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Ex-board member: Edison Foundation a "slush fund"

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Ex-board member: Edison Foundation a "slush fund"

By Matt Grant. CREATED Sep 19, 2012

FORT MYERS - A former Edison State College board member blasted the college's foundation, which raises money for scholarships and financial aid, calling it a "slush fund."

"Because the [Edison] Foundation has managed to operate without any public scrutiny at all," said former trustee Pamella Seay, "if this were politics you'd be calling it a slush fund. I know I would."

The Edison Foundation collects donations for financial aid and scholarships. It's mission, according to its Web site, is to "advance the welfare" of the school and its students.

But a Fox 4 investigation found donation money that could have gone to students instead went to buying former president Dr. Ken Walker a $60,000 Cadillac Escalade along with sit down dinners for the board of trustees.

And, by law, it's all being done in secret.

In Florida, colleges can't disclose how they spent donation money because those private dollars are considered confidential and exempt from public disclosure.

Fox 4 made the discoveries when our public records requests were denied. The college said things -like dinners and Walker's Cadillac - were paid for by the Foundation and therefore exempt. 

Seay worries the Foundation is spending money unchecked any way they want.

She now joins another former trustee, and longtime donor, Dr. David Klein, in calling for the law to change. Both want the books opened, and the public to know how Edison and other colleges are spending private donations.

After our investigation into the foundation, Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) said he supports making donations public.

He is looking into changing the law.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com