Purchases by Alamo Colleges chancellor include alcohol, seat upgrades

Alcohol purchases violated travel policy

SAN ANTONIO -- Financial records obtained by the KENS 5 I-Team show Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie repeatedly purchased alcohol using a district procurement card, a violation of policy.

The revelation comes from close to three years and 900 pages of records for purchases made by Leslie both here and abroad as he represented Alamo Colleges at functions around the world from January 2013 through November 2015.

"OK, policy doesn't allow it, but he reimburses the district," Associated Vice Chancellor of Communications Leo Zuniga told the I-Team before a board meeting late last year.

Alcohol is considered a non-allowable expense, according to Alamo Colleges employee travel procedure.

Alamo Colleges officials released multiple copies of reimbursements made by Leslie via check the past three years, but more than two months after our initial request for information, they have yet to release copies of alcohol reimbursements.

Leslie purchased $178.94 worth of alcohol using the procurement card, always during meals and usually while abroad, according to figures and receipts provided by Alamo Colleges.

Additionally, Leslie charged the card $457.44 for commercial flight seat upgrades to business class during the same time period, on flights to destinations as nearby as Houston and as far away as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Seat upgrades are permitted by Alamo Colleges' travel policy.

However, as a comparison, the I-Team requested the travel receipts for San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley during the same time period and found each seat upgrade purchased by Sculley was done so using her own money.

Prior to the start of December's board meeting, Zuniga told the I-Team that Leslie would "rather not do the interview."

Leslie eventually spoke to the I-Team as he made his way to the board room.

At first, he denied purchasing a seat upgrade for a flight to Houston, but he backed off the claim after being shown the receipt for the April 2013 flight. Leslie said he was going on information given to him by his "team."

Leslie, who has been chancellor of Alamo Colleges since November 2006, pointed out his international trips have helped to bring in more than $2.5 million in contracts for the college system.

When asked if he would reimburse the district for the seat upgrades, Leslie responded: "No, because there's no requirement I do so."

Perhaps the clearest explanation of Leslie's reimbursement practices came from longtime Alamo Colleges Trustee Jim Rindfuss.

"There are charges that will be owed to Dr. Leslie, where he has advanced money on behalf of the district from his own resources, and the other times when he has charged it on district cards," said Rindfuss, who called the accounting procedure an "offset."

Rindfuss said both and internal and external audit of Leslie's purchases and reimbursements, which found a minor discrepancy of 17 cents, proves the chancellor's spending has been in line with Alamo Colleges policy.

Rindfuss also defended Leslie's purchase of business class seat upgrades.

According to Alamo Colleges financial data, 38 percent of its annual budget comes from Bexar County taxpayers.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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