Drexel University has agreed to settle a lawsuit for $190,000 after one of its professors allegedly used federal funds to cover a decade’s worth of his spending habits at local strip clubs.
Former professor and head of Drexel’s engineering department Chikaodinaka “Chika” Nwankpa spent “hundreds of thousands” of federal research dollars over a ten-year period at local strip clubs, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Now, the school has agreed to settle a lawsuit for $190,000 to pay back the money that was initially meant for energy, science, and naval research funding at Drexel.
According to the report, Nwankpa was hardly covert when submitting his expenses reports, and had filed “several improper charges against his federal grants for ‘goods an services’ billed at ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ including Club Risque and Cheerleaders in South Philadelphia and the Tacony Club between 2007 and 2017.”
In addition to strip clubs, Nwankpa’s improper charges also included sports bars and iTunes.
After being confronted about his spending habits, the professor — who had spent 27 years teaching in Drexel’s electrical and computer engineering department — admitted to the illegitimate expenses, resigned, and agreed to pay $53,328, which was reportedly far less than his overall tab.
“This is an example of flagrant and audacious fraud, and a shameful misuse of public funds,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, whose office negotiated the settlement with Drexel.
The report added that a university spokesperson said the school reported Nwankpa’s suspicious spending and cooperated with the investigation into his misconduct. Drexel has reportedly since established additional training for faculty and staff and has revised its standards with regards to auditing.
“Drexel takes allegations of unethical or unlawful business conduct on the part of any members of the university community very seriously and remains committed to being in full compliance with all billing regulations and requirements,” said spokesperson Niki Gianakaris, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The office for U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain mentioned that the settlement did not prevent the prosecution of Nwankpa.