UO’s Treetops mansion searched in graft probe

2/24/13. Whoops, sorry, actually that story is about one of the many villas belonging to the Bongo Ondimba family, who recently gave $20 million in Gabonese money to UO for a greenwashing program. The latest story about Treetops and departing OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner is in the RG, here:

Interim Oregon higher education chancellor Melody Rose says she’s not going to live in the official chancellor’s home in Eugene, an 8,111-square-foot, 1911 mansion in the Fairmount neighborhood known as Treetops. 

That puts the future of the problematic property in doubt. 

The property presents a conundrum for the chancellor’s office because, when a merchant donated the property to the state in 1938, it was with the stipulation that the chancellor or the University of Oregon president live there. The state pays upward of $50,000 annually to maintain the residence, and in some years has spent tens of thousands of dollars more on repairs.

The Audits Division recently decided to let Pernsteiner keep the $23,200 a year in “professional expenses” money he’d been pocketing as an add-on to his $294,000 salary:

On MondayFeb 11, 2013, at 4:22 PM, “BOND, V Dale” wrote: 

[UO Matters]:
After consideration of the information you provided regarding professional expenses included in Chancellor Pernsteiner’s 2009-2012 contract, we have decided not to pursue the questions you raised. The expenses were treated as salary and taxed.

Sincerely,

V. Dale Bond, CPA, CISA, CFEAudit ManagerSecretary of State Audits Division
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 500
Salem, OR 97310
503-986-2351
v.dale.bond@state.or.us
If you know of or suspect any fraud, waste, or abuse affecting Oregon state funds or resources, call 1.800.336.8218.Professional operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or report online at  http://fraud.oregon.gov. Any person reporting such acts shall remain anonymous (ORS 177.180).

And the Lane County voter registrar decided not to pursue voter fraud charges against him, for now:

From: BETSCHART Cheryl L
Subject: RE: investigation of George Pernsteiner voting residenceDate: February 15, 2013 2:58:14 PM PST
Cc: “BAYES, Brenda J (brenda.j.bayes@state.or.us)”
[UO Matters],
You have requested that Lane County Elections investigate whether George Pernsteiner meets Oregon residency requirements for voting purposes based on the contents of a Separation and Resignation Agreement. I do not find sufficient evidence to challenge his residency at this time. If you have additional documented evidence that shows that Mr. Pernsteiner is no longer in compliance with the residency guidelines outlined in ORS 247.035, please forward those to me for consideration.

Cheryl BetschartLane County Clerk275 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401(541) 682-4328 – Fax (541) 682-2303cheryl.betschart@co.lane.or.us

And Diane Dietz has a piece in the RG about the new Chancellor, here.

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