In a brief teleconference meeting Tuesday, the University of Central Arkansas audit committee suspended its investigation into the $700,000 Aramark grant to finance renovations at the president’s home. 

The recommendation that the investigation be suspended was made by internal audit office Director Pamela Massey. 

Committee chair and trustee Bobby Reynolds said that the office would suspend its work "in order to let state police and the prosecuting attorney proceed with their investigation."

It was announced Thursday by 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland that his office requested Arkansas State Police involvement based on "information sufficient to warrant an investigation."

This is the second time investigations into possible improprieties surrounding the grant have been deferred. 

Less than three weeks ago, the first group charged with interviewing those in the know of the grant’s contingency of a contract renewal with the food vendor deferred its investigation to the office of internal audit. 

The group was comprised of Trustee Bobby Reynolds, Janet Wilson, president of the Faculty Senate, Dianne Winters, president of the Staff Senate, and Austin Hall, president of the SGA.

The group passed the charge after the resignation of Allen Meadors and the appointment of Tom Courtway as interim president. 

Letters dated for Thursday of last week from the staff and faculty senates and the SGA to Massey posed several questions that they hoped that the internal audit office would find answers for.

Among the questions raised was that of the benefit of an external body conducting the investigation "...thus alleviating any suspicion of the university’s transparency, or lack thereof."

Courtway said Tuesday that the recommendation to suspend investigations was a reasonable request by Massey.

"Our internal auditors probably have 10 other things to work on this afternoon. If there’s going to be an investigation already going on, then that seems to me to be a very reasonable request," he said. "It makes sense to me."

The audit committee is made up of trustees Rush Harding III, Bobby Reynolds and Victor Green.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)