DSU Foundation funds on hold by challenge fund committee
BISMARCK -- A committee voted unanimously Wednesday to continue to withhold grant dollars from the Dickinson State University Foundation until a receiver appointed by the attorney general says the foundation is on stable financial footing and tha...
BISMARCK -- A committee voted unanimously Wednesday to continue to withhold grant dollars from the Dickinson State University Foundation until a receiver appointed by the attorney general says the foundation is on stable financial footing and that the grant dollars won't be at risk from creditors.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced in November that his office was pursuing court action to force the foundation into receivership, saying its financial records were in chaos and citing claims that the foundation was using scholarship funds to cover operating costs.
On Dec. 17, the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund Committee decided to withhold more than $169,000 in grants that had already been awarded to DSU and another $481,000 the university had applied for through the grant program. The program provides $1 in state funds for every $2 in private donations raised by college and university foundations for scholarships, endowed chairs, research, technology and educational infrastructure.
Murray Sagsveen, chief of staff for the North Dakota University System, advised the committee on Wednesday that the $650,000 that's been awarded but not disbursed to the foundation, along with the $300,000 that's still available to the foundation but hasn't been awarded, can be carried over into the next biennium when the current biennium ends June 30.
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, who chairs the committee, said members will wait for the go-ahead from receiver Sean Smith before releasing the grant funds. Smith had previously said he hoped to have a report to the committee regarding the foundation's status by the end of this month, but it appeared that report would be delayed. Smith did not participate in Wednesday's meeting.
"They'll let us know if and when they think that it's safe to in fact release those funds," Wrigley said.