Officials at the Board of Regents for Higher Education are asking Robert A. Kennedy to reimburse the system for $2,264 he received for business expenses while he was the president.

Officials say the $25,000 provided to him each year should not have covered the cost of items such as $111 for satellite radio, a $250 coffee machine and gas purchased in other states, like Wisconsin and Indiana. He also was inappropriately reimbursed for some dinners, such as one he and his wife had with the governor’s chief of staff at the time, Tim Bannon. The receipts provided to the Mirror earlier this week show that Bannon paid separately for his and his wife’s meal.

The $2,264 that is being sought from Kennedy comes after the regents reviewed everything he was reimbursed for during his 13-month tenure.

“Those expenses should have been charged to his personal account,” Colleen Flanagan Johnson, a spokeswoman for the system,- said during an interview.

The documents provided to the Mirror also outline what moving expenses he was reimbursed for, as allowed for in his contract.

Here are links to the materials: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Flanagan Johnson called the overpayment of $2,264 to Kennedy a “serious failure” resulting from not having an appropriate accounting system in place to monitor what is reimbursed.

Here is her full statement:

“The Board of Regents, through its newly-formed Administration Committee, is currently conducting an analysis of the compensation for Board of Regents employees in a thoughtful and objective way. Reviewing presidential compensation packages as a whole, including accommodation accounts, is a critical undertaking. The Board of Regents understands that it must be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, while at the same time, attract top-notch presidents to lead our institutions and further the success of our students.

“Dr. Kennedy’s expenses were handled in the midst of the consolidation of central office departments and functions, and, admittedly, there was a serious failure in not having clear financial systems in place to properly account for these expenses in the appropriate manner. Dr. Kennedy’s expenses have been reviewed, he has been charged for any non-business related expenses incurred, and we are in a position to immediately recover that money on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers. The Board of Regents is committed to a clearer approach to ensure there is an understanding of the processes necessary to best protect our state’s taxpayers and our system’s students.”

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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