Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Women*s Council calls for investigation on ex-Trustee Brian Mosallam

April 16, 2021
<p>Trustee Brian Mosallam listens at the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 13, 2019.</p>

Trustee Brian Mosallam listens at the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 13, 2019.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The Michigan State Women*s Council has called for an investigation on former Trustee Brian Mosallam for accepting campaign funds associated with ex-College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel, who supervised ex-MSU doctor and convicted child molester Larry Nassar.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Database found that his campaign received contributions from Clark Hill Law Firm and Strampel's attorney Maria Dwyer. Strampel was sentenced to prison in August 2019 and released in March 2020.

At this time, the board is unsure what their rule will be as Mosallam is no longer a trustee, board chairperson Dianne Byrum said during a press conference. University spokesperson Emily Guerrant said the university is currently looking into several angles.

According to the board's Conflict of Interest policy, the policy still applies to trustee emeriti one year after their term in office. Mosallam lost his November 2020 reelection and attended his last board meeting in December 2020.

Women*s Council filed a report to the board's Office of Risk, Audit, and Compliance for Mosallam's apparent violations of the board’s Conflict of Interest policy between 2017 and 2018.

"We wanted to do more research as well as bring this to light," Women*s Council President Danielle James said. "The Board of Trustees has already shown us, time and time again, that they are not to be trusted with telling us the truth, being transparent with things that are going on and that they need to be held accountable."

The evidence from the database shows that Clark Hill Law Firm has received over $775,000 from MSU for legal fees since March 2017 for criminally defending MSU employees related to the Nassar case, including Strampel.

Clark Hill Law Firm Political Action Committee contributed to Mosallam's PAC in May 2017 and 2018 when the firm was defending Strampel. Dwyer also contributed a total of $4,000 to Mosallam's PAC in May 2019, her husband gave $1,600 to his PAC in 2019.

The database shows that Mosallam returned $2000 of these contributions.

"The bottom line is that no MSU trustees should ever be allowed to assess thousands of dollars in tax contributions from a law firm, when that law firm is being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by MSU, because that law firm is defending someone like Strampel, who personally chose to neglect supervisory duties of Nassar," James said.

An anonymous source made the Women*s Council aware of this apparent violation, asking them to bring it to light.

James said this allowed them to make the connection as to why Mosallam never advocated for Strampel's removal or advocated for the survivors in a way that we would actually see change happen.

"He was very superficial and performative with his advocation for survivors and so seeing this just really not reminded, but really reinforced the idea to us that he's not actually doing any of this, any of what he's saying," James said. "He's not actually advocating survivors. He's advocating for himself and doing what benefits him."

A number of survivors supported Mosallam's 2020 reelection campaign. He was also the first trustee to call for MSU Interim President John Engler's termination, who was highly criticized for comments he made about survivors of Nassar.

"It's just very disgusting and disappointing to see that, yet again, the Board of Trustees continues to put themselves over the justice for survivors, for the safety of their students and for the transparency that all of the MSU community has been basically begging from them to give us, and, time and time again, they sugarcoat us with words of promise for advocacy and change and moving toward a better community and better advocacy, but they let us down again," James said.

Mosallam was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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