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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Definitive Proof of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty by the Board of Governors?

If you wander over the law school's website, you can find an elaborate presentation of the Vineyards campus, with colorful photos and intricate descriptions. (And check out the glossy pamphlet!) From the level of work that was put into the website and pamphlet, it appears that the plans to move to Vineyards were in the works well before the April 17 announcement (and probably well before the Board of Governors met and voted on the move to Vineyards ... actually, from the way the administration is refusing to give any details about what happened with the Board of Governors, I suspect that there was no Board of Governors meeting or vote in the first place.)

As far as I can see, all reference to a planned move to Ave Maria Town has been purged from the school's website. On the main Florida relocation page, there is no mention of the "synergy" and sharing of facilities which would result from having the law school next to Ave Maria University. Always nice to see another instance of rewriting history (which Monaghan and Dobranski have done before).

Now, we know that the official reasons given by the Board of Governors for the move to Vineyards are the "declining national economy" and "high construction costs." We also know that the AMSL Florida move is being financed by the Ave Maria Foundation, which Board of Governor member Tom Monaghan controls. Finally, we know that the Ave Maria Foundation finances AMU, and that this financial support is substantial and seems to be increasing (based on the recent news of the increasing AMU scholarships.)

Isn't this the most definitive, unquestionable, and clear-cut example of a breach of fiduciary duty by Monaghan we've seen so far? Monaghan has a duty to act for AMSL's best interests. It is undisputed that the Vineyards move is less desirable than a move to Ave Maria Town, but that the Vineyards move is necessary because the Ave Maria Foundation (controlled by Monaghan) doesn't have sufficient money for AMSL to move directly to Ave Maria Town. However, at the same time, the Ave Maria Foundation is giving a substantial (and increasing) amount money to AMU. In short, Monaghan, through the Ave Maria Foundation, has chosen to give money to AMU instead of AMSL, to the detriment of AMSL. Monaghan has chosen the best interests of AMU over those of AMSL, and in so doing, has breached his fiduciary duty to AMSL. By going along with this Vineyards decision, the rest of the Board of Governors have breached their fiduciary duties also. Shameful.

If any Monaghan supporter sees a flaw in my argument, I welcome your challenge.