Society apologises for unpaid bills

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 09/01/2014

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Funds have been frozen, bills are outstanding and Massey University Extramural Students' Society is apologising to creditors for leaving them in the lurch.

The embattled society has been plagued by problems since it ousted former president Jeannette Chapman last year.

Issues first came to light at the student union's annual meeting in September when emotions boiled over after it was called short due to lack of a quorum.

At that meeting Ms Chapman was to report back to members on matters including a statement of accounts, setting the fees and four proposed constitutional changes.

But she disbanded the meeting after seven minutes and refused to answer questions on allegations she earned more than $50,000 part-time, among other concerns.

Members say that was the last time she fronted the society and since then she has been unreachable, issuing a few statements but not answering calls or emails.

In October a vote of no-confidence was placed in Ms Chapman's presidency and Mark Lester and Tiri Porter were appointed co-presidents in her place.

They rescheduled the annual meeting for next week.The agenda is set to cover business originally pencilled in for last year's canned meeting, but also includes reports on progress since the October special general meeting (SGM).

The Manawatu Standard understands Ms Chapman is refusing to accept her ousting and has sought legal advice regarding the legitimacy of the SGM.

The executive committee is also facing queries from the society's former funders and contractors, including Massey University, with calls for a judicial review to be undertaken.

But Mr Lester said the special meeting followed the book, including being chaired by a Justice of the Peace. Next week's annual meeting will go ahead unless a "formal" judgment is received that rules the SGM and its decisions are invalid.

The meeting will be streamed online, allowing remote attendance and voting suited to extramural students.

Since the ousting, Mr Lester said there had been some difficulty tracking down Ms Chapman and the society's budgets and records. He said the bank was refusing to deal with the new executive because Ms Chapman was still listed as the person in charge.

The list of people approved to sign cheques on behalf of the society has been withheld by Ms Chapman, meaning bills can't be paid either.

Mr Lester said it was unknown how much the society owed.

"We apologise to creditors of EXMSS' goods and services, who in good faith have helped us, but it is out of our control," Mr Lester said.

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The Manawatu Standard has repeatedly tried to contact Ms Chapman for comment, but she has not returned calls, and her landline and cellphone have been disconnected.

- Manawatu Standard

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