Valencia College official resigns after allegations he misused school funds

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A top Valencia College official has resigned after an investigation found that he misused college funds.

An internal audit found that the veteran employee used the money to throw parties and give employees gift cards.

A school representative told Channel 9's Lori Brown that college officials acted immediately to relieve the manager of his duties and that they are also tightening controls and providing more training on ethics.

The report also found that Lawrence Wainwright, 57, helped select contractors for the college inappropriately solicited cash gifts from those contractors.

The report said the cash donations went to buy gift cards given to employees at a Christmas party.

The investigation also found the 17-year employee kept money he collected from selling scrap metal to pay for the 2013 Christmas party and two retirement parties. The money was to have been turned in to the school.

According to the audit, Wainwright kept thousands of dollars in cash received from the scrap metal sales at his desk.

Investigators said they could not determine the total amount of money Wainwright received, but receipts show he spent more than $3,000 of the proceeds.

The investigator called it a "gross mismanagement and gross neglect of duty by the west campus plant superintendent."

Wainwright told investigators that the cash donations from contractors did not personally benefit him, but the auditor said the acceptance of the gifts did not provide a level playing field for other competing contractors and the gift cards did personally benefit college employees who received them.

Wainwright is not facing any criminal charges.