Westfield State president files lawsuit - WNEM TV 5

Westfield State president files lawsuit

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Lawsuit filed by President Dobelle's legal team Lawsuit filed by President Dobelle's legal team

Westfield State University President Dr. Evan Dobelle has filed a lawsuit against the school.

WSHM CBS 3 Springfield has obtained a copy of that lawsuit.

It targets members of the Board of Trustees including Chairman Jack Flynn, Kevin Queenin, and Elizabeth Scheibel.

Also named is Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland.

WSHM CBS 3 Springfield dug deeper and found out Dobelle came under fire nearly 10 years ago for similar practices at the University of Hawaii.

Let's rewind to June of 2004 when Dobelle was the president at the University of Hawaii.

The Board of Regents voted to fire him amid concerns about high spending.

Documents released by the college showed he spent about $90,000 in nonprofit funding from the U-Hawaii Foundation.

His attorney at the time claimed there was no legal wrongdoing of his spending.

On the verge of being fired, Dobelle threatened to sue the school. The university then backtracked the dismissal. Dobelle then resigned after he reached an agreement with the school.

And now it seems history may be repeating itself.

Fast forward to August of 2013 when a report was released stating he mixed both personal and business expenses on the Westfield State University's credit cards.

Last week, he was placed on paid administrative leave pending a second investigation into his spending.

On Thursday afternoon, Dobelle's current attorney, Ross Garber, filed this federal lawsuit against the board and the state's higher education commissioner.

Garber said Dobelle's spending of the school's money was all done legally and accused the board of violating Dobelle's rights when they hired an auditor without full approval from all members.

In Hawaii, when Dobelle threatened with a suit, he resigned and walked away with a $1.05 million severance package.

In Westfield's case, they'll continue to investigate and there is no word on how they'll handle the suit.

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