The Kansas University Alumni Association will be billed for back postage by the U.S. Postal Service for misusing non-profit mailing privileges, postal officials said.
Lawrence Postmaster Bill Reynolds said the amount of the bill and details of the infractions won't be made public until he meets with KUAA officials this week.
"There was a nationwide misunderstanding about non-profit mailing status," Reynolds said. "I don't have any knowledge that anybody was trying to defraud anybody."
KUAA Executive Director Fred Williams said Saturday that he had not been informed of the billing and that no decision has been made regarding a possible appeal.
"I HAVEN'T heard from the Post Office since April," he said. "It's true that this is very much a misunderstanding on a large basis. . . . I don't know if anybody's right or anybody's wrong. I think you've got to allow the process to unfold."
Paul Griffo, spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service in Washington, D.C., confirmed that a "deficiency was discovered" during an audit. He would not discuss the matter further.
The Council of Alumni Association Executives, to which KUAA belongs, reported last month that one-third of the association's 90 members were being audited or had been contacted.
At that time, the president of the alumni council said an informal survey showed the average association bill could be from $10,000 to $12,000.
Reynolds said the bill to KUAA was a "sizable sum," but declined to elaborate.
THE FOCUS of the Postal Inspection Service audit was "cooperative mailings" of travel companies and merchandise manufacturers linked with associations, Griffo said.
KUAA officials received a letter from postal inspectors in April requesting detailed information on all cooperative mailings since January 1988.
The organization then stopped using the non-profit mailing rate of 8.4 cents a letter on cooperative mailings, instead paying 16.8 cents a letter.
Reynolds said federal regulations require that KUAA holder of the non-profit mailing permit be held accountable for payment of any back postage.
KUAA has the option of seeking reimbursement from the company or companies that share responsibile for the inappropriate mailings, he said.