A federal monitor stepped in to oversee the financial operations of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid criminal charges for Medicaid fraud.
Trustees of the university last week appointed Herb Stern, a former federal prosecutor and judge, to a two-year term, according to the Associated Press.
The move was expected. University President John Petillo said in a message posted last month on the Newark 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 Dec. 20, 2005, between U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and the university board.