Ethics Roulette: (Am I my brother’s auditor?) It’s ALL IN THE FAMILY at AppState.

It’s pretty clear they have a, um, “different” way of doing things at Appalachian State University.  We told you earlier about the university administrator who oversaw a business transaction between the university AND a private company where he serves as vice-president.   How could that happen?  Where were the internal auditors? 

Well, it turns out that the brother of a senior university official serves as a senior official within the university’s auditing department.  

Let’s meet the Edwards brothers.  Randal Edwards has been with the university since 1981.  He started off as an accounting professor in the school of business and rose to the position of dean of that school. In July 2014, he was named interim chief of staff to the chancellor:

[…] Edwards is Chancellor Sheri N. Everts’ senior advisor and assists her in university initiatives and decision-making.

“The way I see it, it’s problem solving for the chancellor,” Edwards said. “Her calendar is incredibly packed. I see my role as problem solving and spending more time researching issues, but she decides.” […] 

Oooooo-kay.   In July 2016, Edwards was also named to the position of interim Vice-Chancellor for Advancement:

[…] In his position, he will oversee development operations, the Appalachian State University Foundation, Inc., and Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving. […] 

So, he oversees all of the university fundraising. Lots of money there.  (Ged Moody, the sustainability guru we told you about earlier, also reports to him.  As does university HR.)

Now, let’s take a look at Edwards’s brother, Terry, who current serves as the assistant director of the university’s office of internal audits:

 […] Terry joined the Office of Internal Audits in May 1983. He has over 30 years of experience as an internal auditor at Appalachian. Prior to that he worked as an accountant for Sugar Mountain Resorts, and as an accountant/accounting manager for Grandfather Enterprises in Linville, NC. Terry has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Appalachian State University. […]

Okay.  Now, let’s take a look at the basic rules governing internal auditing: 

[…] Code of Ethics — Principles

Internal auditors are expected to apply and uphold the following principles:

  1. Integrity
    The integrity of internal auditors establishes trust and thus provides the basis for reliance on their judgment.
  2. Objectivity
    Internal auditors exhibit the highest level of professional objectivity in gathering, evaluating, and communicating information about the activity or process being examined. Internal auditors make a balanced assessment of all the relevant circumstances and are not unduly influenced by their own interests or by others in forming judgments.
  3. Confidentiality
    Internal auditors respect the value and ownership of information they receive and do not disclose information without appropriate authority unless there is a legal or professional obligation to do so.
  4. Competency
    Internal auditors apply the knowledge, skills, and experience needed in the performance of internal audit services.[…] 

How can you argue that there is objectivity, when you have ONE BROTHER auditing THE OTHER BROTHER?   How can you have confidence that confidentiality exists when you have ONE BROTHER auditing the interests of ANOTHER BROTHER?  (I am sure there are plenty of cases where siblings don’t talk, or somehow DO manage to keep secrets from each other.)  But I am sure there are some who would find it real handy to have inside information about what the auditors are up to.

We’re certainly not accusing anyone of criminal activity.  But this arrangement DOES play fast and lose with all kinds of codes of ethics, and does little to ensure public confidence in the management of one of our state universities.  It was questionable, to say the least, to elevate Randal Edwards to the chancellor’s office while his brother is a leading figure in the internal auditing office.

If this arrangement existed in the private sector, you would have stockholders AND government regulators going batty and screaming for blood.    Where were the university trustees on this?   Where is state auditor Beth Wood?  Where was Roy Cooper?  Where IS Josh Stein? 



12 thoughts on “Ethics Roulette: (Am I my brother’s auditor?) It’s ALL IN THE FAMILY at AppState.

  1. Appalachian sounds like a cesspool of corruption. Too bad that we have a State Auditor who is a partisan Democrat hack. If we had Chuck Stuber, he would have gotten to the bottom of this chicanery.

  2. ASU is a corrupt and liberal cesspool because it is controlled by the NC Republican establishment which likes it just the way it is. The trustees who oversee ASU owe their appointments to the GOP legislature. These appointees are as bad as the legislators who helped them get their positions. Corruption is rife all over the UNC system–but the GOP establishment loves it! Don’t be fooled otherwise. Until there is a grassroots uprising which throws all the corrupt GOP incumbent legislators out of office will we see any change.

  3. PJ—Republican politicians will never allow the liberal university swamps to be drained. We’ve seen this firsthand here in North Carolina. Our GOP legislators talk a good conservative game, but it’s all a fraud. They take our money and beg for our votes, but then appoint their fatcat liberal money men to university trustee boards who keep the liberals in charge of the UNC system. It’s only going to get a lot worse for conservatives in NC on UNC campuses. It’s going to be brutal. Just wait.

    1. The Senate is not so bad in their appointments, but the House is just awful. The fact that Tillis sold seats and Moore had a Chapel Hill liberal as his Chief of Staff have been a lot of the problem.

  4. Mr. Steed: Usually I simply enjoy your comments, but I can’t help responding to your remarks re State Auditor since I ran (with serious opposition from some in the GOP establishment) in 2012.

    Would you be talking about former FBI agent Chuck Stuber, who was employed by the State Board of Elections (SBOE) after leaving the FBI?

    In 2005 I asked Mr. Stuber to help drain a serious swamp of corruption in Union County. I’m still waiting. But not for much longer. The puzzle is finally coming together.

    In 2012 I ran for auditor because it was obvious to anyone who did their homework that Roy Cooper and Gary Bartlett were backing a candidate for auditor in the Republican primary with the tacit approval of key members of the Republican establishment.

    If Ms. Wood is just a hack, why was Cooper out to get her? (Clue – some people didn’t like her audit of the State Board of Elections. And a former employee of that Board suddenly became a candidate with a new phony address to hide a new party affiliation and a bogus resume . . . which NO ONE would report and the SBOE obviously would not question.)

    Both parties have good people and bad. Confusing party affiliation with competence or integrity only helps the crooks maintain the swamp by keeping the good guys from working together. (The bad guys – call them crooks, socialists or crony capitalists, already are working together behind the scenes.)

    1. Fern – You were the best choice for Auditor that North Carolinians have been offered in decades, both in terms of professional competence and in terms of the will to get at the things that need attention. I would defer to your assessment. We need someone outside the good ole boy network for State Auditor who will genuinely look into things.

      The relationship between some in the GOP establishment and Toy Cooper has been appalling. Four years ago, he was given a pass in his reelection campaign. The word was that the party Vice Chairman at the time, who was heading up candidate recruitment for Council of State races actively talked prospective AG candidates out of the race, leaving Cooper unopposed in November. This was the first time the GOP had failed to run a candidate fot AG in decades and it stunk.

      Fern, I would love to see you have another go at establishment RINO Tommy Tucker in the State Senate primary. Tucker’s vote to kill HB2 and allow local liberal governments to force churches, businesses, and other institutions to let grown men into the locker rooms and rest rooms of women and girls is the magic bullet that can take him out in a primary. I remember all of the despicable lies that Dee Stewart told about you at the last minute in your earlier primary with Tucket that swung the race. You need to make Stewart an issue in the campaign early and tell voters to expect lies from him. Wrap Stewart around Tucker’s neck

    2. on another note You would make a Great NC GOP Chairwomen and there is an election at this years state convention

  5. The problem is not the state auditor, but the Republican ASU trustees appointed by Pat McCrory and the GOP UNC Board of Governors who are allowing this corruption to continue. It’s the Republicans who are covering up all this wrongdoing—not just at ASU, but throughout the UNC system. Fern Shubert is absolutely correct; the auditor is not to blame.

  6. John – Thank you for your generous compliment and your other comments. I appreciate the way you follow the facts.
    I would urge you, however, to name names. Wayne King was the Vice Chairman in 2012.

    You are right to question why Roy Cooper was permitted to run unopposed. The only reason I filed for Auditor that year was my fear that the mismanagement of candidate recruitment was not accidental and Mr. King foolishly proved my point. After the general election, I filed charges of party disloyalty against Mr. King with then Executive Director Scott Laster with a CC to Robin Hayes. So far as I know, those charges have never been discussed with the Central Committee or Executive Committee. Wonder why?

    The charges were timed to knock Mr. King out of consideration for Chairman if Robin Hayes stepped down and apparently they did. Unfortunately, since the dirty laundry was never aired the smell keeps getting worse.

    As for Tommy (I’m the Senator. You be quiet) Tucker, the problem is a bought and paid for media, the money moving behind the scenes to influence party leaders, and the number of good Republicans who haven’t taken the time to look behind the party label.

    Most Republicans in Union County skipped the primary – after all, they see the enemy as Democrats. But the crooks and their cronies were paying close attention and helping spread Tucker and Dee Stewart’s lies, while the media ran cover. The Greenback Party is purging both the Republican and Democrat parties of people of integrity whenever possible and using fact free partisanship as a tool.

    I didn’t want to run for Senate when I ran against Mr. Tucker. That race, like the Auditor’s race, was me trying at the last minute to stop some major mischief. That attempt at damage control did not work. The Auditor race did. But in both cases I gained valuable knowledge.

    Until Republicans start studying primary candidates and their consultants and funders even more closely than candidates in the general election, things will continue to deteriorate. The crooks know it is easier and cheaper to elect a crooked Republican than a Democrat in most of NC and sadly that is what you’re seeing at all levels of government.

    How did Joseph DeBragga manage to run a statewide campaign for state auditor in 2012 without a single media outlet asking something as simple as why he lived on a boat in Oriental if he worked full time in Raleigh? Or how a Democrat field auditor at the State Board of Elections suddenly became a Republican qualified to run a very important state agency?

    Last time I checked, using a phony voting address is a Class I felony, but Chuck Stuber, as Chief Investigator for the State Board of Elections, apparently never saw fit to ask Mr. DeBragga why he thought he lived on a boat that he seldom even visited. And no one in the state leadership of the North Carolina Republican Party or organizations that claim to be conservative or in the media seems to care.

    Follow the money (and power).

  7. Being very familiar with ASU and Boone in general, I can tell you that the new leftwing chancellor the Republicans hired is quickly moving ASU to the far political left. In a few years, it will be every bit as liberal as UNC-CH. The political ramifications will be severe for the GOP. This area of the state has traditionally been strong Republican territory, but I predict it will shift to the Democrats within the next five years–or perhaps even sooner. The GOP leadership in North Carolina simply has a death wish. There is no other explanation for what is happening at ASU.

  8. Will someone please explain to me how to get the Republican trustees at ASU to do their jobs, or explain to me how we get rid of them?

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