Texas Southern University’s former CFO, Quintin Wiggins, was convicted Thursday of funneling almost $300,000 in public funds to the school’s former president so she could dress up her home.
According to the Associated Press, Wiggins diverted $286,000 of university funds into secret accounts that ex-president Priscilla Slade used to buy $87,000 worth of furniture, $138,000 of landscaping and a $61,000 security system for her home.
During his trial, prosecutors said Wiggins illegally evaded procurement and purchasing policies of the state and university by allowing the school’s money to be spent for Slade’s personal gain, and not informing TSU’s board or other school officials about her spending, according to press reports. Wiggins’ defense team argued that he may have been negligent, but did not intentionally break any laws.
After three weeks of testimony and two days of deliberations, the jury convicted Wiggins of one count of misapplication of fiduciary property valued at over $200,000. He now faces a sentence that could range anywhere from five years probation to life in prison.
According to the AP, Wiggins resigned in March of last year after being put on paid leave when the state started an investigation into a pattern of financial mismanagement at the school. Investigators concluded that more than $1.9 million was spent on artwork, club memberships, and spa treatments during Spade’s six years as president. She was fired last June. The results of the investigation prompted Texas Governor Rick Perry to call for a state takeover of the university.
Wiggins was appointed TSU’s CFO in 2002, where he oversaw the university’s finance, human resources, athletics, and architecture and construction departments. According to the TSU website, Wiggins was credited with improving the university’s financial reporting and upgrading the university’s credit rating. Prior to TSU, Wiggins worked at St. Thomas University in Southern Florida.