Michael Weinberger, former director of Recreational Sports at UC Berkeley, has filed a whistleblower complaint with the university and the UC Office of the President alleging that the placement of Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’s former personal trainer on administrative leave constitutes a case of economic waste, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.
The university is investigating claims that Dirks allegedly misused public funds for travel expenses and used campus sports training services without proper payment. His former trainer Devin Wicks has been on paid administrative leave since April, according to Weinberger.
Wicks allegedly provided free training sessions to Dirks and his wife Janaki Bakhle, a campus associate professor of history, and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, accompanied Bakhle to India in January. Wicks could not be reached for comment.
“This is the first time I’ve seen someone put out on administrative leave for such a long time … on what in my opinion is a minor issue,” Weinberger said in an email. “Especially when the main person being investigated, the Chancellor, was not put on administrative leave.”
Weinberger alleges in the complaint that the university has spent an estimated $53,000 on six months of lost services by continuing to pay Wicks but not allowing him to work.
UCOP declined to comment on the complaint, noting that whistleblower complaints are confidential.
Weinberger, who retired in February, said in an email that he authorized Wicks to provide the training sessions to Dirks and his wife. He added that he also authorized their complimentary personal memberships in an effort to enhance their understanding of the services at the RSF.
“Rec Sports directors at other universities often invest thousands of dollars producing glossy yearly reports to tell their story to the administration,” Wicks said in the email. “To me, having the Chancellor personally experience the RSF and see how it is used by students was a less expensive, more effective way to tell Rec Sports story.”