Self portraits, trips listed in IG's report of former WSU presid - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Self portraits, trips listed in IG's report of former WSU president's spending

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Massachusetts Inspector General Glenn Cunha's review echoes the remarks of two previous state investigations into former Westfield State President Dr. Evan Dobelle's spending.

It states, "Dobelle knowingly and willfully violated University and Foundation policies by engaging in the frequent and substantial use of University and Foundation credit cards for personal expenses."

The report focuses on two credit cards. One from the University and the other from the school's foundation. Both of which Dobelle had access to.

In regards to the University card, Dobelle Spent $134,000 in lodging, $78,000 in travel and $21,000 in dining, $85,000 of that he self-identified as personal expenditures.

And on the Foundation's card, charges add up for $87,000 in lodging, $12,000 in travel and $30,000 in dining.

Of those charges, $28,000 were self-identified by Dobelle as personal expenses.

The review also zeros in on trips in which Dobelle billed the school for.

One being a 17-day stint in San Francisco in which he charged the school nearly $3,000.

The former president said it was a fundraising trip. However investigators found no evidence of him meeting with donors.

And another trip to Cuba in which family and friends unaffiliated with Westfield State were brought on the trip.

The report found emails the night before departure in which Dobelle's assistant instructed those in attendance to tell customs they were "a faculty member, staff person or student".  

The Inspector General said Dobelle also used $800 in donor money for a self portrait.

The report said Dobelle declined to be interviewed under oath by the OIG as part of the investigation.

In a statement issued to CBS 3, Dobelle's attorney Ross Garber says," is time to stop the effort to tarnish Dr. Dobelle's reputation and diminish the university's achievements under his leadership. Millions of dollars have been spent to oust Dr. Dobelle and to justify that decision."

Westfield State's current president, Elizabeth Preston also released a statement on the issue which read in part, "While this has been a difficult period for all of us, the faculty and staff of the university have persevered and focused on the work of providing our students with an outstanding education. We approach the start of our new academic year with a sense of excitement and new momentum, facing our challenges from a position of strength."

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