WNET settles federal probe of grant handling

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WNET announced yesterday (June 15) that it reached a settlement of a dispute with the federal government over the station’s use and accounting of millions in grants. The station said in a release that it agreed to repay $950,000 to the government and forgo reimbursement of about $1 million in expenses under awarded grants it has not yet received. The federal investigation revealed last year (Current, Sept. 21, 2009) involved $13 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As part of the settlement, WNET hired compliance officer Evelyn Mendez and “adopted a plan to make sure issues of this nature don’t arise again,” President Neal Shapiro wrote in a memo to the staff. Papers settling the case were filed in federal district court. “I’m pleased that this episode is behind us,” Shapiro said in the staff memo. “As I told you back in the fall, we have continued to receive project grants from the same agencies that called for the investigation, but have not drawn from those grants. We can now move forward.”

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