ASI President David Abella Accused of Mishandling Funds
March 17, 2005 11:16 AM
Associated Students Inc. President David Abella was accused of mishandling $1,250 by some of his board members in a meeting yesterday and may face legal action.
The ASI board of directors meeting also included a dispute to terminate two other ASI board members for attendance violations.
One of the issues in question occurred last January when Abella established a contractual agreement with Valerie Edwards, an outside consultant, to conduct performance evaluations for full-time ASI employees and staff members. The agreement called for Edwards to be paid $125 an hour for a maximum of ten hours of work. The spending of the $1,250 was never approved by the board and would have come out of the student-funded $3 million that the ASI is in control of.
Vice President of Internal Affairs Sergio Rodriguez added a cease and desist action to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to prevent further consultation with Edwards, which the board ultimately passed.
In a memo obtained by [X]press that Abella sent to the ASI board of directors on March 8, Abella agreed to assume all financial responsibility for his approved funding.
“I’ve made my mistake and it was a big one,” Abella said yesterday before the board. “And it’s gonna cost me a lot.”
In the memo, Abella also states “After reviewing the ASI Bylaws after our March 2, 2005 meeting, I realized that my actions were out of order. When I entered into this agreement I overstepped my authorities as President/CEO of this corporation. Only the Board of Directors retains the authority to enter into a contractual agreement, such as the one I have disclosed … Although this action took place in January, the Board of Directors did not delegate me the authority to act on behalf of the corporation; therefore I am at fault.”
Also in dispute yesterday was a proposal to remove senior class representative Marisol Almaguer and science and engineering representative Jacqueline Fernandez for allegedly missing three out of four board meetings. The fourth ASI meeting was held yesterday, and it was the first meeting Almaguer and Fernandez attended.
Both board members received memos two days ago informing them that the board would be reviewing their ASI employment.
Graduate representative and chief justice of the board Michael Trujillo sent the memo, which cited an ASI bylaw that states the authority of the board to dismiss directors for “failing to attend two consecutive board meetings.”
However, the bylaw that was stated in the memo, “Article VII: Section 2: Article C,” does not exist in current ASI bylaws.
During the meeting, Trujillo admitted that he obtained the information from the ASI Web site, which he was promptly told contains bylaws that are two years old.
Trujillo declined to comment after the meeting concluded.
Almaguer and Fernandez both said they have not attended previous meetings because of scheduling conflicts with their classes.
Almaguer, who said she is taking Dance 434 during the scheduled meeting times, is in her final semester at SF State. Almaguer, an English major and dance minor, said she needs the class in order to graduate. Fernandez, a biology major and chemistry minor, said she has a little more than a year to go to complete her bachelor’s degree, and said she explained to Abella that her Chemistry 115 class would cause her to miss board meetings.
“If you are a board member you need to attend meetings. We all have class, we all have (other committee meetings),” Abella said. “I forwarded a recommendation to the chief justice (Trujillo) to look into (these attendance violations).”
But according to the current ASI bylaws, it is the duty of the corporate secretary to enforce the attendance policy. Fernandez is currently the corporate secretary.
“You want to remove two (board) members with 42 days left instead of focusing on the fact that our president David Abella committed fraud?” Fernandez said. “Why waste our time with petty stuff when Mr. Abella is our president and he’s committed fraud?”
Almaguer said she plans on taking action to have Abella removed as ASI president. According to the ASI bylaws, “to effectuate removal (of a Director), suit must be filed in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco by (another) Director.”
“I told him I was going to sue him,” Almaguer said.
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