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February 23, 2009 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA coming down the mountain on Cosgrove

The egg timer of patience may have finally run out on former VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove.

Joel CosgroveVictoria University of Wellington Student Association President Jasmine Freemantle has issued a warning to the former President that legal action would be taken against him if a substantive attempt to repay $1730.76 in outstanding monies stemming from his infamous Australian junket last year was not initiated.

Cosgrove had been issued numerous deadlines by Freemantle for repayment of his outstanding duty, but up until recently had expressed reluctance in doing so.

However, Freemantle noted Cosgrove’s belligerent take on the situation changed dramatically following the publication of Salient’s February 12th “Eye on the Exec” column, which detailed the Exec’s intention to initiate legal proceedings against the 2008 President if all other means of recuperation were exhausted.

“He contacted one of my staff members to arrange repayment hours after [Eye of the Exec] went up,” Freemantle said.

The repayments offered by Cosgrove as recourse for the outstanding debt were confirmed by Freemantle to be “$10 a week.”

“I don’t believe the payments he offered were appropriate,” the President remarked.

“The Australia trip money totalled about $2000. You don’t need to know maths to know that at $10 a week [total repayment] will be years down the track.”

Cosgrove applied to the 2008 Exec for funding to attend a conference in Melbourne in March last year, and was granted full salary, a daily living allowance, airfares and miscellaneous transport money. The money was approved on the proviso that Cosgrove produce a report that substantiated the worthiness of the trip.

Cosgrove produced a draft report, but no final copy was ever rendered, despite promises that it would be.

During the first Exec meeting of 2009, President Jasmine Freemantle offered a motion requiring Cosgrove to pay the outstanding funds, which passed unanimously. Freemantle sent two letters to Cosgrove announcing the decision, an electronic and a hard copy, and they were received with annoyance by the former President.

“He was going around telling everyone that it was a big fight – Jasmine against him, sometimes the Exec against him, but generally it was Jasmine against him,” Freemantle said.

“I also realised that between January 8 and up until a few days ago, [Cosgrove] was approaching members of my executive trying to get them to overturn the motions primarily on the basis that [I] was anti-workers’ rights and that I was impinging on his workers rights.”

Freemantle was unconcerned by Cosgrove’s claims.

“I was very sure that as an elected official and not a VUWSA staff member, which Joel has never been, he would have no protection under the Wages Protection Act,” she assured.

“Even if he did have some legal standing, I think that as an elected official, he should repay it regardless.”

Further doubt was cast over Cosgrove’s accountability when it was revealed by Freemantle that the draft report he produced was largely plagiarised, inflated, and in some cases, invented.

“Joel was one of my students; I used to lecture him in Gender & Women’s Studies, so I know from his academic writing that [the report] was not Joel’s writing,” Freemantle explained.

“I got a little suspicious and checked some of the references and they were either made up, or copied word for word from other sources. There might’ve been one or two words that were different.”

The idea of using Baycorp to reclaim the funds was broached during the February 11th Exec meeting, and while Freemantle had “no problem” with using a debt collection company, she preferred not to.

“I don’t want it to go to Baycorp. Some people would say he deserves it, but it does have longer term consequences and that is something I am aware of,” Freemantle said.

Freemantle said discussions were still taking place, but she would be insisting upon all correspondence going through her from now on.

“It is not appropriate for him just to organise something with my accounts clerk,” Freemantle insisted.

“It has become an Executive issue.”

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Kia ora, biography box, kia ora.

Comments (3)

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  1. The Egg Timer says:

    $10 a week? I guess he hasn’t gone on to bigger and better things. Not even a bus driver I guess.

  2. Mikey says:

    Or a mayoral candidate.

    Oh wait…

  3. Against The Stream says:

    Nice Beard.

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