Investigation Into City College President’s Finances: What We Know


Questions have been raised over the handling of the expenses of the former president of the City College of New York. It’s too early to tell whether the scandal has affected donations to the college.

Ángel Franco/The New York Times

An investigation into the financial dealings of Lisa S. Coico, a former president of the City College of New York, has expanded to include the question of whether she received thousands of dollars in unauthorized payments from the college’s oldest alumni fund, The New York Times reported last week.

That development, along with an inquiry into possible misuse of federal research money, has raised concerns among officials at the City University of New York (the system of which City College is a part) and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Here is a guide to understanding the situation:

What happened?

The Times reported in May 2016 that the 21st Century Foundation, a nonprofit group affiliated with the college, had paid for some of Ms. Coico’s personal expenses, including furniture and fruit baskets, when she took office in 2010. The foundation was then reimbursed for more than $150,000 by the Research Foundation of CUNY, which manages research funds for the entire system. This happened despite calls by some college officials that Ms. Coico repay the funds.

Questions were later raised over the handling of Ms. Coico’s expenses. The United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York issued a subpoena seeking records.

Ms. Coico resigned unexpectedly in October, a day after The Times informed the college that a memo from 2011 concerning her reimbursements appeared to be fabricated, possibly to mislead prosecutors. The Times also questioned whether Ms. Coico had repaid a $20,000 security deposit for a rental home.

Through her lawyer, Ms. Coico has accused CUNY of singling her out to cover…

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