WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - After a special meeting Thursday night, the Westfield State University's Board of Trustees says it will continue to support President Evan Dobelle and his international travels.
In the report done by an accounting firm, President Dobelle spent more than $1,000 at a steak house in Washington D.C. in 2009. And he spent $543 on a hotel stay in New York last year.
Yet the accounting firm ultimately declared there were no fraudulent charges. Dobelle told 22News that these were personal expenses that he accidentally charged to the school-issued credit card.
“I made an error. I have three silver credit cards, and a couple times you make a mistake. Maybe nobody else makes mistakes like that," Dobelle said.
“All reimbursed. That's the important thing I thought that the auditor said today. Was there any fraud? No. Was there anything missing? No.”
An accounting firm also found travel expenses from 2008 to 2010 charged to the Westfield State Foundation, a private group that funds scholarships and student programs.
Some of those charges had no documentation, but now the spending policy has changed, and Dr. Dobelle reimbursed the Foundation.
Foundation Chairman Edward Marth told 22News “We do have very clear directions on what's reimbursable or not. No credit cards, more than one signature. That'll show potential donors that they should have confidence.”
Dr. Dobelle said most of his trips led to the growth of the University and their abroad programs, but the Board still has some questions.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jack Flynn said “There are more affordable hotels. The policy is clear. We can't be extravagant. When we take a look at this stuff next time around, those are the questions we are really going to take a hard look at as a board.”
Before their next meeting in October, the Board of Trustees will explore and additional policy changes.