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Former federal prosecutor will investigate NDSU, UND projects

FARGO -- A former federal prosecutor will begin an investigation into violations of laws and policies in recent building projects at North Dakota State University and UND.

The North Dakota University System will contract with David Peterson, who is retired from the Bismarck U.S. attorney's office, to perform the investigation.

A state Board of Higher Education committee met Monday to approve the scope of the investigation and authorize Chancellor Bill Goetz to enter into the contract.

The board asked for the investigation after a recent audit that found noncompliance with laws, policies and procedures.

The investigation will look into four projects at NDSU and one project at UND.

- NDSU Old Main renovation, which includes the president's office.

- NDSU president's home.

- NDSU's Richard H. Barry Hall.

- NDSU's Bison Sports Arena.

- UND's Twamley Hall renovation, which includes the president's office.

The scope of the work includes identifying people who knowingly circumvented laws and policies or were instrumental in the decision to violate laws and policies.

It also seeks to identify root causes that allowed the events to occur and other areas of noncompliance.

The board may expand the scope of the audit depending on the findings.

Peterson will be paid $225 per hour. It will be funded through the university system office budget.

Goetz said he would like the investigation completed in June.

The board's Budget, Audit and Finance Committee also discussed plans to adopt a new internal audit function for the university system.

A proposal will be presented to the committee and the board in June.