Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business in grade-inflation & forgery scandal, DA’s Office Steps In
Manhattan prosecutors are investigating the grade-inflation and forgery scandal that has rocked the prestigious business school at CUNY’s Baruch College, The Post has learned.
A high-level law-enforcement source confirmed the criminal probe a day after The Post revealed that a former key administrator for Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business allegedly raised MBA students’ grades and even forged their professors’ signatures on grade-change forms.
The claim sent shock waves from the school’s Gramercy-area campus to the University of Connecticut, where former Baruch Business Dean John Elliott is set to take over as dean of UConn’s business school in August.
University of Connecticut trustees — including UConn and WNBA hoops legend Rebecca Lobo — want school officials to look into what, if any, role Elliott played in the Baruch MBA scandal.
“There is a Board of Trustees meeting next week, and I will be bringing this matter to the attention of the [university] president,” said Lobo, the retired New York Liberty star and Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel Malloy — the UConn board’s president — was unsure if Elliott’s status would be added to the June 28 meeting’s agenda.
But UConn spokesman Michael Kirk said that Elliott told Connecticut officials before he was hired about the alleged irregularities and that he’d worked with Baruch to address the problems.
Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein gave a statement to UConn officials backing Elliott’s account, Kirk said.
“UConn looks forward to John’s arrival on campus as the new dean of our School of Business,” he added.
Former Zicklin administrator Chris Koutsoutis allegedly falsified the grades of about 15 students — including Wall Streeters whose firms paid their tuitions — so they wouldn’t be bounced from the program.
The accelerated “executive programs” in business and finance at Baruch allow students to earn a master’s degree in 10 to 22 months while working full-time.
The tuition ranges from $45,000 to $75,000, and insiders told The Post the scam was designed to keep the fat tuition checks rolling in.
Zicklin School grad students yesterday were outraged over the scandal — which has left them wondering if their pricey MBAs will be worth the paper they’re printed on.
“If I wasn’t a student here anymore and I found out that my grades were changed like that, I would sue the school in a heartbeat!” fumed business student Sayyam Shaw, 27.
Baruch investigated internally, allowed Koutsoutis to quietly retire, and shook up the faculty in the programs affected before turning over evidence to law-enforcement authorities.
Elliott — who directly supervised Koutsoutis — resigned in February to take the job at UConn in Storrs.
The business school is named after investment manager Larry Zicklin, who donated $18 million in 1997 — and who also made a $2 million gift to its Center for Corporate Integrity.
Zicklin, who worked for the asset-management firm Neuberger Berman, did not return a call for comment.