Document: The Board of Regents #Planegate Audit

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The Iowa Board of Regents convened a special meeting today to review the results of an audit conducted by the board’s chief audit executive, Todd Stewart, into Iowa State University President Steven Leath’s controversial use of university airplanes that included vacation trips and two hard landings that were not fully reported at the time. (For more background, take a look through our #Planegate reporting here.)

At today’s meeting, which is currently headed into closed session, Leath said the university plans to sell the smaller of the two planes it bought using ISU Foundation money during his tenure, the Cirrus SR22 that he crash-landed in the summer of 2015, because he no longer intends to fly it. He also maintained that he violated no university policies in flying the planes despite possible evidence to the contrary first reported by the AP’s Ryan Foley.

A summmary of the audit’s findings, embedded below, lays out a series of 10 recommendations, including that the university be more transparent about damage to its property; bill Leath for the full cost of his Cirrus use, which included at least 72 trips; take steps to eliminate flight billing errors; keep more complete logs of flights; and establish a policy regarding the use of ISU aircraft because no policy currently exists.

The state auditor’s office is conducting a separate review of Leath’s use of university-owned airplanes that hasn’t been released yet. Update: State Auditor Mary Mosiman, who like Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter is a Republican, said after the conclusion of the board’s meeting Monday that her office will not conduct a separate audit despite many lingering questions.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.