November 19, 2015

Attorney General, Ethics Watchdog Call for Investigation Into Former UGA Administrator



Photo Credit: UGA News Service

Deborah Dietzler.

The Georgia Attorney General’s office is calling for an investigation into accusations that a former UGA administrator falsified travel reimbursement forms and used state money to take personal trips, according to WSB-TV.

Underlings reported that former Director of Alumni Relations Deborah Dietzler skipped work regularly and forced her staff to find alumni to meet with her when she wanted to run marathons out of town so she could charge it to UGA, among other financial misdeeds. 

An internal investigation in 2013 recommended that her contract not be renewed, but instead she was given another job for six months, until the University of Louisville hired her as associate vice president for alumni relations at a higher salary. She is now on leave as UL investigates the charges.

Senior Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin told WSB that “this matter warrants further inquiry,” and he is concerned that no one ever reported it to his office. He has asked the University System Board of Regents to investigate.

William Perry of the group Georgia Ethics Watchdogs said the state should go even further by asking the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the charges, since records show that they already reached UGA President Jere Morehead and the University System, but nothing was done. 

“Only a thorough investigation by an outside agency can lead to the punishment of the guilty and the true vindication of the innocent,” Perry said.

Meanwhile, it looks like Dietzler’s lawyer—who has denied any wrongdoing on her behalf—got to one of the whistleblowers. Sallyanne Barrow, who worked for Dietzler but was fired shortly after reporting her conduct to superiors, launched a blog after WSB broke the story Monday. The second post reads: “I am retracting that Debbie Dietzler engaged in criminal activity. That is all I can state at the present time.”

Barrow and her husband also started a GoFundMe page seeking to raise $250,000 to help with their autistic and diabetic son.