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Former UH president Dobelle sues Westfield State trustees

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:54 a.m. HST, Oct 25, 2013

BOSTON >> Suspended Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has filed a federal lawsuit against university trustees and the state's higher education commissioner.

In the lawsuit, Dobelle alleges trustees conspired to damage his reputation and violate his rights by investigating and suspending him amid criticism that he charged personal expenses on school credit cards and spent lavishly on foreign travel. The action, filed Thursday in Springfield, had been expected. The officials have previously denied Dobelle's allegations.

The trustees placed Dobelle, a former University of Hawaii president, on paid leave last week and hired a Boston law firm to investigate his spending, which he has said benefited the university. The report is due by the board's Nov. 25 meeting.

The lawsuit refers to Dobelle as a "visionary in higher education" who was dedicated to the best interests of the school.

A spokeswoman for Westfield State declined comment.

Dobelle's troubles at the Massachusetts university are similar to his controversial tenure at UH from 2001 to 2004.

UH regents in 2004 unanimously voted to fire him amid charges of lavish spending, dishonesty, and wasting university resources.

At the time, Dobelle said he was a victim of a vendetta by the Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, and he fought back with lawyers and a Los Angeles public relations firm.

He threatened to sue for wrongful termination and challenged the regents to come up with a specific reason why they were terminating his contract. The regents paid off Dobelle, who resigned and received a severance package.

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allie wrote:
The dude is up to his old tricks: looking for a payoff. It seems to work. And he is as about as "visionary" as a turnip.
on October 24,2013 | 01:59PM
XlllX wrote:
not true. Dobelle was a nice person and only looking to better the University. We students wish we had the vision and clarity, he set up everything we have at UH today.
on October 24,2013 | 05:26PM
localguy wrote:
Really? How much did Dysfunctional Dobelle pay you for this shibai post? The man didn't have a clue what he was doing. Way out of his league. Just a leach.
on October 24,2013 | 09:45PM
allie wrote:
He did zero for the UH but a lot for himself hon
on October 25,2013 | 06:49AM
gobows wrote:
watch and learn from the best there ever was
on October 24,2013 | 02:35PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Unlike our trustees, the trustees for Westfield State University are not blinking.
on October 24,2013 | 02:47PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
I hope they don't. This guy is a grifter, plain and simple.
on October 24,2013 | 02:53PM
cojef wrote:
He is an educated con artist and uses threats of judicial processes to obtain his objectives. He purposely travel extravagantly to cause the administration boards to curb his appetites. If they fail to act he continues his high life-style and in the meantime enjoys it until his contract expire. If they suspend, he threatens with a law suit. They have to buy him off in the millions and he walks away smiling all the way to the bank. Shrewd and cunning like fox.
on October 24,2013 | 03:05PM
allie wrote:
true and oddly, at least at the UH, he raised zero dollars and met few donors. Intuitively, we are told, he was neither trusted nor admired by donors. They saw through him.
on October 24,2013 | 03:12PM
Mythman wrote:
Let's not forget Pres Dobelle said that Pinky Thompson was his best friend in Hawaii. His appointment was said to be so he could develop KS land at Puck's Alley as President. Just an odd coincidence that it was at Puck's Alley that another kind of President wrote he used to buy his blow when a student down Nehoa street at Punahou.
on October 24,2013 | 03:26PM
copperwire9 wrote:
What a crock.
on October 24,2013 | 09:38PM
XlllX wrote:
check your facts hon...Dobelle was instrumental in getting the donations and research dollars for the NEW facilities we have her at UH. We students wish we had him back.
on October 24,2013 | 05:28PM
DAGR81 wrote:
"You are not entitled to your own facts".
on October 24,2013 | 06:50PM
allie wrote:
no hon. SA is right: he raised zero dollars but overspent in his account. No donor could stand him or his shibai
on October 25,2013 | 06:50AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 24,2013 | 07:06PM
allie wrote:
yikes..do tell
on October 25,2013 | 06:50AM
FinzyKontini wrote:
This SOB should get a job that fits his true calling: Real Estate Agent.
on October 24,2013 | 03:33PM
Venus1 wrote:
Go Dobelle, where is the book and the movie and the 'How to get rich' seminar? Talk show?
on October 24,2013 | 03:21PM
Mythman wrote:
Just goes to show how dumb Pres Dobelle appears to be: like a lot of folks, he misunderstands what the term "visionary" means. Here's a dictionary definition of it: a. Having the nature of fantasies or dreams; illusory. b. Existing in imagination only; imaginary. 3. a. Characterized by or given to apparitions, prophecies, or revelations. b. Given to daydreams or reverie; dreamy. 4. a. Not practicable or realizable; utopian: visionary schemes for getting rich. b. Tending to envision things in perfect but unrealistic form; idealistic.
on October 24,2013 | 03:24PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Is this the definition of brass balls?
on October 24,2013 | 03:28PM
localguy wrote:
No. Dobelle was neutered shortly after birth.
on October 24,2013 | 09:46PM
kaupena wrote:
Dobelle was "paid off" and received a serverance package? What??? Is that how the system works?? We are absolute idiots. I assume tax payer dollars were used. Makes me sick!!!
on October 24,2013 | 03:34PM
serious wrote:
Agreed, but paying him off is cheaper than litigation and he knows that. The trustees, who would have been familiar with his spending habits, should have kept an eye on his expenses.
on October 25,2013 | 05:32AM
allie wrote:
true..he is a cynical grifter..a rip off specialist gone mad.
on October 25,2013 | 06:51AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Anyone surprised?
on October 24,2013 | 03:47PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Is this a story about how dumb westfield state was to hire Dobelle, or a reminder about how dumb UH was?
on October 24,2013 | 03:57PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
It's a reminder of how weak UH was in caving to the guy and how dumb Westfield was in hiring him.
on October 24,2013 | 08:11PM
xxNOTxx wrote:
Dobelle, pure and simple, is the "Scum of the Earth".
on October 24,2013 | 05:10PM
localguy wrote:
Dysfunctional Dobelle doing what he does best, take, take, lie, and lie. What were the thinking hiring damaged goods. I just hope that in court Dobelle is found guilty, fined to take away most of his ill gotten gains, and spends some jail time. The fool should be neutered to ensure no more of his dysfunctional kind are created.
on October 24,2013 | 05:24PM
nitpikker wrote:
shows the difference between our regents and their regents. ours are pitiful....then and now.
on October 24,2013 | 05:28PM
Anonymous wrote:
For the amount we paid off Dobelle, we coulda had a Stevie Wonder concert
on October 24,2013 | 05:46PM
Venus1 wrote:
on October 24,2013 | 06:05PM
Iuki wrote:
Dobelle is delusional. He really thinks he is the great leader he pretends to be, and that he deserves everything first class. Not only did he expect it for himself and his family, but also for the boatload of cronies he brought with him to U.H. and installed in high paying jobs at Bachman Hall.
on October 24,2013 | 05:58PM
allie wrote:
true..those who knew him said he was a total phony.
on October 25,2013 | 06:52AM
50skane wrote:
This guy is just a con artist who knows how to legitimately rip off supposedly intelligent people who run the university.
on October 24,2013 | 06:52PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 24,2013 | 07:04PM
popaa wrote:
on October 25,2013 | 09:30AM
paradiddle wrote:
Dobelle has sharpened his skills and shown he is ready for "Prime Time". USA birth certificate....check. College education and administrative skills.....check. People in high places in his pocket.....check. Lack of integrity and honesty.....check. The great white hope....check. Politics, heeeeeeres EVAN!
on October 24,2013 | 07:30PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Surprise surprise.
on October 24,2013 | 09:37PM
HanabataDays wrote:
At least we're well rid of him in the nick of time -- just like we got rid of John Carroll (R), who was recently convicted of misuse of his office in MD and sent to jail for six months. Apart from his misuse of county employees and funds, he was reported for having sex in the back seat of a county SUV in a shopping center parking lot in broad daylight. People like this don't exemplify the spirit of Aloha! The UH Board of Regents doesn't have a very good recent track record when it comes to choosing people to lead our University. Hope they choose more carefully next time. As for Dobelle, he stonewalled the Westfield trustees who thereupon fired him for cause. His lawsuit doesn't have a snowball's chance in the Ka'u desert!
on October 25,2013 | 05:07AM
awahana wrote:
A bit of a relief, to know that Hawaii is not the only 'hick' place, that falls for these kinds of tricks.
Looking forward to seeing who/where/when will repeat the 'Stevie Wonder Blunder,' or the Baywatch Hawaii 'Tax Donation Charity Fund.'
on October 25,2013 | 05:50AM
huponews wrote:
Some people never change....abusing the system.....UH was a victim....again and again and again.....how come we never learn???
on October 25,2013 | 06:47AM
allie wrote:
agree..greenwood ripped off the UH also.
on October 25,2013 | 06:53AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Flim flam man deluxe!
on October 25,2013 | 07:05AM
krusha wrote:
They should have done their homework before hiring the guy in the first place. Once you hire somebody, you have to live with the consequences later if they screw up, and history tends to repeat themselves over and over. As the saying goes, a tiger can't change its stripes.
on October 25,2013 | 07:10AM
McCully wrote:
Typical Dobelle, milk the university for every penny and when you're fired, sue them. Sounds like a ambulance chaser.
on October 25,2013 | 07:19AM
ready2go wrote:
Is this news worthy?
on October 25,2013 | 08:00AM
HAWAII_BOY_008 wrote:
recap on "Dumbelle" stay at UH..... http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/pdf/ct_fall_03.pdf
on October 25,2013 | 10:53AM
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