Columbia University Reaches $9 Million Settle in AIDS Research Lawsuit

A settlement was reached Tuesday over the alleged AIDS research grants that Columbia University admitted to monitoring in an inappropriate manner. The university has agreed to pay more than $9 million to come to a resolution in the case and move beyond the controversy.

This settlement comes after Columbia University as awarded $125 million in 2004 as part of former president George W. Bush’s initiative named, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

It is required that all grant funds be accounted for in order to ensure that they are being used properly, but it seems as though Columbia University had a difficult time complying with the requirements.

The university’s record keeping came under fire by the U.S. Attorney’s office and a lawsuit was initiated to hold them accountable. It was found that they were submitting claims for work that was not being done even though the funds were being used to pay for 200 employees that were to be performing the work with the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Program.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara who is leading the lawsuit, said “Grantees are required to use federal money for the purpose for which the grant was given and nothing else. The applicable rules are clear and they are at the core of ensuring that tax dollars are appropriately spent. Educational institutions, like everyone else, should be held accountable when they fail to follow those rules.”

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