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Southeastern Seminary finances questionedcomment (0)

January 6, 2005

The Wake County District Attorney has asked the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) in North Carolina to look into finances at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

Colon Willoughby, the district attorney, said he has not received a report from the SBI.

Noelle Talley, an SBI spokesperson, said Willoughby asked the SBI to conduct interviews and provide him with information. She did not know the current status of the inquiry, but said no formal investigation is under way. Jerry Higgins, director of public relations for Southeastern, said the school had no comment.

C.B. Scott, a former director of special projects at Southeastern, said he was interviewed by an SBI agent in November.

Scott said the agent’s questions focused on a car given in 2003 to an aide of former seminary President Paige Patterson. Scott was one of two seminary whistleblowers who brought the potentially illegal transaction to the attention of school officials and was later fired.

Scott said his wife, Karen, who served as human resources and payroll manager for Southeastern, has also been interviewed.

Southeastern officials asked auditors to take a closer look at the seminary’s financial procedures, in part due to the controversy surrounding the car. Auditors made “a number of constructive suggestions for improvements” to financial procedures but did not adjust their “unqualified opinion” of the school’s finances, the seminary said.


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