Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Serial Repeat By A University President In Misuse of Funds

by Gary Snyder

A report by the Massachusetts Inspector General cites more than 20 examples of alleged misconduct during former Westfield State University president Evan S. Dobelle’s tenure. 

The report accuses him of deliberately and repeatedly misusing the institution’s funds and nearly bankrupting its nonprofit fundraising arm.

According to the report, the university had to spend $400,000 to bail out the Westfield State Foundation after Mr. Dobelle used donated funds on 10-person trip to Asia in 2008 and other expenditures that yielded little benefit for the institution.

Mr. Dobelle’s six-year tenure, which ended with his resignation in November amid probes of his spending. Mr. Dobelle has filed suit against Westfield State trustees and state officials, claiming the accusations were part of a smear campaign aimed at ousting him from office.

The report raises the prospect that Dobelle could face criminal investigation. Though the Inspector General is barred from disclosing whether he referred the case to federal and state prosecutors for further review, he stressed how seriously he views the allegations against Dobelle.

A spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley said her office is looking into whether the state can go to court to recover money from Mr. Dobelle.

The report found that Dobelle had gotten into similar trouble for his lavish spending at previous jobs, including at the University of Hawaii and the New England Board of Higher Education. In Hawaii, the board of regents unanimously voted to terminate his seven-year contract in 2004 after just three years because of his wasteful spending and ever-shifting explanations, Cunha’s report said.
“There has been a lack of accountability, lack of fund-raising progress, lack of a sense of stewardship, ignoring the most basic policies,” then-regents chairwoman Patricia Lee said, according to the minutes of the Hawaii board’s June 15, 2004, meeting. “But, most importantly, his dishonesty and lying are most troubling.” (source)

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter,, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit,, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner,, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today,, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization),, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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