Ousted Cal U chief demands retraction
By Amanda Dolasinski
Published: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Ousted California University of Pennsylvania President Angelo Armenti Jr. is disputing school officials' statements that he acted without authority or funding when he promised a former art professor $160,000 to create eight intricate stained-glass windows.
In a five-page letter sent this week to the school's Council of Trustees and Acting President Geraldine Jones, Armenti said the university's claims were “disgracefully false and defamatory” and demanded a retraction.
Spokeswoman Christine Kindl said Friday the school received Armenti's letter but “the university stands by its statement and has no plans to issue a retraction or an apology.”
At issue is retired professor Leslie Parkinson, 73, who complained recently that she was left deeply in debt because the university has paid her only $10,000 of the $160,000 Armenti promised before he was fired in May. She said she incurred the debt buying supplies to complete the 9-foot windows for the school's administration building.
Kindl told the Tribune-Review last week Armenti “acted wholly without authority and without funding,” in regard to the windows, but said officials would reach out to Parkinson in an attempt to resolve the matter.
Parkinson said a university official left a message for her Thursday, but she had not spoken with them as of Friday.
In an interview Friday with his attorney, former Washington County District Attorney Steve Toprani, at his side, Armenti said he was within his rights to commission the work, pointing to state Act 188, a law governing how the 14 commonwealth-run universities function.
In his letter, Armenti cites a section of the act requiring system presidents to “maintain a campus of natural and architectural beauty featuring state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.”
“And that was also exactly what I was doing when I issued my latest commission to Professor Parkinson,” Armenti said.
Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the State System of Higher Education, which enforces Act 188, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Robert Irey, chairman of the university's Council of Trustees, said he became aware of the broken deal when Parkinson wrote a letter to the council requesting payment last year .
“It appears to me that he (Armenti) had the authority and the right to do what he did,” Irey said. “The president has a significant amount of authority.”
Irey said the council does not have the power to authorize any payment to Parkinson.
Armenti said his intent was to “use funds from the quasi-endowment fund for that purpose.” The money was to be drawn from a private account at his discretion, Armenti said.
A single $10,000 payment that Parkinson received was drawn from a Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania account, according to a Feb. 25, 2010 check stub with the notation “costs for materials” that Parkinson produced during a recent interview. The foundation functions independently of the university. Its mission is to solicit money for eight major areas, including scholarships.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Host of Steelers veterans look toward career survival mode
- Steelers film session: Polamalu not at fault on long run
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- Monroeville police officer kills Freeport man in shootout
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Early-morning snowstorm hampers Western Pa. commuters
- 2-vehicle crash kills Ruffsdale man
- Penguins’ Neal suspended five games for Marchand hit
- Jeannette City Council approves draft budget
- Consol buys acquires drilling rights from Dominion