Credit card fraud, the split with Concordia University Television and an ongoing debate over how financial records should be reviewed were all issues addressed at the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation’s Annual General Meeting last Saturday.
During the hour-long meeting, CSBC President Angelica Calcagnile gave an overview of the Board of Directors report, the CSBC’s financial statements were reviewed and elections and re-elections of the BoD took place.
During the BoD report, Calcagnile gave a frank explanation of current issues the CSBC has been dealing with, such as the issue of money still owed to CUTV following their separation last fall. The money, owed to CUTV following an audit of the value of the station, amounts to just over $14,000. Patrice Blais, treasurer of the CSBC, explained that the figure does not take into account money that CUTV spent using the corporation’s accounts, including the purchase of new computers and credit card statements dating back to June. Blais estimated that a more accurate figure of the money still owed would be between $7,000 and $10,000.
Calcagnile described to members a recent incident of credit card fraud on three of the CSBC’s credit cards. The fraudulent transactions committed in December, totalling $862.19, were spotted and reversed in early January.
“I was alerted to it by multiple sources around the 10th of January and it was resolved I believe the 10th of January as well,” Calcagnile said. “They credited our accounts and there was no damage whatsoever. There might be something that we’ll see on our next statement, because they might have continued to commit [fraud] into January, but the cards were cancelled.”
After the bank returned the money, CSBC opened a file with the Montreal Police. Calcagnile explained that the issue was not one the authorities considered to be worth investigating due to the fact that the amount was small and no financial damage resulted from the incident.
A third issue mentioned during the BoD report was a push by former CSBC director Sabine Friesinger for retroactive audits of the CSBC’s books going back three years. The motion was put forward at the CSBC’s BoD meeting in January and was voted down. According to Calcagnile, the issue will be addressed at the Graduate Students’ Association Tuesday.
“[Friesinger] is trying to get the GSA to agree to encourage us to do a retroactive audit and if not, the outcome of that motion is that they could hold our GSA fee-levy,” said Calcagnile.
Calcagnile went on to explain the reasoning behind the CSBC’s switch from audits to financial reviews several years ago, stating that it wasn’t necessary to perform full audits.
“The auditor said, ‘listen, I’ve looked at your books and I’ve been doing your books for X amount of years and it doesn’t seem necessary, it represents a significant cost to you that I don’t feel is necessary for your organization’,” she said. “Here at Concordia, the only organization that does a full audit every year is the Concordia Student Union and they’re dealing with significantly more money than the rest of us.”
Friesinger, the one who first proposed the motion, told The Concordian that allegations of mismanagement during the separation of CUTV and CSBC were what first led her to the idea of retroactive audits.
“If those allegations are proven to be wrong after a full audit then all the better,” said Friesinger. “But when these kinds of things are said and people are worried about it then we need to take action on it.”
Friesinger also explained that the amount of funding the CSBC receives from student fee-levies was another reason she was concerned with what she called a lack of financial transparency.
“I don’t know whether or not there is financial mismanagement, but I know that when I asked about seeing bank statements or credit card statements, or even statements from internal accounts, I was refused.”