The College of New Rochelle, which is investigating how it fell millions of dollars behind in taxes and other debts, received a boost this week in the form of a $5 million anonymous donation. The private Catholic college also reportedly told faculty and staff that the school will turn its financial probe over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City.
The school announced the $5 million donation on Wednesday, which said is part of a “We Are CNR” fundraising campaign launched to “ensure the college’s future.”
The school’s new initiative, which has raised an additional $1.5 million, was launched after discovering a financial crisis this fall. The school announced it was opening an internal financial investigation in October, and that its president, Judith Huntington, would resign immediately.
The probe has since uncovered more than $20 million in unpaid payroll taxes, plus additional debts and liabilities of $11.2 million, the school’s trustees announced in November.
At a meeting with faculty and staff on Dec. 15, the college’s interim president, Dorothy Escribano, said the school was turning its investigation over to federal investigators, the Journal News reported. At the same meeting, school officials revealed the college had been running at a deficit of between $5 million and $7 million a year for at least five years.
Escribano reportedly told staff at the meeting that budgets were fabricated.
“The information, including the annual budgets, supplied to the board was incorrect and fabricated by the prior controller,” Escribano said, according to the Journal News report.
The College of New Rochelle board discovered the unpaid taxes in September and subsequently appointed a special committee to oversee an investigation. The school named a chief restructuring officer from the New York City accounting firm Grassi and Associates to manage the college’s finances. Trustees also hired a forensic accountant, PKF O’Connor Davies, and the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP to conduct the investigation.
Founded by Ursuline Sisters in 1904, The College of New Rochelle includes four schools: the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Nursing and Health Care Professions, the Graduate School and the School of New Resources for adult learners. Its main campus is in New Rochelle, with five satellite campuses in the New York City boroughs. Formerly a women’s college, the school became fully coeducational in fall 2016.