Albany State issues rebuttal to Atlanta Journal Constitution article

Albany State University has issued a press release after a weekend article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution discussed $3 million in funds from the Ray Charles foundation.

Below is the entire response as issued by ASU:

The Ray Charles Foundation has offered a version of what happened to the gifts that Mr. Charles contributed to Albany State University in an article by Fran Jeffries in Sunday's February 17th edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. However, facts that are pertinent to this matter were carefully reviewed by the University System of Georgia's Office of Internal Audit and Compliance (OIAC). The OIAC's report, dated December 4, 2012, meticulously accounts for how the funds were expended, and concluded that none of the $3 million contribution made in 2001 and 2002 to Albany State by Mr. Charles was inappropriately spent. The report is attached.

According to the OIAC's review, "the two checks totaling $3 million donated by the foundation established by Ray Charles were not accompanied by documents providing restrictions, covenants, or specific instructions." While there is some disagreement by the Ray Charles Foundation about the interpretation of Mr. Charles' intent, we believe that ASU did not violate his trust and acted according to his wishes. The OIAC document includes a quote from an article by staff writer Brannon Stewart of the Albany Herald who interviewed Mr. Charles after announcing the gift at a commencement ceremony. Published Tuesday, May 7, 2002, it states: "Charles said he did not specify how the money should be spent. 'They'll do the right thing. That's why I gave it to them.'" Today, our efforts remain focused on constructing a state of the art Fine Arts facility for the students of Albany State University and the citizens of Southwest Georgia.

To view the letter sent from the University System of Georgia's Office of Internal Audit and Compliance, click here.

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