Lawsuit: NCCU chancellor tried to steer million dollar housing contract, bought $70K SUV with state funds

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A former Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at North Carolina Central University has filed the lawsuit against the school and its chancellor, claiming he was fired for speaking out against the misuse of state funds.

Benjamin Durant said he was wrongfully terminated in January because he questioned the purchase of a luxury SUV for Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye's personal use.

Durant claimed Akinleye was unhappy with the Nissan Pathfinder he was issued and wanted a more expensive GMC Yukon Denali - which cost roughly $70,000.

Read the full lawsuit

The chancellor and two members of the UNC Board of Governors are also accused of trying to steer a more than $90 million contract toward a certain vendor.

Following the lawsuit, the university issued the following statement:

"North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has acted in accordance to its policies and procedures. The allegations made will be vigorously challenged and defended in the court of law."

Read NCCU's full statement

On Thursday, an installation ceremony was held for Akinleye, who became the university's 12th chancellor.

Akinleye has been interim chancellor since January of 2017.

His achievements include expanding the university's academic partnerships and introducing NCCU Online, an online, distance-education program.
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