Former Texas Southern University President Priscilla Slade turned herself in to police last night following a grand jury indictment. Authorities say she misspent $1.9 million of school funds, using the money in part to furnish and landscape her home.
Slade, 54, was indicted on two charges of criminally misusing university money for her private benefit.
The Harris County grand jury, after a three-month investigation, also indicted three other former high-ranking TSU staffers.
University regents voted in April to dismiss Slade. An inquiry by an independent law firm found that the former president spent more than $260,000 on house-related costs.
An audit also concluded that Slade spent nearly $650,000 over the past seven years on purchases not allowed under her contract.
Slade, who served as president of the historically Black university for more than six years, has denied any wrongdoing and has filed a civil lawsuit against the school.
If convicted, she faces anywhere from five years of probation to life in prison, and a fine of up to $20,000. A judge set her bail at $100,000.
“Each and every one of those expenditures were to promote the university, Texas Southern University, and she did a real good job of it,” says Slade’s attorney, Mike DeGeurin.
The university, which announced it would cut 178 jobs and raise tuition 21 percent, released a statement last night. “We recognize that indeed these are challenging times. However, contrary to reports, Texas Southern University continues to function at a high level. We were faced with financial issues, but we have moved expeditiously and responsibly to rectify them.”
— Diverse and AP wire reports
Reader comments on this story:
There is currently 1 reader comment on this story:
“innocent until proven guilty”I have known Dr. Slade for more than twelve years; we worked together earlier during our careers. I know her to be smart, ambitious, and agressive — perhaps overly aggresive on occassion. However, I have never known her to be a thief.
I presume that Texas Sourthern continues to provide no housing for its presidents. If this remains correct, it at least contributed to this problem. A University president must entertain the public, and at some level of “style, grace, and elegance.” I know Dr. Slade is not the first Texas Southern president to receive criticsm for spending too lavishly on housing, in the name of representing the University well. Unfortunately, the article describes less than one-half of the alleged defalcation amount, and, then, is specific about less than one-third of that. Without knowing more of the particulars, I am not prepared to condemn Dr. Slade. I do wish persons would remain balanced and fair in their assessments of this situation. A person is considered innocent until proven guilty — even smart, ambitious, sometimes overly aggressive African American Women! Thanks,-H.J.W.
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