Breaking News: SA finance report released; $200 unaccounted for

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September 25, 2008

8:06 PM

The Student Assemby Senate Finance Committee has released a report detailing an investigation into the off-campus account from which former SA Vice President Zach Pilchen ’09 misused funds.

Below is the full text of the report. A detailed article will follow.

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Senate Finance Committee’s Financial Investigation
Of SA Spending from January 2007- August 2008

Process

The Process of the investigation began long before the bill was even passed through the Senate. It began as soon as we were made aware of these charges. The data was compiled into the form of a master spreadsheet. We looked at statements from January 2007 until the August 2008. We meticulously logged each transaction into the spreadsheet- expanding it to include the date, amount, location and purpose of each transaction. From there, Zach and Valerie were independently asked to look at the charges and fill in the purpose of various charges if they could. They were able to consult their calendars and e-mails help them determine for what purpose the purchases were made. These spreadsheets were then compared for consistency. In addition, any questions or concerns specifically arising were addressed to the appropriate party. Caroline Mullis, Senate Finance Chair, talked to Zach Pilchen, Valerie Hopkins, Andrew Blasi, Steven Nelson and Ryan Eickel. This report was then complied by the Senate Finance Committee.

Findings:

Charges that cannot be accounted for and suspected purpose:
11/30/07- William and Mary Copy Center purchase for $56.75
12/04/07- Staples charge for $5.55
12/04/07- USPS charge for $29.52
12/13/07- William and Mary Copy Center- $56.50
1/22/08- William and Mary Copy Center- $12.00
1/22/08- Walmart Purchase for $35.83

One of the $56 charges at the William and Mary Copy Center was for flu vaccine fliers as authorized by the Senate and purchased by Ryan Eickel.

Charges that were established as inappropriate:
12/10/07-Wawa purchase for $4.79- Steven Nelson admits to using the card accidentally when he had it for free speech wall- believes he paid Zach back for this purchase- no record of this transaction
4/28/08- Williamsburg Cinema for $14.50
4/29/08- Wawa for $19.29
4/30/08- Wawa for $6.28
5/5/08- Rite Aid for $3.06
5/5/08- AMC Hapmton for $20.00
5/6/08- Wawa for $3.36
5/6/08- Aramark College for $4.50
5/6/08- Aramark College for $4.50
5/6/08- Wawa for $6.52
5/7/08- Wawa for $5.03
5/7/08- McDonald’s for $8.18
5/8/08- Aramark College for $4.50
5/8/08- Wawa for $8.86
5/9/08- Wawa for $3.36
5/12/08- Wawa for $7.16
5/12/08- Regal New Town for $7.25
5/12/08- Golden Leaf for $12.16

All other purchases we believe to be legitimate and accounted for. All purchases are included in the spreadsheet and the full statements are available if desired.

Conclusions:

Steven Nelson inappropriately spent $4.79 from Wawa when he had the card for free speech wall material. It is unknown as to whether or not he paid this back.

The total of Zach’s known inappropriate purchases was $138.51.

$196.15 was unable to be fully accounted for. One of the $56 Copy Center purchases was for the printing of Ryan Eickel’s flu vaccine flyers. The locations of these purchases were primarily at stores specializing in office supply, which when combined with their dollar amounts, are consistent with the SA’s most common legitimate expenses. While we were unable to verify these purchases as legitimate, there is also no compelling evidence to believe that they were illegitimate.

Future:

The William and Mary audit office is performing an audit of the account during Zach’s tenure- they will release a report as well.

Introduction of legislation that will change the finance code will be coming within the next 15 academic days. The Finance Committee members have been discussing changes already. A few ideas include:
Elimination of the check card or strict controls on it.

An itemized record of spending will need to occur every month and be looked over by the Fincom chair and the members of the finance committee

Reports to the Senate need to be itemized, sent over the listserv and posted on the website.

Further clarification as to who is authorized to spend money from the account.

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