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Dobelle refuses to step down after reports criticize his spending

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:20 p.m. HST, Sep 20, 2013

BOSTON >> Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle said he had no intention of leaving his job even as top state education officials voiced dismay today over reports he spent lavishly while traveling in school business and used university credit cards for personal expenses.

"I think everything we've spent was strategically planned," Dobelle told reporters before a closed-door meeting with Richard Freeland, the state's commissioner of higher education, and other officials. Dobelle, who has asserted that the spending resulted in a significant "return on investment" for the public university in western Massachusetts, said he was proud of his accomplishments as president.

During a public meeting of the state Board of Higher Education earlier today, Freeland pressed university trustees about their knowledge of Dobelle's expenses -- including luxury hotels and high-priced meals during overseas travel -- that were first detailed in a report last month by the school's accounting firm.

Freeland called Dobelle's spending "a pattern of seemingly excessive and indulgent personal and professional expenses."

Dobelle is a former president of the University of Hawaii system from 2001 to 2004. He resigned amid questions about his spending of UH Foundation money.

Charles Desmond, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, said he wasn't satisfied with Dobelle's response to the reports -- or with what he said was a lack of urgency by the school's trustees.

Jack Flynn, chairman of the Westfield board of trustees, acknowledged that Dobelle violated policy by using a university credit card for personal expenses. He explained that the board, a volunteer body that meets only a handful of times each year, only recently learned the scope of the issues and cannot "micromanage" the university.

The power to hire or fire the leader of a state university lies solely with the trustees of a school. Flynn said the Westfield board would address the matter at its next board meeting on Oct. 24, weighing both the alleged violations and Dobelle's achievements in his six years as president.

"There has to be some real soul-searching and some decisions that we all have to make, the president (and) the board," Flynn said after the meeting with higher education board. "Is this a good relationship? Can we move on and how can we move on?"

Dobelle said he was following past practice by university administrators in charging personal expenses to the school's credit card and later reimbursing the school. He said he saw no reason for the trustees to dismiss him, and asked if he would consider resigning, responded: "Why would I?"

In a two-page letter sent on Thursday, state Inspector General Glenn Cunha urged trustees to challenge Dobelle's claim that his international travel has resulted in $1.2 million in recurring annual revenue from international students. Cunha said the majority of those students were in fact Massachusetts residents who pay in-state tuition though they are not U.S. citizens.

Cunha also questioned spending by the Westfield State Foundation, the school's fundraising arm, and the taxpayer-supported university's 2010 transfer of $400,000 to offset the foundation's operating deficit that had been caused in part, the inspector general said, by Dobelle's spending habits.

Freeland noted that Westfield had the highest graduation rate among the nine state universities, but was at the bottom in in private fundraising -- further calling into question Dobelle's claims that his spending netted a financial windfall for the school.

Inspector General letter to Westfield State University Trustees

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what wrote:
Dobelle has learned the game well from his time at UH. He wants to negotiate his golden million dollar separation package before he leaves.
on September 20,2013 | 10:30AM
allie wrote:
The guy is a repeat offender who makes fools out of weak administrations and boards. . Why on earth was he hired at the UH, pampered and grossly overpaid. It cost the state millions of dollars!
on September 20,2013 | 12:47PM
Grimbold wrote:
Sub-humans even in the highest positions!
on September 20,2013 | 03:32PM
1local wrote:
maybe he can get a position as an instructor at UH...
on September 20,2013 | 03:40PM
gobows wrote:
He's strategically declining to resign...........feckless!!
on September 20,2013 | 10:40AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 20,2013 | 06:34PM
yrusodz wrote:
It's called a dictionary, obviously something you and all-lies never heard of and never use.
on September 20,2013 | 07:28PM
Waverunner2 wrote:
Why is this news in Hawaii? C'mon S-A.
on September 20,2013 | 10:45AM
mcc wrote:
It's Aloha Friday, half staff of reporters. Only 1 today.
on September 20,2013 | 10:47AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Why would it not be news here? He worked us over financially, and now he's doing the same thing elsewhere.
on September 20,2013 | 11:01AM
BigOpu wrote:
So Hawaii doesn't feel like the only ones to fall for his scam. Westfield State is just as gullible.
on September 20,2013 | 11:51AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
Maybe to point out how the University was scammed (again) by this con artist.
on September 20,2013 | 12:41PM
cojef wrote:
Universities are easy pickings for shysters in sheep's clothing. Why not run personal expenses through university credit cards? If no one questions keep on doing, it's free money, like cash in your pockets. Smoothieeeeeee!!!!!
on September 20,2013 | 02:28PM
markat wrote:
I thought I was reading the comics section. Dang it. I hate when that happens.
on September 20,2013 | 02:21PM
markat wrote:
Seems to happen everytime I read an article related to the UH Administration.
on September 20,2013 | 02:22PM
glam99 wrote:
SOS from Evan Dobelle, not surprised.
on September 20,2013 | 10:50AM
carrstar11 wrote:
Why is this on your website? He's not even in Hawaii, and you sent me an e-mail with this as Breaking News?? If he's associated to Hawaii somehow, maybe you should put that in the article??
on September 20,2013 | 10:53AM
lumner wrote:
Its in the last sentence.....
on September 20,2013 | 10:59AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Are you new here, that you don't know Dobelle's connection to Hawaii? Did you read the article? Here's the last sentence, to help you out: "Dobelle was president of the University of Hawaii system from 2001 to 2004, but resigned amid questions about his spending of UH Foundation money."
on September 20,2013 | 11:04AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
His actions constitute embezzlement. He needs some tenure time in a MA prison. Perhaps that will change his mind.
on September 20,2013 | 11:01AM
allie wrote:
agree..he should have been prosecuted in Hawaii. He got off scott free
on September 20,2013 | 12:48PM
Nevadan wrote:
scott free? No. Megabucks.
on September 20,2013 | 05:59PM
Venus1 wrote:
Dobelle does not belong on the front page of this paper !!!! This is not The Nationl Enquirer.... Or is it??
on September 20,2013 | 11:01AM
No it is the "Honolulu Star Advertiser" You can usually find the National Enquirier in stores.
on September 20,2013 | 03:58PM
kispest wrote:
Once a crook....always a crook!
on September 20,2013 | 11:03AM
flyinbob wrote:
At least he is consistent...
on September 20,2013 | 12:06PM
Sunny wrote:
SA didn't have to post a picture of him, we all know what he looks like!
on September 20,2013 | 11:19AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Why is Dobelle being enabled to get away with this. After his previous experiences before and after UH, why hasn't anyone found a good lawyer to restrict his spending? When he violates his contract, fire him. Why keep fooling around?
on September 20,2013 | 11:22AM
kailua000 wrote:
see my response below.
on September 20,2013 | 11:47AM
allie wrote:
UH administration and board was and is very weak hon. He knew that and picked our wALLETS CLEAN.
on September 20,2013 | 12:49PM
yrusodz wrote:
"picked our wALLETS CLEAN" so you WERE a student here at UH during his time as President at UH?
on September 20,2013 | 04:12PM
yrusodz wrote:
"He knew that and picked our wALLETS CLEAN." So you WERE a student here during his UH Presidency?
on September 20,2013 | 04:15PM
kailua000 wrote:
If I were Westfield State board of trustees, I would put this 100% on the University of Hawaii. Westfield State was never given any negative reports on Dobelle. Companies, Universities, etc are so afraid of giving references now days out of fear of being sued. Had UH given a fair and accurate evaluation to Westfield State, they would never have hired him and he would not have abused his position and their money. Shame on UH.
on September 20,2013 | 11:46AM
BigOpu wrote:
All they had to do was google his name. No need for any evaluation from UH. His history says it all.
on September 20,2013 | 11:52AM
steveoctober wrote:
Exactly - even a 10 year old would've been able to dig dirt up on him.
on September 20,2013 | 01:05PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 20,2013 | 06:42PM
kailua000 wrote:
..and the same with the Navy Yard shooter. they claim all background investigations were done, yet you google his name and find information. So those who are supposed to do their due dilligence dont, they count on the previous employer to feed them info. Westfield was stupid, but UH could have quietly made a call and said "stay away"
on September 20,2013 | 08:19PM
kailua000 wrote:
Then why did UH hire him if he had a history?
on September 20,2013 | 08:17PM
Actually, I would assume some liability for UH if they were to provide the negative information you are suggesting. Talk about opening a can of liability for UH-As most former employers or references, there could potentially be defamation suits or other areas that UH CANNOT comment on no matter the negative connotations it might divulge.
on September 20,2013 | 12:46PM
kailua000 wrote:
Its true, but sad because everyone is afraid of being sued for telling the truth. When an employee is fired, there are negative evaluation reports that can back up information. Its really sad that even my employer cant give a good reference, they just say "he worked here from x to x" thats it. and the last bone head got a great job and she's ripping people off left and right.
on September 20,2013 | 08:20PM
allie wrote:
on September 20,2013 | 12:50PM
yrusodz wrote:
"HE HAD BEEN FIRED AT TWO OTHER COLLEGES BEFORE COMING TO US." all-lies again, you're saying you were supposedly a student at UH when he was president?
on September 20,2013 | 04:18PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 20,2013 | 06:45PM
yrusodz wrote:
2disgusted maybe if you READ CAREFULLY AND CRITICALLY you will see the slip-up that all-lies made. BTW, you're doing much better on your current meds. Are you finally over those Chinese women "stealing your husband"?
on September 20,2013 | 07:17PM
grantos wrote:
i'm thankful you don't write the laws haha
on September 20,2013 | 12:58PM
gsc wrote:
on September 20,2013 | 12:03PM
dlum003 wrote:
This guy should be keelhauled
on September 20,2013 | 12:24PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 20,2013 | 06:45PM
yrusodz wrote:
something that you should definitely try
on September 20,2013 | 07:21PM
saveparadise wrote:
We pay big bucks to hire crooks is what this amounts to. Legal theft of college funds seems to be his game.
on September 20,2013 | 12:40PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Shame on us if we made a mistake a first time, shame on u if u make the mistake again, shame there is not enough incarceration space if u make the same mistake a third time (three strikes and ur out).
on September 20,2013 | 01:04PM
Hilofrank wrote:
Gotta admire Dobelle. He's just holding out for another pay day, like when UH handed him about $1.5 million.
on September 20,2013 | 01:09PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Give him enough rope to hang himself and when he does and quits, there is no recourse except for him to say "I can't stand the heat in the kitchen, let me outta here!!!"
on September 20,2013 | 03:36PM
localguy wrote:
Westfield State University bought damaged goods with Dobelle. The guy is a legend in his own mind, better than anyone, he deserves to be treated like royalty. Got news for Dobelle, he is only good for shoveling horse puckey, seeking his own equal. Further proof that high pay does not always buy quality personnel. Compare some of today's best military leaders with the pay they receive. Truly not in it for the money, love of the job. Dobelle, MRC, all the past UH bureaucrats are all damaged goods. The BOR should be ashamed of their willful failure to find a quality person to run UH. Fire them all.
on September 20,2013 | 01:16PM
false wrote:
Spending someone else's money is easy as you can see. LOL
on September 20,2013 | 01:24PM
LizKauai wrote:
Why is this news?
on September 20,2013 | 01:29PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Because we are clicking.
on September 20,2013 | 03:37PM
lokela wrote:
Just a matter of time before he resurfaced. Up to his old tricks.
on September 20,2013 | 01:52PM
iwanaknow wrote:
He's not the first nor the last to do this kind of stuff..............someone can write a book......
on September 20,2013 | 02:33PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Got to go back in the day when Fujio Matsuda was president of UH. By the way, WHY do we need a President of a system such as our University of Hawaii system anyway? The Board of Regents seems to do their job.
on September 20,2013 | 03:56PM
Hilofrank wrote:
Yep, can't wait for the BOR to book concerts with Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Valens, and Elvis. Oh and special appearance by Michael Jackson.
on September 20,2013 | 04:19PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
A show with look alikes, I think there's a show going on in Waikiki as we speak. However being in the red is common in college sports. Take the Wahine Volleyball team: out of 300 some odd schools, Hawaii is the ONLY one in this entire nation that is self-sustaining. In other words if Norm took his team to Division II, Hawaii would still be a viable Division I NCAA volleyball power. That's how STRONG Dave's program is !!! Btw I love that name: Kristiana, has five syllables such as Elizabeth.
on September 20,2013 | 10:41PM
false wrote:
At least Dobelle lived in the UH supplied residential home unlike that fat old lady that followed him as president.
on September 20,2013 | 02:39PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Uh oh
on September 20,2013 | 03:54PM
wiliki wrote:
Spending wasn't a problem at the UH. It was the sin of endorsing Lingle's political opponent for governor-- Mazie Hirono. I think that College presidents do spend a lot as a rule. Dobelle is just too flashy for the people of the NE.
on September 20,2013 | 02:39PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Waikiki I FBI that u may b in ur mid 80s.
on September 20,2013 | 03:38PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Don Shimazu passed away. Lester Fukuda's dad is still alive I believe. Roy Shimabukuro I do not know. Michael Matsumoto is alive and running SSFM International. Am I getting warm? By the way Dr. Chiu passed away a few years back.
on September 20,2013 | 03:41PM
SY808 wrote:
I'm SHOCKED! Shocked I say!
on September 20,2013 | 03:08PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Well move away from ur Electric plug
on September 20,2013 | 03:43PM
IAmSane wrote:
This the kind of humor you'd find in the pages of Reader's Digest.
on September 20,2013 | 04:31PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Thanks eh
on September 20,2013 | 10:43PM
Hilofrank wrote:
Help me Rick!
on September 20,2013 | 04:19PM
frontman wrote:
Looks like Dobelle doesn't change the way he runs things ................... too bad UH Board let him really $crew Hawaii taxpayers
on September 20,2013 | 04:17PM
SteveToo wrote:
Once a crook always a crook!
on September 20,2013 | 05:45PM
GeoDiva wrote:
Why is this news? He left UH almost 10 years ago. I'm sure the SA can find something else more important to write about.
on September 20,2013 | 06:08PM
Oio wrote:
The scammer is using the same "strategic tactic" as he would describe it, refusing to leave because of implied threats of lawsuit aka UH Manoa case study, to get paid off millions of dollars to settle out of court. The trouble is, those who hired him are more concerned about his "credentials and smooth talk". Before they know it, he's got them by the nuts!!
on September 20,2013 | 06:32PM
hikine wrote:
Once a spend drift always a spend drift.
on September 20,2013 | 10:23PM
bestreader wrote:
Dobelle got $1.6 million settlement form the state of Hawaii for leaving and a state pension from the state of Hawaii for life. He was born in 1945 so that means he collect his pension from Hawaii and still be working in other words he is greedy for money.
on September 21,2013 | 01:19AM
Shotzy wrote:
Evan Dobellle couldn't captain a Toy ship in a rain barrel, much less a University.
on September 21,2013 | 06:12AM
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