Gang author investigated because of misappropriation of funds allegation Staff Writer
December 11, 2012 | 1:31 a.m. PST

Sudhir Venkatesh author of Gang Leader for a Day

Sudhir Venkatesh author of Gang Leader for a Day

According to the New York Times gang scholar from Columbia University was the subject of a intense investigation last year into a the spending of a quarter-million dollars that Columbia auditors said was insufficiently documented, misappropriated or outright fabricated.

Venkatesh briefly led the largest social science research center at the university. The auditors in the investigation said that Professor Venkatesh directed $52,328 to someone without any “documented evidence of work performed.” He listed a dinner for 25 people, relating to research on professional baseball players that auditors found that only eight people attended existing of research projects that had not been approved.

The documents do not indicate what judgment Columbia administrators reached about the audit, or what actions, if any, they took as a result.

Professor Venkatesh said in a brief phone conversation in October that he had repaid $13,000. During that brief interview, Professor Venkatesh said he was proud of his record at Iserp saying, “I answered all their questions, I’m doing my research, I have a new appointment at the university that I’m very excited about. I just don’t want to get into these details.”

During the phone conversation in October, Professor Venkatesh also said, “Look, I’m a scholar. I’m a sociologist. I have a particular way I do my work.” He added, “I’m really proud of it. I’d like to have that be the basis on which I’m known.”

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