The director of Mesa Community College’s business institute falsified pay records and told her employees to resist releasing and even to destroy records, according to information made public Friday by college district officials.
Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District, is recommending that the governing board fire Pinny Sheoran, head of the Business and Industry Institute.
In December, after news reports raised questions about Sheoran’s management, Glasper placed her on paid leave and called for an investigation into the institute. Chris Chesrown, a district spokeswoman, said college officials would not comment on Sheoran or any ongoing inquiry.
In a statement provided by her attorney, Kraig Manton, Sheoran said she intends to vigorously defend her employment and fully fight any attempt to terminate her.
In response to a Tribune records request for the district’s statement of charges against Sheoran, Glasper’s office released its grounds for firing her. They are:
• Sheoran allegedly instructed her employees “to both destroy official records and refuse to comply with a request for public records.”
• She allegedly told employees to falsify their time cards and misused Special Service Contracts, which are used to pay employees for extra work, by including information that might have been false.
In the coming weeks, the institute director will get a hearing before three district faculty members, who will then issue their own recommendation to the governing board.
Manton said he will request the hearing be kept private. “We do not intend to try this in the press,” he said.
If Sheoran is fired, she would be the third executive that Glasper has removed this year as a fraud scandal has enveloped the nation’s largest community college system.
Last month the chancellor ousted two college presidents, Larry Christiansen of MCC and Homero Lopez of Estrella Mountain College in Avondale.
Sheoran, Christiansen and Lopez are targets in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s investigation of criminal fraud throughout the district, court records show.
The Tribune detailed the fraud cases in an October series that documented how college officials routinely transferred troublesome employees or allowed them to resign without consequence. When criminal activity surfaced, officials did not notify law enforcement.
Sheoran’s case is not the first in which side contracts have posed problems for the district. At Scottsdale Community College, a music professor received cash for years for work he never did, including more than $20,000 to direct operas that were never performed.
In February, the governing board approved a raft of reforms aimed at increasing oversight to prevent future fraud. Among them was an overhaul of side contracts, which added a provision requiring employees to prove they have completed the work they are paid for.