by Max Brantley
An audit committee appointed by the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees to review negotiations between UCA and Aramark on a new food service contract voted today to halt its review in light of the local prosecutor's referral of the issue to the State Police.
The Aramark contract renewal, for a time, was conditioned on a $700,000 upfront payment toward presidential home renovation. Board Chair Scott Roussel and assorted university officials, including President Allen Meadors, allowed the payment to be announced as a gift without mentioning it was conditioned on a no-bid renewal of Aramark's contract. After the Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton reported that, the deal was cancelled, Meadors resigned and investigations were begun. The committee had asked UCA's internal audit department to review the dealings. That review now won't go forward. Some had objected, saying an independent review was needed. It's now underway in the State Police review.