information Bamford disclosed involved acts or suspected acts of gross mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, gross waste of public funds, and/or gross neglect of duty committed by an employee or agent of FIU."
"She believed it was improper for FIU to hold $17 million in reserve and fail to disclose the existence of these funds while at the same time FIU communicated publicly that it did not have enough funds to operate at the level it had previously operated, thereby cutting jobs and raising tuition, along with other cost-saving measures," it continues.
FIU raised tuition this year for undergraduates by $15.34 per credit hour. Grad school programs had their tuition hiked by 10 percent, while law and medical school students had their tuition raised by 15 percent. FIU claimed that the tuition hikes were a result of losing several million dollars of state funding during the recession.
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FIU has also layed off staff and shuttered some programs in the past few years.
Bamford's suit claims that her complaints about the handling of money to some of FIU's top brass was connected to her ultimate firing. She's seeking lost wages, court costs, and reinstatement or front pay and benefits.