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Wildenthal ‘Gratified’ By Ad About Spending Flap

The story of the Dallas Morning News’ “incredible shrinking” investigative report into allegations about the spending habits of Dr. Kern Wildenthal just got an exclamation mark. A paid ad signed by a who’s who of leading Dallas citizens—hundreds of names like Altshuler, Clements, Dunning, Hoffman, Horchow, Lacerte, Prothro, Winspear, Wolens—appeared in yesterday’s News, ripping the paper’s “senseless attacks” on Wildenthal and praising the former president of UT Southwestern as an “outstanding and honorable leader.”

As the “Open Letter” points out, what began with the paper’s screaming charge that Wildenthal had “$720,000″ in sketchy UT-Southwestern spending morphed over time into last month’s DMN report that, oh, looks like he only spent an unsubstantiated $24,000—and was asked to repay just $6,100. At the same time, the ad notes, auditors demonstrated that Wildenthal had personally paid an additional $17,139 over the years that he wasn’t required to pay—which means the institution technically owes him nearly $11,000.

Reached by phone, Wildenthal, who said he was not involved with the ad’s preparation, said he was “very gratified” nonetheless that it had “gleaned the essence” of the situation. Hopefully, he added, its appearance in the DMN “will help me focus on continuing to help UT-Southwestern,” whose foundation he still serves as a senior consultant.

UPDATE: The paper has gone to great lengths now to respond.

6 comments on “Wildenthal ‘Gratified’ By Ad About Spending Flap

  1. Very odd. A detailed read of the article indicates that no proper audit was ever performed (indeed, Wildenthal wouldn’t even let auditors make any attempts to corroborate his justification for various trips by refusing efforts to copy or make notes relating to the justifications he “showed” them).

    For reasons I can’t begin to fathom, neither Grant Thornton nor the internal audit department were ever allowed to perform one. The manner in which Wildenthal supposedly substantiated his expenses simply doesn’t meet conventional standards, including those required by the IRS.

    The Wildenthal “Positive Response Committee” could gather 1000’s of really important signatures and it still won’t trump federal law.

  2. Does Mr. Hunter plan to get comment from the News? Or does he think he only needs to talk to Dr. Kern Wildenthal?

  3. I find the original post very odd. If Mr. Hunter were to perform a close read of the DMN article, he could learn that no audit was ever performed, and that Wildenthal played a bit of a game with the folks hired for what appears to have been reviews where the auditors were basically instructed to “audit” with one hand tied behind their backs.

    Why doesn’t Mr. Hunter just pick a random CPA and ask him what he thinks about all this?

  4. The second UT System audit to determine what Wildenthal owes back to UTSW has no credibility, and clashes with what the original independent investigation by Paul Hastings, which was paid for by UT System.

    UT System auditors were implicated in the cover-up of Wildenthal’s misappropriations for years, so why were they used to determine the amount he owes, when they were involved in the cover-up? It’s not only a conflict of interest, it’s absolutely a tainted audit. No one with any credibility would allow the fox to watch the hen house like this.

    UT System fired their head auditor, UTSW’s head auditors, and their VP of business affairs for the cover-up. UT System need to do a third audit if they are ever to have any credibility.

    As for these socialite friends of Wildenthal who pass themselves off as “the Wildenthal Positive Response Committee,” shame on you for supporting a charity swindler who robs from the underprivileged and sick!!!

  5. Here’s a link to today’s DMN Editorial: “Wildenthal backers pick and choose facts to exonerate”
    http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20130301-editorial-wildenthal-backers-pick-and-choose-facts-to-exonerate.ece

    Pretty much reconfirms that the “audit” was nothing more than a whitewash. Wildenthal still has PLENTY to answer for (but it doesn’t look he plans to… he’s evidently getting a free pass from his friends in high places).

  6. I guess after the Morning News responded to the first ad, Wildenthal’s supporters will have to buy another expensive full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News proclaiming his innocence again. It sounds like a win-win situation for the Morning News.

    I wonder why Wildenthal’s supporters won’t publish the ad on this rag? Maybe because they want people to actually read it instead of wasting their money. Thus, it makes more sense to publish it in the Morning News instead of D-Magazine.