BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - According to an audit by the State of Louisiana, the former band director of Southern University was pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars that were supposed to go to the university.
The audit states Nathan Haymer contracted with a third party to collect public funds due to Southern without the permission to do so by the school. It shows he received more than $293,000.
According to the audit, Haymer collected nearly $50,000 from Mardi Gras krewes for the Human Jukebox to perform in parades between 2015 and 2018. It also shows he submitted false invoices to obtain reimbursement from Southern University, the Southern University System Foundation, and the Southern University Alumni Foundation for expenses he did not incur. This totaled $46,719.
In one instance, the report cites five invoices totaling more than $7,400 that the vendors reviewed and said they did not issue. One of those was a 2018 invoice for Raising Cane’s that totaled $2,000. Southern’s band was performing in the Krewe of Nyx parade during Mardi Gras at the time. The invoice shows 200 Caniac Combos, water, and chips were ordered and that the invoice “must be paid in full with cash on parade site.”
A representative with Cane’s reviewed the invoice and later deemed that “it was not one of theirs.” The auditors later found that on that day, the band had been fed Subway sandwiches that were paid for by the Krewe of Nyx.
Southern fired Haymer in 2018 after he was unable to answer questions about the whereabouts of money collected for the program.
From January to August of 2015, the third party remitted more than $84,000 to the school. During the entirety of his time at Southern, $293,000 was deposited directly into his personal bank accounts. The audit suggests this may have broken state and federal laws.
The auditors recommended Southern make changes to prevent this from happening again. In a response, President and Chancellor Ray Belton outlined several steps to improve its accounting and cash handling procedures.
WAFB reached out to Haymer through his attorney, Karl Bernard, for comment. Bernard said they would not be commenting on this matter until the full investigation is complete.
We also reached out to Southern for further comment on this audit. The school issued this statement:
“Southern University is grateful to the Office of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for its thorough audit of the questionable financial activities of the former director of bands. University officials referred this matter to that office for further investigation. We thank the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for acknowledging the university’s due diligence and assisting us in discerning the full extent of the loss. The university will continue to work with law enforcement and consult with counsel in order to recoup any funds that were diverted from the university.”
Click here to read the full audit.