North Hennepin Community College foundation reports theft of $180,000

The North Hennepin Community College Foundation reported Monday, Nov. 7, that it has been the victim of theft, totaling $180,000, about 20 percent of the foundation’s assets.

In a public statement issued Monday night, college foundation officials said they recently learned of accounting discrepancies in work performed by an individual who provided the foundation’s bookkeeping services.

The discrepancies were discovered during a routine independent audit conducted by a Certified Public Accountant firm. Upon learning of the inconsistences, the foundation’s board terminated the contractor’s agreement, secured all financial accounts and further engaged the services of the CPA firm to investigate the discrepancies, the statement said. The foundation has reported this incident and provided the CPA firm’s findings to the Brooklyn Park Police Department.

“Unfortunately, the North Hennepin Community College Foundation is a victim of theft,” said the foundation’s spokesperson Valerie Martin. “To their credit, the foundation has proceeded with the utmost care in this matter and is taking appropriate action.”

The theft of approximately $180,000 represents about 20 percent of the foundation’s overall funds. Despite the loss, all scholarship commitments made for this fiscal year will be fulfilled, Martin said.

“The foundation and North Hennepin Community College are working together to ensure the many functions of the foundation continue on schedule and will jointly communicate developments to donors, supporters and staff. While internal controls and independent audits were in place, the foundation is instituting additional safeguards to ensure the future security of its finances,” Dave Kiser, president of the foundation said in a letter mailed Monday to donors.

The foundation’s inquiry has proceeded with the support of the North Hennepin Community College’s leadership, Kiser’s letter said. Both the college and foundation will assist authorities in their investigation in the coming weeks.

“We take seriously the charge to safeguard our shared investment and will work diligently in the coming months to maintain the trust and confidence we have earned from our many alumni, donors and supporters. The strength of the foundation is our highest priority,” Kiser said in his letter.