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State probes purchases by UMW IT chief
UMW IT official purchases software without "reasonable competition," according to an audit

 Yazdi
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PDF: Confidential state employee hotline documents

Date published: 3/27/2010

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

The University of Mary Washington's top information technology administrator purchased computer software without "reasonable competition," according to a state investigation.

Khalil Yazdi, UMW's vice president for information technologies and institutional research, "invited" just one vendor to demonstrate software on two occasions, UMW Director of Internal Audit Tera Kovanes wrote in a report.

The audit resulted from a complaint to the State Employee Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hot Line. An anonymous employee said that Yazdi had not complied with the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

The Division of State Internal Audit, which administers the hot line, reviewed UMW's December audit and "deemed that the information was adequate," said Audit Manager Tim Sadler.

The internal audit substantiated the allegations and said Yazdi "inappropriately authorized" the purchase of the software without soliciting other bids.

Yazdi had a prior business relationship with the software vendor that included being a presenter at annual conferences and advising on the development and enhancement of a product, Kovanes noted in the report.

The report did not say what the software does or how much it cost.

The Fredericksburg university held training this month for employees, including Yazdi, in response to the findings. The Free Lance-Star received a copy of the report from the state yesterday.

UMW President Judy Hample, who will step down from the post April 1, hired Yazdi in 2008 after working with him in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Yazdi is a member of Hample's executive cabinet.

Hample announced her resignation in February and will leave UMW June 30, after finishing a three-month sabbatical. She has said her reason for leaving is "personal" and wouldn't elaborate.

Executive Vice President Rick Hurley will become acting president April 1 for the second time.

The audit report includes Hample's rejection of the UMW auditor's findings. Hample, who said she "independently investigated" the matter, wrote that Kovanes "refused to consider critical information."

"The internal auditor conducted the 'investigation' in a manner that demonstrated bias and questionable professional practices," Hample wrote.


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