College of New Rochelle Financial Probe Finds Millions in Unpaid Taxes
An investigation into the college's finances reveals neglected taxes and faulty audits
PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE COLLEGE OF NEW ROCHELLE
This October found the College of New Rochelle (CNR) declaring “an imminent financial crisis,” as well as the resignation of former president Judith Huntington, who had held the position since 2011. These developments were recently joined by the discovery of $20 million in unpaid payroll taxes that the school has been accruing since 2014, according to the preliminary findings of an investigation into the college’s finances.
Additionally, the probe revealed additional debts and liabilities totaling $11.2 million, according to a statement posted by the school's Board of Trustees on Tuesday. The statement, which begins with the promise of “a path forward for the College to remain a stand-alone institution” with the implementation of significant cost cuts and outside funding, goes on to place blame on the school’s controller for failing to file and pay required taxes.
Their former controller, Keith Borge, retired in May. And although the statement does not mention him by name, it does mention that these unmet financial obligations only surfaced “after the College’s controller retired at the end of the last academic year.”
The college’s senior management also neglected to provide accurate financial information to the board, while an outside auditing firm failed to report the college’s financial issues. “The Board was permitted to rely upon these audits,” the statement reads.
Since the discovery of these unpaid taxes in September, the board has appointed a chief restructuring officer from Grassi and Associates to manage the college’s finances, and hired a forensic accountant, PKF O’Connor Davies, and the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP to conduct the ongoing investigation.
Fortunately, the statement assures students and their families that tuition is not due to increase for the 2016-2017 year, and academic and extracurricular programs will not be affected.
Huntington, who was the school’s president while they experienced yearly financial losses and a decrease in their net assets of approximately $5 million, has not been available for comment. Dorothy Escribano, the college’s former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, was appointed interim president by the board.