Thursday, February 18, 2010

FBI Raid at Sonoma State University

Closed sign on door to Administration and Finance

FBI raid this morning at Sonoma State:
FBI raids SSU administrative offices (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Some other recent news reports on Sonoma State:

Update: Message from Campus President

The message below was sent to employees at 12:01 pm today:


February 18, 2010

TO: Campus Community
FR: President Ruben Arminana
RE: Search Warrant Activity on Campus

At this moment, a search warrant is being executed on campus by a task force comprised of the Sonoma County District Attorney's office, Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

The warrant deals with three facilities: the warehouse, a California Institute of Human Services storage building and the Administration and Finance offices in Salazar Hall.

The investigation is focused on 20 grants originally awarded and administered by the California Institute of Human Services.

The University welcomes the investigation and is working in full cooperation with the task force.

The investigation is the result of a University police department referral to the Sonoma County District Attorney in 2008 surrounding issues related to CIHS.

These activities will last through out the day.


Links

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

We were in our offices working this morning when we heard a woman yelling "STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER!!! DO NOT MAKE ANY PHONE CALLS, DO NOT USE YOUR CELL PHONE. STAND WHERE I CAN SEE YOU. DO NOT GO BACK TO YOUR COMPUTER, LEAVE EVERYTHING AS IT IS AND EVERYONE GET INTO THE CONFERENCE ROOM!" This person had the appearance of a Federal Agent but did not identify herself, and offered no identification. There was no presence of Sonoma State University police anywhere. There were about 80 people crammed into the claustrophobic hot room with what seemed like no fresh air. It took at least 60 minutes for me to be questioned about my identity and escorted individually to my work space where I was observed getting my purse, ordered to unlock all files and not to touch anything other than personal effects, and then escorted out of the building. When I was questioned about my identity by a man wearing only a windbreaker stamped with "Federal Agent", I asked for his identification. His response was "I already know who I am" sarcastically. They searched my purse and backpack and walked me out of the Administration and Finance office where Larry was standing. Another strange day working for Admin and Finance at SSU...

Anonymous said...

More relevant links: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20071010/NEWS/710100322
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20070419/NEWS/704190322
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20071014/BUSINESS0110/710140339

We got official word that it's about CIHS:
TO: Campus Community

FR: President Ruben Arminana

RE: Search Warrant Activity on Campus

At this moment, a search warrant is being executed on campus by a task force comprised of the Sonoma County District Attorney's office, Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

The warrant deals with three facilities: the warehouse, a California Institute of Human Services storage building and the Administration and Finance offices in Salazar Hall.

The investigation is focused on 20 grants originally awarded and administered by the California Institute of Human Services.

The University welcomes the investigation and is working in full cooperation with the task force.

The investigation is the result of a University police department referral to the Sonoma County District Attorney in 2008 surrounding issues related to CIHS.

Anonymous said...

Was this employee in the same raid that I was? It didn't feel anything like this. For one thing there were not 80 people crammed into a claustrophobic hot conference room
with no fresh air (there is no fresh air on the 2nd floor of Salazar). And my experience with the Federal Agent was amicable. There were no purse or backpack searches to my knowledge, at least not mine. I was spoken to in a professional manner and didn't worry since I knew I did nothing wrong. I felt I was not ordered to do anything out of the norm that was asked from a Federal Agent. I am sure that most of us have different versions of the raid. The one thing we would probably all agree upon is the abruptness of the raid and of be startled the way that we were. YOU HAVE THE DAY OF "ENJOY"

Anonymous said...

I was also there today. There were actually at least 70 plus people crammed into a stifling hot conference room. We were not treated disrespectfully, but it is true that most of the so called "FBI Agents" did not wear nor did provide identification.

There is no "norm" when it comes to being raided by Federal Agents at your workplace unless you are an illegal alien.

The description of the first account sounds dead on to me. Of course we are all on furlough at Sonoma State on Friday, so I suppose you could say that we received a nice long weekend. But who knows if we will actually be paid or not.

Anonymous said...

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100218/articles/100219404

Anonymous said...

video: http://cbs5.com/local/sonoma.state.raid.2.1504854.html

another article: http://kron.com/News/ArticleView/tabid/298/smid/1126/ArticleID/5027/reftab/63/t/Sonoma%20State%20Offices%20Searched%20as%20Part%20of%20Probe%20into%20Alleged%20Misuse%20of%20Grant%20Money/Default.aspx

HRVC said...

"Thriving SSU institute crumbled quickly"
New Article from the Santa Rosa PD.
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100218/ARTICLES/100219404/1350?Title=Thriving-SSU-institute-crumbled-quickly

Also, the original PD article is now five web pages long, with a photo gallery. Check it again if you haven't since 2/18. The PD has been keeping an eye on the years of fiscal shenanigans at SSU, and really lays them all out here. Some great quotes from Faculty and Students, but my favorite outtake:

Faculty dissatisfaction over Ruben ArminaƱa's leadership has percolated for years, peaking in ‘07 with a no-confidence referendum. He said he was being blamed for state budget cuts, also suggesting the vote may have been colored by his Cuban roots — describing himself as “foreign born, short and with an accent.”

HRVC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As an employee who works in Administration & Finance, my question is, "was a raid really necessary?" Between 60-80 employess were disrupted and scared out of their wits so that the agents could target the files and hard drives of approximately 10 staff. And, apparently, they already knew who those employees were. What's even more disturbing is that neither the President or top administration in this department has apologized to us.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was there 4 years ago. The dept. of admin. and finance upper management were not present, nor did they ever apologize or take RESPONSIBILITY for what occurred. CIHS was apparently improperly using funds, where was the financial administration that was SUPPOSED to be overlooking this department and grants ???