KSA conflict allegations still unresolved

Council members ask for answers.

By Matt DiMera
[news editor]

More than six weeks after allegations surfaced that two Kwantlen Student Association executive members were directly related to Aaron Takhar, neither one has yet to publicly confirm or deny their connection to the former KSA official.

KSA director of finance Nina Kaur Sandhu outside of the Aug. 17 council meeting. (Jeff Groat / The Runner)

Justine Franson resigned as the KSA’s director of operations shortly after the news broke that she was Aaron Takhar’s sister, though she has so far refused to comment publicly on their familial connection or her reasons for resigning.

Nina Sandhu (also known as Balninna Sandhu and Nina Kaur) has stayed on as the KSA’s director of finance and has also repeatedly refused to comment on her relationship to Takhar.

The KSA filed a civil lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court in 2008 against five former members of the Reduce All Fees (RAF) party, including the onetime director of finance, executive adviser and group leader Aaron Takhar.

The KSA’s lawsuit alleged that Aaron Takhar and his RAF slate, who were entrusted to manage more than $2 million in student fees, mismanaged the student money and breached their fiduciary duties.

In a media release dated Aug. 8, 2011 KSA president Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi wrote the following: “The Director of Operations and the Director of Finance, respectively, understand the appearance of a possible conflict. Both have, and will continue to abstain from any decisions pertaining to the civil actions against former directors.”

On Aug. 2, four days after the story first broke, Bobby Padda, Tarun Takhar and Jaspinder Ghuman passed an out of meeting motion to readopt the original April 1 motion directing Justine Franson to order the KSA’s lawyers to “cease all activity pertaining to the RAF case until further notice.” The readopted motion still reaffirmed Franson as “the sole liaison with KSA legal counsel.”

A note attached to the new motion said that Ghuman, Padda, and Takhar had made this decision independently.

In the original April 1 motion both Justine Franson and Nina Sandhu voted in favour of the motion.

Three council members have raised questions and concerns over the allegations of conflicts-of-interest.

Richmond campus director Harj Dhesi wrote an open letter Sept. 4 to Bobby Padda, the chairperson of the executive board and director of external affairs, demanding that the issue be discussed publicly at the next council meeting.

“If she [Franson] has not done anything wrong, than why has she not explained to the student body why she resigned and why was the resignation done at an in-camera meeting?” asked Dhesi. “Why is there no accountability to students on the resignation?”

Dhesi also raised concerns that Sandhu had not declared any conflict of interest during her previous term as Langley representative from April 2010 to 2011, writing that she was present during confidential in camera meetings when the RAF legal case was discussed.

Two other KSA directors, Langley campus director Jennifer Campbell and Langley representative Ken McIntyre both wrote their own nearly identical open letters, Sept. 5 and 6 respectively.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14.