The Political Scandal The Conservatives Didn’t Want You To Know About – Columnist Robert Novak’s Minority Scholarship Program Mismanaged By Jeffrey O. Nelson
WAYNESBORO, PA – April 16, 2009 /PRAvenueNW/ — When Robert Novak wanted to launch a scholarship at Thomas More college in New England, he was warned by school board member Joe Monaghan that college President Jeffery O.
Nelson, son-in-law of Russell Kirk, founder of the conservative movement, hadn’t been forthright in the school’s fiduciary management. Nelson’s negligent acts, such as taking an unapproved loan and missing payroll while at the same time hiring relatives, were even reported to Mike Delucia, Assistant AG for charitable trusts in New Hampshire.
A loan issued by Digital Credit Union is particularly jarring considering the state of the banking industry. When taken, Nelson was months overdue on the school’s budget. Board member Richard Heitmiller, since resigned, declared there’d been enough “stonewalling” and demanded action. When pushed on the reasoning for the loan that caused 5 members to resign, Nelson issued a statement directing members to sign a “Consent to Action Without Meeting”
refusing to give justification, even increasing the loan from $800,000 to $1,000,000 two months after it had already been issued, using school assets as collateral.
Hearing this, Novak wrote Nelson, “In our conversation, [Monaghan] described your management as “dishonest”. He informed me that you had added $1.5 million to the payroll without funding it, partly to pay for two of your in-laws hired by the college. Therefore, I must at least temporarily put in abeyance my commitment for what for me would
be a substantial commitment of $100,000…”
Novak was urged to contact several board members, including a former Cardinal of NY, Egan, who had resigned months earlier along with the others.
The school’s lawyer, Ovid LaMontagne, the Chair of the Romney for President National Faith and Values Steering Committee, then sent a letter to Monaghan stating that, “Mr. Novak has made a verbal commitment to establish a Youth Leadership Conference scholarship at Thomas More College.”
Monaghan replied, “The letter read as a threat to Novak for making a ‘verbal commitment’ and the legal reasoning was tenuous. The law doesn’t require that you keep quiet…”
According to an anonymous source close to the college, by the summer of 2008 the school started missing payroll until Novak finally relented and donated the $100,000 for the Scholarship. In an email from Terry Knowles, registrar of non profit trusts for the Attorney General’s Office of NH, to an alumni in Dec 2008, it was noted that the AG’s office had opened an investigation on the matter.
By Fall the school’s auditor, O’brien, Riley and Ryan of Westwood, Massachuesettes refused to certify its audit. Despite taking more loans, including $400,000 at 16 percent interest, the college again missed payroll by December, 2008. In an email to Alumni John Kelly, Nelson stated, “the college is now facing serious financial
difficulties. Paychecks have been delayed indefinitely. The school is having difficulty paying vendors.”
For more information on this topic, please visit our website at: www.litmocracy.com