The ethics scandal and impeachment charges surrounding embattled UCF SGA President Michael Kilbride has received statewide attention, with the Miami New Times declaring that Kilbride is trying to “stave off the move by pulling procedural stunts that would make a real politician blush.”
The South Florida publication was referring to how Kilbride’s novice attorney general, Reggie Paros, who was just appointed within the last few weeks, issued a non-binding opinion suggesting the committee which unanimously pushed the impeachment charges forward must re-hear the affidavit because the meeting may have started three minutes later than the window when it should have started, based on the posted start time, according to SGA Statutes.
Kilbride’s SGA spokeswoman Kayla Torpey — who previously has been accused of issuing statements riddled with outright lies when claiming Sen. Erica DeSanti supported Kilbride’s pick for SGA Comptroller when DeSanti confirmed she did not — confirmed to KnightNews.com she was not aware of the start time rule ever being enforced before this year.
In the wake of the criticism, Kilbride’s newly appointed attorney general, Reggie Paros, has issued another non-binding opinion claiming that Kilbride’s SGA Executive Branch is not an SGA Agency subject to a requirement in proviso language requiring he gets three bids for production exepnses exceeding $5,000. However, based on discussion during the committee meeting which reviewed the affidavit, that point is moot.
“There was a misunderstanding of whether Student Government is an agency,” SGA Deputy Pro Tempore Samantha Friefeld said during the meeting. Friefeld then went on to explain how the Activity and Service Fee Business Office maintains a separate policy outside of proviso language requiring multiple quotes before A&SF funds are used for purchases of several thousand dollars, such as the nearly $8,000 Conference USA Championship Shirt order Kilbride’s SGA ordered from Image Depot — the company that gave him a sweetheart $2 per shirt deal during his campaign.
The policy she was referring to states that the A&SF Business Office “requires quotes from two different vendors when requesting $3000 – $6000, for requests greater than $6000, quotes from three different vendors are required.”
Friefeld explained how that policy, which is taught during A&SF financial training and all SGA officials must complete, applies to the current situation.
“That (policy) also applies to Student Government as well as all of our agencies, and the fact that Kilbride lacked providing a quote for Conference USA does break that rule,” Friefeld said during the meeting.
While the answer to Kilbride’s question he posed to his attorney general regarding the proviso language appears to be a moot issue for Kilbride’s impeachment proceedings, the controversy involving whether the meeting where the committee pushed Kilbride’s impeachment forward started on time and should be nullified continues. However, even if the committee does have to re-hear the case Wednesday, the impeachment affidavit, if approved again, would move on to Thursday’s Senate meeting according to the original schedule anyway.
Regarding the time controversy, Torpey confirmed an official SGA clock wasn’t used to keep the time, meaning there is a distinct possibility the chair’s cell phone used to show the start time of the meeting may have been three minutes ahead and the meeting did start on time. Torpey appeared to make light of the seriousness of the situation when questioned by KnightNews.com regarding how the time was kept, as she pointed out the cell phone was using “Eastern Standard Time” in an attempt to dodge the questions about how SGA was sure the clock used when the meeting started was really three minutes late.
“I will look into some of your questions further as I do not know the answers off the top of my head,” Torpey wrote. “However, I do know that the LJR chair used her AT&T cell phone to capture the time when the meeting began. That being said, that would be EST- Eastern Standard Time.”
KnightNews.com responded to Torpey by saying, “I was not asking whether or not EST was used; that is obvious, as we are in an eastern state. No reasonable person would believe we were using Mountain Time, so please do not patronize me.
“As for the clock, I was not asking simply the brand or carrier of phone; my point was if SGA does not have a OFFICIAL clock that is used, who is to say that the Chair of the committee’s phone should be the one used. I would bet money that SOMEONE in the room had a phone that was 3 or 4 minutes behind hers, and that would mean the meeting started on time according to that watch.”
KnightNews.com will continue following this major story and will continue asking tough questions of paid SGA officials and hold them accountable as the Case Against Kilbride continues.