Lawsuit Claims Wayne State Bilked Research Money From US
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A lawsuit filed by a fired medical school professor says Wayne State University bilked more than $169 million in research grant money from the U.S. government.
The lawsuit, filed by Christian Kreipke in 2012 and investigated by the government since then, was unsealed last month in U.S. District Court in Detroit, The Detroit Free Press reported.
In the suit, Kreipke claims the school inflated the costs of research projects to get more in grant money from the government. He said, for example, the school spent $235,000 for 300 lab rats that actually cost $12 to $80 apiece, and paid $150,000 to a researcher who didn’t do any work on a project.
Kreipke said he complained about the suspected fraud to university officials and was shortly thereafter fired from his job. Kreipke’s lawyer, Shereef Akeel, said his client’s reputation is at stake.
“Dr. Kreipke’s exemplary career has been destroyed for standing up for the truth,” Akeel told The Detroit Free Press. “Unfortunately, what happened to the professor is what typically happens to whistle-blowers who get the courage to speak out.”
If the lawsuit is successful, the government could get up to 70 percent of any settlement or judgment.
Authorities at Wayne State said they learned of the lawsuit from media reports.
“The author of the litigation — an individual who was terminated from his employment for research-related misconduct — has attempted to challenge his termination multiple times using several approaches. Without exception, every such attempt has failed decisively,” the school said in a statement. “Should Wayne State be served with this latest claim, we will defend aggressively, and we are confident that it will result in dismissal, as have all of his earlier attempts.”
No charges have been filed. Federal prosecutors say they’re monitoring the case.
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