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Southwestern OSU dean was investigated by Missouri authorities

WEATHERFORD, Okla. (AP) Southwestern Oklahoma State University's new dean of students was investigated by Missouri's attorney general in connection with one of the largest bankruptcy filings ever made by a nonprofit group in the United States.

Cindy Dougherty was president of the National Benevolent Association, a service and mission wing of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The organization, which operates nursing homes, senior facilities and children's homes nationwide, went from $349 million to $74 million in total assets by the time its Chapter 11 bankruptcy was finalized. More than $222 million in debt also was accumulated during Dougherty's eight years as president.

``That's part of my history, and I have no intentions of hiding from it,'' Dougherty said Tuesday. ``I didn't do anything wrong.''

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon subpoenaed records pertaining to Dougherty's pay and expense reports, including financial records dealing with a $1 million donor account in which she had discretionary powers.

The investigation was dropped before Dougherty, 51, was hired at Southwestern this month. She will oversee a budget of $160,000 per year.

Dougherty said the donor account was used to set up new services, adding that there was ``more than $500,000 in the account when I left'' and that her expenses were ``well-documented.''

``I gave all those expense reports to the attorney general,'' Dougherty said. ``First of all, I did nothing wrong. But even if I had, why would I document everything I spent that was associated with that account?''

Jim Gardner, spokesman for the Missouri attorney general's office, said Dougherty no longer is under investigation.

John Hays, Southwestern president, found nothing in Dougherty's past that made him leery of approving her hire.

``I thought she had an outstanding resume, and I have complete faith and confidence in our hiring process,'' Hays said. ``She didn't try to hide any of that stuff with us. She was completely up front.

Dougherty, who also will serve as the university's director of student activities, will begin her new job July 1.
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