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Ex-SOU official investigated for theft

ASHLAND — Police are investigating a former Southern Oregon University official alleged to have stolen more than $12,000.

William Kolacek, formerly the director of residential life at SOU, resigned earlier this month after a routine audit turned up unauthorized purchases, according to Christine Florence, executive director of marketing communications for the university.

"We've got systems in place where we routinely audit different areas, and his audit came up," she said. "Right at the very beginning when the audit began, it was exposed that something was wrong, and he came forward and resigned." Kolacek resigned on March 5, the day the audit began, Florence said.

Police received a report from an Ashland bank on Monday alleging Kolacek stole $12,847 by depositing a check into his account that he knew would not be honored and withdrawing funds before the bank was aware. Police are investigating Kolacek's activities dating back to Nov. 20, 2007.

Oregon University System auditors were on campus last week for the university's investigation, Florence said. Insurance will cover the losses.

Kolacek was hired in July 2007 after a criminal background and reference check, Florence said. Previously, Kolacek was the housing and dining complex director at Eastern Illinois University.

"During the short time that he was here, he did a lot of great things for the university and the students and was very well liked by everybody, so it was a real blow to the campus community," Florence said.