Columbia U. to Pay $9-Million to Settle Federal Claims Over AIDS Grants

Columbia University has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay $9-million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing it of mismanaging federal grants for AIDS research, reports Capital, an online news service covering New York.

According to the office of the federal prosecutor that handled the case, the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, a unit of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, filed claims for reimbursement citing work that was not done. Columbia received millions of dollars under more than 75 federal grants to prevent AIDS and HIV, but it was required to track the work of employees and submit that tally in order to obtain the grant money.

The university said in a statement cited by Capital that its center had helped more than two million people in 20 countries. It also said it had instituted new controls over grants administration to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Columbia’s finance department was found to have provided information for reports, though the employees were largely unaware of which tasks corresponded to which grants. The reports were then certified as correct without using suitable means to verify their accuracy, even as ICAP’s management was aware of the inaccuracies.

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