Academics often struggle with the confining language of grants, particularly federal grants, in purchasing equipment and hiring staff. Former Drexel University professor, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, has been accused of an alleged departure from any reasonable interpretation. The former head of Drexel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering allegedly spent nearly $200,000 in federal grant funds on trips to strip clubs and sports bars in Philadelphia. Worse yet for Drexel, the school will now have to pay for the strip club parties. What is fascinating is that Nwankpa has not been criminally charged and he has only been barred from government contracting for six months.
The money was supposed to be use under eight federal grants for energy and naval technology-related research for the Department of the Navy, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
The Department of Justice announced that Drexel agreed to pay $189,062 to “resolve liability” for Nwankpa’s “improper charges against federal grants” for “gentlemen’s clubs and sports bars.”
Both Drexel and the DOJ investigated paperwork that sought reimbursement for personal purchases as well as “goods and services” provided by Cheerleaders, Club Risque, and Tacony Club–strip clubs in the Philadelphia area.
If such charges were knowingly made over ten years, it is hard to see how this is not a form of criminal fraud. I represented an academic accused by the Justice Department in such a case. I viewed the charges are specious and they never involved this type of alleged misconduct and irregularities.