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Lobo Club Accounting Questions Arise

Audit: Money Not Properly Verified

The University of New Mexico’s Lobo Club, which raises money for athletics, has been dinged for poor accounting for the third consecutive year, according to a new university-wide audit.

The independent audit found no evidence of fraud among the accounts, but identified at least five areas of the club where money was not properly documented, accounted for or verified. The group last year raised more than $10 million in donations.

The audit said some accounts are not double-checked each month to ensure expenses line up with revenues, a concern listed in each audit since 2009. The new audit attributed many of the problems to understaffing.

Another finding, repeated from last year, said the club failed to save supporting documentation to verify some expenses and revenues.

“We accept responsibility and are committed to rectifying this situation as quickly as possible in order to receive a clean audit in the coming years,” athletic director Paul Krebs and Lobo Club Director Lee De Leon said in a prepared statement.

The 2011 audit of the university’s overall $2.1 billion budget reported eight deficiencies, five of which occurred within the Lobo Club finances. Other departments tagged by the audit were the Anderson School of Management Foundation and the School of Medicine. The final finding was a university-wide issue about delayed federal grant reports.

De Leon on Monday said the Lobo Club this year hired a financial coordinator, who is working to catch up with the accounting. De Leon, who started his job last summer, said the problems will be fixed on his watch and that potential donors should not be concerned about the Lobo Club’s fiscal health.

“Not dwelling on the past but moving forward, I don’t think it’s a concern to people,” De Leon said. “… The little things like the monthly reconciliations and keeping better files and records, those have already been fixed and will continue to be monitored under the new leadership of the Lobo Club.”

UNM Controller Ava Lovell said the historic lack of Lobo Club staffing has made it difficult to manage the fundraisers’ accounts. She said she has sent one of her department accountants to work with the club and improve its fiscal management.

“That’s got to wake up their board,” Lovell said of the five audit findings. “You have to put a little money into keeping these accounts correct, getting your accounts reconciled, all the things that have been wrong the last couple of years.”

Five audit findings against the Lobo Club from 2010 were resolved this year, including cash donations that were typically kept in drawers for at least a week before they were deposited and improper reporting of donations designated toward the Pit renovation.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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