A "special investigation" by the state auditor has found a program based at the University of Northern Iowa made more than $33,000 in improper payments to a California travel agency.
"Camp Adventure Youth Services" sends college-aged students to run youth camps in other countries. The camps are for the children of parents who’re in the U.S. military and stationed, with their families, overseas.
The audit covered the period starting on the first of April, 2007 through March 31st of 2008. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says they discovered some "double-billing" for plane tickets purchased through Action Air, a travel agency based in Annapolis, California.
Of the $33,285.19 in "improper disbursements," Action Air has refunded $17,334.33 to the university. "There were duplicate payments made to Action Air. There were tickets that had conflicting dates and locations versus the students that were supposed to be working at certain places and then ticket destinations that were other than camp locations," Vaudt says, "so some improper expenditures, part of which have been refunded by Action Air."
Vaudt says it appears Action Air was being paid both through a credit card issued by the university and by vouchers or checks from the university.
"There’s just a lack of documentation to support some of the activity that took place which is something that we find many times," Vaudt says. "But it wasn’t the case where any money was taken and deposited in their own personal accounts."
Camp Adventure was founded in 1985 by Christopher Edginton when he was a professor at the University of Oregon. The program moved to the University of Northern Iowa in 1991 when Edginton became director of UNI’s School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services. His wife, Susan Edginton, is director of Camp Adventure.
The state audit shows Ms. Edginton made a nearly $400 payment to the owner of Action Air for consulting services during a period when the university had ordered that Action Air’s services not be used.
Vaudt’s agency released another audit in February of this year that was focused on the travel of a woman who managed Camp Adventure programs in Europe. It found that employee, who later resigned, billed the program for trips she took with her boyfriend. She repaid the $9,000 to cover airfare, hotel stays and car rentals. Her pay was docked, too, for the 20 days she was paid to be working, but was instead on holiday.