• Report:  #3333

Complaint Review: University of Florida Animal Sciences Department - Gainesville Florida

Reported By:
- Gulfport, FL,

University of Florida Animal Sciences Department
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.
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Multi-million Dollar scam run by Department Administrators at the University of Florida Animal Sciences Department through a non-profit "intake fund" called The University of Florida Foundation; 1980's-

This "organization" seeks public donations supposedly to fund education throughout the UF, but it was a major scan for a few department heads when I worked there.

This is how the departmental theft rings worked:

The first kind of losses:

Some losses occurred at intake through DONATIONS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, LARGE ANIMAL DEPARTMENT. The public contributed livestock in exchange for tax write-offs. At that time, receipts were not numbered, so adequate tracking of donations was impossible. Some animals appeared to have been privately absorbed before processing.

The second kind of losses:

Some processed animals were sold at auction. These auctions were usually not well publicized, and friends and family members of the professors and staff purchased the animals at rock bottom prices due to lack of competitive bidding, sometimes paying less than five dollars for registered animals! Some of these animals were registered race horses or registered breeding stock designated for research. Again, no numbered receipts were used and some income was unaccounted for.

The third kind of losses:

I often found receipts for animals that had been taken in but no corresponding receipt for it being sold could ever be found and there was no indication it had been processed to a state institution. Many disappeared without a trace in this gray bookkeeping area. The processed animals were logged into the departmental computer, and given numbers for accounting purposes. No theft reports were filed with the University Police for any lost or stolen animals through the time I worked there.

The fourth kind of losses:

Animals that were logged in and processed were given breeder numbers so their offspring could be counted, classified and tracked. These animals were supposed to be either kept as breeders, sold at the open public market pens and the proceeds donated to the UF Foundation, or slaughtered in the student teaching arena and the proceeds sold for UF Foundation profit. The meat from these slaughters were to be sold through the public meat counter within the department and the proceeds given to the UF Foundation through the department accounting office. The bones, blood, hides, hooves and horns were sold to outside businesses in bulk, but the proceeds the department heads received was not reported until I initiated a payment plan directly with the outside companies.

If one figures minimal losses of prime meat sales at $100.00 per slaughtered animal per day, when an average of 3 were slaughtered in one class room per day on a 20-work-day month: one looks at $36,000.00 in losses per classroom each six months of a year. That is also a IRS tax-free benefit to those who stole the meat!

The fifth kind of losses:

Each department was to send in weekly reports of babies born to breeding stock, and those were given numbers. Many times babies would simply be reported as L/S = Lost or Stolen. These animals never had corresponding police reports filed on them as designated by law, according to the UF Police.

In one case, I watched baby pigs being born to a numbered mother. All were healthy babies. I kept notes on their progress for weeks. When the weekly reports came in, half those babies were reported L/S in the first three weeks. They were not. Someone took those baby pigs to their private farm!

These thefts occurred regularly to all kinds of animals: sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses, llamas & alpacas. The uninvestigated losses must have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars that year alone.

The sixth kind of losses:

The meats from the butchered animals was supposed to go on public sale through the meat market in the department at Fair Market prices. I know. I shopped there. As I processed those receipts, I realized all the amounts were for less than ten dollars per item. A whole ham, rack of ribs, choice roasts, etc. would have sold for $25-35. After I had processed more than two years receipts from the meat market, I realized no such cuts ever found their way to the public counter and therefore, were never paid for. The professors and hierarchy walked off with those tax-free choice cuts, and anything else that wasn't strictly accounted for through the accounting office of the department.

The seventh kind of loss:

Professors and yard staff (those that directly helped the professors) often used state vehicles and attachments, during work time, to transfer personal livestock from their home ranches to public auction blocks in Gainesville and Ocala. I venture to guess that many of those private stock animals were initially registered as L/S in the University's departmental computers.

If I learned that a professor had been to the stock market with a load of animals to sell, I watched for the receipts, but none ever came. No one ever wanted to say where those revenues went if they belonged to the state.

At one time one of the Department professors, who had a private cattle ranch, waited months for a Brahman bull to be shipped from overseas for tick and heat research. It was a big deal the day it came in from quarantine. I logged the report of it into the computer immediately. Less than a month later, I noticed an inconsequential looking written Bovine Weekly Report simply noting that that animal [by number] was L/S. It was the only bovine the department accumulated all that summer! It was hard for me to miss.

If that animal was used to "seed" a private herd, that too is theft of state property. If it was used to seed many private herds, so much more the thefts! What happened to the research it was to have secured? What of the public knowledge lost because someone was careless, or perhaps I should say careful to hide their private appropriations?

All in all, I found the entire hierarchy of that UF Department of Large Animal Sciences corrupt for all of them participated in these activities. I consider the incompetent auditors' part of this problem. They are supposed to be protecting the interests of the people of this state and the institution at large, and they did neither, despite my leadings.

The final kind of loss:

Good, honest, public minded employees succumb to supervisors who perpetuate huge-scale thefts like these.

1- The Whistle-blower Act is insufficient to protect them from secretive No's on interoffice documents they don't know exist. It wasn't even enacted when I worked there. I had no protection from these corrupt supervisors.

2- The unprotected 6-month probation period for new employees makes them vulnerable and should be changed to protect honest and integrity in the work place.

3- In the long-run, it's the State of Florida educational system that looses more than it gains by protecting fraudulent schemes that secure the livelihood of the thieves within.

4- It is obvious from the history of this that the State University System is incapable of policing itself. It is designed to be inter-dependant and self-perpetuating, including its faults.

That isn't good enough. It will take many of us together to stop this self-bilking of government agencies by a few privileged supervisors.

I'm calling for a general retro-active audit by the Auditor General of Florida. Call their office and demand it, too, if you're a Floridian. Or check out how the system works in your state.

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