10.27.2005

AU Board of Trustees v. United States Senate

Anyone want to take some bets on who's going to win this one?

The Washington Post is reporting that our calls for Congress to step in have been answered.

The Senate Finance Committee has asked for every document related to ousted American University president Benjamin Ladner's severance package and compensation and for the board's plans for an audit of all 11 years of his tenure.

In a four-page letter, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) asked for details on all no-bid contracts over $100,000, copies of all correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service for the past five years, biographies of each trustee and documentation of how the board made certain decisions.



Looks like the Gang of 13 made a pretty big error in pushing the 'platinum parachute' for through over the objections of pretty much everyone at or affiliated with AU who wasn't them. Gee, rescinding that severance package seems a lot easier to do now that you're under Senate investigation, doesn't it Mr. Gottschalk?

In his letter, Grassley, the chairman of the committee, called "particularly troubling" a situation in which a nonprofit organization believes "that it is proper to provide approximately $3.75 million in payments to an individual who has failed to pay taxes on nearly $400,000 in income [for the past three years] after the board terminated his employment. Such actions raise significant questions about what other things a charity that has such a cavalier attitude toward the tax laws might be doing."



Thank you Senator Grassley for reiterating to the Board what we have been saying for weeks. Perhaps your voice will pierce through their 'hear no evil' selective deafness.

If you haven't already contacted the Board of Trustees or Congress, you can do it here and here.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...we're not gonna take it...

UPDATE: Thanks for the links, UD and Hiram Hover. Good to know somebody notices. Also, USA Today is piling on:

After an investigation of Ladner's lavish spending in the past three years, American's trustees voted earlier this month that Ladner would have to go. This week, they sweetened that goodbye with $2.75 million in "deferred compensation" and a $950,000 "settlement." That comes to about $340 per student on the District of Columbia campus. But who's counting? Apparently not the trustees.

In corporate America, excessive rewards for bad behavior are as common as they are embarrassing. At a non-profit university where students, parents and contributors are footing the bill, a golden parachute is irresponsible and insulting.



What they said.

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