Donor withdraws planned gift to Westfield State over Dobelle spending


BOSTON (AP) -- A donor who had planned a $100,000 gift to Westfield State University says he is withdrawing the offer in light of revelations that the college's president spent lavishly.

John P. Walsh, president of Elizabeth Grady cosmetics, told The Boston Globe ( ) in an email he is withdrawing his offer to the college's foundation, which raises money for scholarships and other educational programs, unless President Evan Dobelle either steps down or reimburses the college.

Dobelle, a Pittsfield resident, is also a former mayor.

A report found that Dobelle billed the foundation for more than $200,000 in travel, meals and entertainment. Dobelle said the spending has been to promote the university and repaid some.

In reaction to the withdrawal of Walsh's gift, Dobelle said in a statement that Walsh never formally pledged the $100,000. He also invited Walsh to contact him.

On Thursday night, Dobelle rejected "a review that found he violated policies on travel and personal use of credit cards, calling it ‘defaming' and ‘illegal' because the full board of trustees did not approve it in advance," The New York Times reported on Friday.

"I'm deeply proud of what our university has accomplished," Dobelle said in the Times' report. "I was hired by Westfield State to be an agent of change to take us to the next level. We have done exactly that."


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