WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Marine Technology program has recently been a source of pride for Cape Fear Community College, but a visit by state auditors may have exposed a leak.
Earlier this year the State Auditor’s Office received an anonymous tip that someone at Cape Fear Community College had lied on a school-issued inventory report.
“Basically an asset of the community college was given to somebody else, and then the records were covered up that said where it was,” State Auditor Beth Wood said.
State investigators found that some time in 2011, Marine Technology instructor Robert Parker gave an outboard motor worth about $6,000 to a student.
Parker declined to do an interview, but he said he got permission to give the motor to one of his best students, and that it was a simple mistake when he marked it on his inventory.
“We had to look into and make sure if the community college was remiss in not having the proper policies and procedures in place,” Wood said. “What you have here that we’ve been able to substantiate that the community college has its procedures in place, so it makes you feel comfortable about other assets that the college has.”
After more than 290 hours working on the case, the investigation cost taxpayers close to $21,000, but Wood says the report offers college leaders peace of mind.
“The fact is that you had an instructor that totally ignored the checks and balances that the college had in place,” Wood said. “It’s not just about the $6,000 motor. It’s your level of comfort about all of the other assets that the college owns.”
School leaders would not talk about the investigation, but in a response to the audit they said the chair of the Marine Technology department received a disciplinary letter. Parker retired last month.
The student returned the motor