KSA legal expenses soar to $159,000

Legal and professional fees line item over budget by nearly 300 per cent.

By Matt DiMera
[news editor]

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) has spent more than $159,000 on legal and professional fees in 2011.

The KSA budgeted $55,000 for 2011 in their legal and professional fees line item. Currently, they have spent nearly three times the budgeted amount.

Since Jan. 1, the KSA has paid money to at least eight different law firms, six of which were engaged after the KSA’s current board took office April 1.

While council is ordinarily responsible for legal decisions, at the Aug. 31 KSA council meeting, a motion was passed granting the executive board “absolute authority over all legal matters.”

There is no conclusive official list of legal matters or disputes the KSA is currently involved in. Legal issues are typically discussed in secret in camera sessions. However some cases have been discussed publicly.

In late August former general manager Desmond Rodenbour filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the KSA for wrongful dismissal, breach of employment contract, and for defamation.

Earlier this year in an interview with The Runner, then-director of operations Justine Franson expressed concerns about the amounts of money past boards had spent on legal fees, saying there seemed “to be a lot of frivolous spending.”

KSA director of finance Nina Sandhu did not respond to an email request for an interview before press time.