PHILADELPHIA – Drexel University is missing $185,000 in research grant funds and a former department chair is facing criminal charges after an audit discovered that he spent $96,000 at strip clubs and sports bars, Fox News reported.
Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 57, the former head of Drexel’s Engineering Department, was arrested last week on two charges of theft, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported.
“Mr. Nwankpa inappropriately and criminally diverted tens of thousands of dollars that were allocated for research purposes toward his own private enjoyment,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
Nwankpa was freed on bail after a court appearance, according to Fox 29.
The prosecutor said Nwankpa spent more than $96,000 at strip clubs and another $89,000 in research grant funds on iTunes, meals and other unauthorized purchases, according to the report.
In total, Drexel auditors said they found $185,000 in improper charges, which occurred between 2010 to 2017.
Krasner said Nwankpa tried to hide the strip-club visits by itemizing the charges as catering and food. However, he reportedly ignored the fact that most took place between midnight and 2 a.m.
Last October the university reached a settlement with the federal government — the source of the research funds — that called for Drexel to reimburse the stolen money to the feds.
Nwankpa resigned once the audit was concluded. He has reimbursed Drexel $53,000 to date, according to the report.