Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Delaware State University dean had criminal record

According to published reports Tuesday, a Delaware State University dean who resigned last week has a felony criminal record and convictions for forgery, embezzlement, and passport fraud.

The News Journal reported that the criminal background of Dr. Frederick “Freddie” Asinor — DSU’s former dean of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy — included forgery and embezzlement crimes committed while working at Clemson University.

As was the case last week after the Delaware State News reported Dr. Asinor had resigned, the school said Tuesday that president Dr. Harry L. Williams and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alton Thompson would not comment on the matter.

Court records showed that Freddie Asinor pleaded guilty to breach of trust, forgery, and embezzlement of public funds on March 21, 1991 in Pickens County (S.C.) 13th Judicial Circuit. The arrest date was listed in papers as July 12, 1990.

On Tuesday morning, a DSU spokesman said that Dr. Asinor’s resume presented to the school mentioned nothing about Clemson University.

Clemson University said Freddie Asinor was hired at the South Carolina college on June 1, 1989 and retired on July 20, 1990, according to state system records. The position listed for him at the time of retirement was “Director of Academic Special Projects,” school spokeswoman Robin Denny said.

Citing the matter as a personnel issue, Carlos Holmes said DSU would not comment on the circumstances of Dr. Asinor’s resignation, which came just less than a year into his tenure.

Attempts to reach Dr. Asinor for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful; similar tries last week in the immediate aftermath of his July 10 resignation were also made.

Mr. Holmes said DSU conducts background checks on potential employee’s criminal, work and education histories. The criminal checks are contracted to an outside business, while education and work history checks are conducted by search committees and the Provost’s office.

“We wouldn’t knowingly hire a felon,” Mr. Holmes said.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jack A. Markell offered a statement when asked for a response regarding the news of Dr. Asinor’s departure. The governor appoints part of the DSU Board of Trustees for fixed terms, which assures the independence of the board, but has no involvement in personnel issues at the university, Catherine L. Rossi said.

“The governor has no direct involvement in personnel issues at the university but hopes that, if mistakes have been made, the organization and its leaders learn from them and work to prevent them in the future,” Ms. Rossi said.

In 2008, Freddie Adjei Asinor was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court for making false statements on a United States Passport application. The plea was entered on Sept. 28, 2007, court records said.

In a press release issued in 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire said Dr. Asinor was a citizen of Ghana when he falsely stated his date and place of birth on a passport application in February 2004; he also fraudulently claimed to be a United States citizen, authorities said.

The case was prosecuted as part of Operation Checkmate, which the U.S. AG’s Office said in a press release was designed to eliminate passport fraud, and “thereby reduce identity theft while securing the nation’s borders.”

Recent work history

Dr. Asinor began overseeing DSU’s nearly 1,300-student, 46-faculty and staff academic department on Aug. 13, 2012.

The college Dr. Asinor oversaw includes DSU’s Education, Nursing, Public and Allied Health and Social Work departments. The school said earlier that interim leadership would be appointed and the search for a full-time replacement was forthcoming.

Dr. Asinor came to DSU after serving as a part-time executive director of the Ocular Melanoma Foundation in Washington D.C., the school said in a press release announcing his arrival. His LinkedIn account indicated the stint ran from November 2011 to February 2012.

Prior to that he was executive vice president of the One World Foundation in Burtonsville, Md., and president and chief academic officer of MASA Healthcare in Owings Mills, Md., DSU’s release said.

On a LinkedIn account describing his role as an administrator, Dr. Asinor included:

“As the chief academic officer of the College, I play a critical role in the University’s strategic planning for the College of Education, Health and Public Service.

“I spearhead the transformative nature of this critical unit, build upon the University’s strong culture of interdisciplinary research and enhance the commitment to academic excellence.

“My ability to foster and communicate a clear vision and carry out the mission of the College in cooperation with the mission of the College in cooperation with members of the faculty is my highest priority.

“As the Dean … I also develop a focused and innovative academic plan for the College consistent with the University’s strategic vision and function in a team environment to effectively communicate with all constituencies of the University.”

Delaware State University officials say the school is reviewing its hiring practices and auditing financial records from the tenure of a former dean who has embezzlement and forgery convictions.

DSU made the announcement Thursday after it was revealed that Freddie Asinor, who resigned last week as dean of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy, had a previously undetected criminal record.

Court records show that Asinor pleaded guilty to forgery and embezzlement, stemming from crimes committed while he worked at Clemson University. In a separate case, Asinor pleaded guilty to making false statements on a passport application. Prosecutors said the Ghana native falsely claimed he was born in Connecticut to get a U.S. passport.

The university also announced that Marsha Horton will serve as interim dean.

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