Carolina Journal News Reports
WELDON — Halifax Community College President Ted Gasper was fired Friday following allegations of impropriety including using college resources on political efforts, especially those of former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance of North Carolina.
Gasper had been placed on administrative leave since September while an investigative committee looked into the political allegations as well as other allegations that dealt with the way he ran the college. His personal secretary, Faye Pepper, was also placed on leave while the investigation was ongoing.
In all, there were more than 70 allegations levied against Gasper. He maintained his innocence during the investigation.
Joy Cooley has been serving as interim president at Halifax Community College while the investigative committee, which included members of the Board of Trustees and the State Board of Community Colleges, continued with the investigation.
North Carolina Community College System President Martin Lancaster made a brief comment about the investigation.
“We all recognize that this has been a difficult time for Halifax Community College,” Lancaster said. “The State Board of Community Colleges and the System Office will do everything possible to support the college as it transitions to new leadership.”
In October, an audit from the State Auditor’s Office gave more detail into some of the impropriety that occurred during Gasper’s administration.
The audit found more than $15,000 in questionable payments to Gasper for fringe benefits and travel. At the time, the audit recommended the Board of Trustees seek repayment of any payment made without documentation.
The audit also said that the Board of Trustees approved a new contract for Gasper in 2001, which extended his term from two years to four without knowing details of the contract. Those details included an annual one-year extension, a $375,000 contract buyout if Gasper is terminated without cause, and changes to his insurance and fringe benefits. The report says Gasper never produced the contract for board members to review.
Gasper also was accused of using Halifax Community College for political purposes to benefit Ballance. Gasper and others in 2003 were accused of attempting to funnel corporate contributions through Ballance’s Alice Eason Ballance Education and Justice Foundation.
Ballance was indicted and sentenced to four years in prison for illegal activities involving the foundation.
Shannon Blosser is associate editor of Carolina Journal.