The state community college chancellor has appointed a former state chancellor to investigate the Peralta Community College District.

Mark Drummond, who stepped down as state chancellor in 2007 to lead the Los Angeles Community College District, will look into issues raised by Bay Area News Group in a series of stories last month. The investigation was requested by the Peralta board.

Drummond, who retired from the Los Angeles district June 30, said he plans to interview Peralta leaders this month and present his findings to the district board Sept. 15. He said Monday he would review Peralta policies and recommend changes if necessary. He also plans to consider whether laws were broken by the district.

Although the district's own inspector general, Gail Waiters, also is reviewing the same issues, Drummond said he would be an "independent set of eyes."

"The state chancellor would not normally be poking around in matters relating to a local district," he said. "They've asked for this assistance. Independence is the most important thing."

Bay Area News Group reported July 12 that Peralta Chancellor Elihu Harris had helped steer a $940,000 no-bid contract to a company headed by a longtime business partner.

The newspapers also reported that leaders of the Oakland-based college district spent thousands in personal expenses on their taxpayer-funded credit cards, including clothing and stays at a Las Vegas hotel.

And Harris broke district policies by granting raises — including multiple raises for two employees — to dozens of district managers.

District leaders could not be reached for comment Monday.

Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Reach him at 925-943-8246.