Wilberforce University owes vendors thousands

Wilberforce University


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - According to Wilberforce University, it has increased enrollment and retained its accreditation after restructuring. They have even announced a new multi million dollar construction project to the dorms, but we found they are still struggling to pay some of their vendors.

Business owners we talked with are worried. They both say Wilberforce University owes them money and hasn't paid up in months.

"That has a major effect on my company," said Walden Inn Managing Partner, Robert Rosencrans.

The Inn Walden is a luxury getaway in Aurora, Ohio.
That's where Wilberforce held a staff retreat last year for more than 20 employees.

Between guest rooms, meals and the use of the conference center, the total bill for the retreat was more than $30,000. 10 months later, Rosencrans says Wilberforce still owes $21,000.

"We've certainly been frustrated. Between phone calls, emails, not responding, kind of responding, someone else has got to look at it and the run around, we are still basically at zero."

2 NEWS Investigates found the Walden Inn isn't the only outstanding bill Wilberforce has. David Duberstein with David's Uniforms in Dayton tells us the university also owes him $1,300.

"We had to close the account because we just couldn't let them charge anymore because that was the limit we could let them have without paying," said Duberstein

Both business owners say they're not getting any answers from Wilberforce or money.

"We've heard nothing from them," said Duberstein.
"Now we've gotten totally stonewalled and no communication whatsoever," said Rosencrans.

Both are starting to feel the impact

"I've got payroll and taxes and all of our vendors that require payment," said Rosencrans.

Last Summer, 2 NEWS Investigates found the same thing was happening to another local business in Beavercreek. At that time, Mark Wilson with Wilberforce told us that incident was an oversight and paid them. He said the University was back on track financially.

"We want to make sure we have the right reputation in the community and that folks understand and know that we value who it is that we partner with and we want to make sure they are fully paid," Wilson said in July of 2016.

We asked the University again why they're spending money if they can't pay their bills.
We asked them three times for an interview and just received a written response from the Senior Vice President of Business and Finance.

It said, "We are aware of all of our obligations that occurred prior to the current administration and we're working to make all of our vendors whole."

Wilberforce named a new president last July. These business owners say they don't want any more excuses. They just want to get paid.

"Wilberforce is a pillar of the Miami Valley and we really wouldn't expect them to default the way that they've done here," said Duberstein.

According to our partners at the Dayton Business Journal, Wilberforce University is looking to sell part of their campus to help them pay off some debts.

We'll be checking back in with these businesses and Wilberforce to make sure they get paid.

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