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Presidential proportions

by Kalina Laframboise January 15, 2013
Presidential proportions

Photo by Madelayne Hajek.

During his last few months as president, Frederick Lowy claimed more than $16,000 in flights, more than $7,000 in car repairs and maintenance, and more than $500 in university club meals.

In an access to information request, The Concordian obtained documents detailing Lowy’s expense reports in 2012 including trips made to Brazil, China and Toronto.

A trip to China for Lowy and his wife, Mary Kay Lowy, cost the university approximately $15,247.35 last March.

“In the contract of our presidents if there is a value to the spouse attending then the university will offset the costs,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota. “If she had a role to play then yes, these costs would be offset.”

In March of 2012, Lowy departed for China to represent Concordia in a delegation ceremony in Hong Kong. The costs are considered as university business and are reimbursed by Concordia.

When Lowy departed for his trip, his flight cost approximately $7,243 for a single ticket and the same amount for his spouse. The entire expense of the flight for two was $14,486. The hotel was $716.35 and a taxi from the airport upon their return was another $45 incurred by the university.

Flights to and from Toronto cost a total of $1210.36 and a trip to Brazil in mid-April totalled to $1,160 with an additional flight-change fee of $150.

For 2012 from March to July, Lowy claimed a total of $16,856.36 in flight fees alone excluding fees for reservation and changes. To cover the costs of taxi rides, Lowy spent approximately $142.

Concordia Student Union President Schubert Laforest says the university needs to reflect upon its decision to provide such benefits considering the recent budget cut from the provincial government.

“There seems to be a culture where a lot of money is given to senior administrators for trips, cars, and more,” said Laforest. “It’s time to re-evaluate that.”

In university club meals, the institution reimbursed Lowy for a meal that cost $292.50 on March 14, 2012 — days after the university received a $2-million fine from the provincial government for their management of funds and high turnover of senior administrators. Later in the year, Lowy claimed $245.94 for a second university club meal.

As per university contracts, senior administrators are able to expense car maintenance as well. For one such incident on May 7, 2012, Lowy expensed $1,275.51. On a separate occasion he claimed more than $6,000 for maintenance to his vehicle. When Lowy visited Guelph in April, he claimed $232.97 for his car rental and gas.

During Lowy’s time as interim president following the contentious departure of Judith Woodsworth, he collected a salary of $350,000 per year. Additional benefits included $1,200 for a monthly car allowance, $3,000 monthly for housing and an interest-free loan of $1.4 million to cover the costs of his condominium, which he has yet to repay.

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