A federal monitor likely will step in to oversee the financial operations of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid criminal charges for Medicaid fraud. University President John Petillo said in a message posted on the school's Web site that although the use of a federal monitor "may be unprecedented, I view the presence of this external reviewer as a positive way to effect the changes I have proposed." Deferred prosecution is a common way for dealing with scandalized corporations, but the proposal reportedly marks the first time the measure has been employed to clean up a public university. The school has implemented many reforms, including tightening executives' travel perquisites, enforcing waivers and bidding processes, and ending political contributions by the organization, Petillo said. He blamed the investigations on "actions and decisions made by some members of the previous administration."
Petillo's message followed a closed-door meeting Tuesday between U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and the university board. Meanwhile, acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey said in a statement that after a meeting this morning, Codey, Christie and new university counsel Walter Timpone agreed "to move forward with aggressive reforms." -- by Cinda Becker