SGA president-elect under investigation

Ashlee Clark

An allegation of financial impropriety could jeopardize Nick Todd’s status as president-elect of the Student Government Association.

Todd, the vice pressident of finance, is suspected of misusing more than $600 through food purchases from an SGA Dining Dollars account.

Todd, a Henderson junior, could not be reached for comment yesterday or this morning despite repeated attempts by Herald reporters to contact him.

The reported impropriety was discovered on Friday, SGA President John Bradley said.

“The allegations are very, very severe,” Bradley said.

Western administrators were notified immediately after the reported misuses were discovered, according to an SGA press release.

SGA adviser Charley Pride said he is leading an investigation through his student activities office.

He did not know how long the investigation may take.

The reported impropriety has been discussed with Todd, Pride said.

Todd could also face university sanctions and criminal charges if he is responsible for the misuse of funds, Pride said.

Articles of impeachment for Todd’s vice presidency of finance were drafted yesterday by Jackson junior Josh Collins, an SGA member.

But the judicial council ruled that impeaching Todd from his current position would not be possible because of time constraints.

New SGA executive officers will be sworn in on April 27. Todd would no longer be in office once the two-week impeachment process ended.

Judicial council minutes stated $611 was missing from the SGA Aramark Dining Dollars account, which is used to pay for food provided during SGA events.

The account started the academic year with $5,000, Bradley said. There is about $1,200 remaining.

It is unclear why or how the reported misuse was discovered.

Todd, Bradley and Pride were the only SGA officials who kept cards to access the account, Bradley said. Any SGA member could use funds from the account for the organization’s events.

The reported misuses were “small amount purchases,” less than $5 each, Bradley said.

Todd is currently the only suspect, Bradley said.

“There were details that seemingly pointed to Nick,” Bradley said.

Other SGA accounts are also being investigated, Pride said.

SGA’s judicial council discussed last night other possible actions, besides impeachment for his current position, that could be taken if Todd is responsible for misusing the account.

SGA Justice Dana Lockhart argued that election codes could have been violated if money was taken from the Aramark account.

Lockhart argued that Todd may have violated SGA guidelines by not making financial records available and by not notifying SGA of the reported transactions.

SGA requires that its constitution and bylaws be followed by candidates during campaigns.

Another election will be held if Todd resigns as incoming president, Chief Justice Troy Ransdell said.

Todd could also be impeached next semester by the new SGA senate, judicial council members said.

The SGA executive vice president would assume the president’s duties, except for student regent, if he or she can’t fulfill the term because of “illness, withdrawal or failure to maintain the requirements of the office,” according to the new SGA constitution.

Radcliff sophomore Katie Dawson will take office as executive vice president on April 27.

The new SGA constitution, which was approved last month, states that there would be a special election to choose a student regent.

SGA would need to seek advice from General Counsel Deborah Wilkins concerning the student regent position because elections to that office are guided by state law, Bradley said.

Wilkins could not be reached for comment.

The judicial council cannot take any action on Todd’s eligibility to become SGA president until there is more evidence, Ransdell said.

The SGA congress, not the judicial council, can decide on how the issue will further be handled at their meeting this afternoon, judicial council members said.

“We are a reactive body, not a proactive body,” Ransdell said of the judicial council.

The judicial council asked Todd to come to their next meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Todd received 65 percent of the votes in defeating Bulan junior Jessica Martin in last month’s presidential election.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected]