Kean College, a publicly-funded university in New Jersey, is under fire for spending $219,000 on a custom-built conference table, reports the Daily Mail. And the school could shell out an extra $51,000 in additional fees before the table is finished.
The college firmly denied that it faces a criminal investigation for the spending. Daily Mail reported that state lawmakers are calling for an investigation.
Kean President Dawood Farahi defended the spending on the table and said, it is "small-minded" to focus so much on a school purchasing a table for $200,000, during a campus interview with a local news publication. Farahi earns about $300,00 a year and received a $200,000 bonus last year. Kean students pay more than $44,000 to earn a four-year degree.
The 22-foot circular table, made of oak and cherry veneer, can seat 23 people. It has a world map that lights up and also has a glass turntable that is motorized. Farahi said if the table was built in the United States, it would have cost the school $500,000.
Kean College said in an emailed statement to CNBC that the table is better referred as a 'mixed-media conferencing center' and that the $219,000 price tag includes the table and an "extensive list of electronics," including high-end conference speakers, a recording interface and several wireless and gooseneck microphones.
To off-set the cost of the furnishing, the College said several meeting rooms in the Green Lane building, where the conference center is located, will be rented out to corporate and community organizations.