Gov. Bentley: Not interested in running ASU - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. Bentley: Not interested in running ASU

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Gov. Robert Bentley responded to criticism Monday that he's trying to "take over" or "destroy" Alabama State University after the preliminary findings of a forensic investigation into the university's finances.

"I have to run a state" Gov. Bentley said after an event at the State Capitol. "I'm not interested in running a university."

The governor added that his goal as President of the ASU Board of Trustees is to get the school's administration on a better path.

Gov. Bentley said, "I think we have the opportunity to make some changes and for people to step up and take their responsibilities seriously."

The governor released the preliminary findings of a forensic audit of the university by Forensic Strategic Solutions, Inc. one week ago.

The preliminary report detailed allegations and evidence of financial waste, misuse of funds, and possible conflicts of interest at the school by current and former members of the ASU Board of trustees including its chairman and vice-chairman.

Alabama State's Interim President, Dr. William Harris took to Youtube with a recorded statement that was sent to students and alumni.

Dr. Harris proclaimed, "Our university is under attack" and said the governor was using a "flawed document" as his justification.

There were even signs distributed around the university that read, "SAVE ASU: Governor Bentley is trying to destroy our school."

The governor responded Monday saying, "I want what's best for ASU."

In regard to the downgrade from Moody's Credit Service of Alabama State University's credit and bond ratings, the governor said his office was never notified of any review of the institution's status or finances.

"It can be somewhat serious" Gov. Bentley said. "I think though that we get things in place and working correctly, we're going to be OK."

The downgrade basically means that moving forward it will be more expensive for ASU to borrow in order to fund future projects.

ASU administrators blamed the downgrade on the governor because he was the one who released the preliminary audit results. Gov. Bentley begged to differ.

"Me releasing a report by a forensic group, all that did was show what the real problems were."

Gov. Bentley called a special meeting of the ASU Board of Trustees to meet Monday, Oct. 28 to discuss the search for a new president as well as the preliminary findings by FSS.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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