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Whose Benefit?

Scandal Casts Shadow Over Evening With Champions

By Joe Mathews

A scandal over the handling of the finances of Evening With Champions, the student-run Eliot House ice skating charity, rocked the organization this summer and has made two of its former organizers the subject of a criminal inquiry.

Those organizers of the fall 1992 Evening With Champions show had promised the Jimmy Fund, a local cancer research charity, a donation of more than $100,000.

To make the pledge official, they'd held a ceremony at Eliot House where a commemorative check for more than $100,000 was presented to Jimmy Fund executive director Mike Andrews. No real money changed hands in May, but the organizers of the fall 1993 show, Jonathan S. Kolodner '94 and Kelly L. Morrison '94, were expected to deliver about $160,000 in real funds to the cancer charity when they took over from the fall 1992 organizers this summer.

But shortly after they took over responsibility for Evening With Champions bank accounts this summer, Kolodner and Morrison came to a disturbing conclusion.

The money--all $160,000--was gone.

When a student approached the administration alleging that David G. Sword '93, the treasurer of the ice skating show for the past two years, had admitted to taking some of the money, the Middlesex district attorney's office was contacted, according to a highly placed source and The Boston Globe. Harvard's attorneys were notified, and the department of internal audit identified the $160,000 as officially missing.

The district attorney is now conducting an investigation focusing on Sword and one of the 1992 co-chairs, Charles K. Lee '93. The probe, according to district attorney spokesperson Jill Reilly, is being treated as "a white collar crime case--the embezzlement or stealing of funds."

The investigation is expected to continue for a few months, even as Evening With Champions plans reforms of its organization and accounting practices. In addition, other student groups may choose--or be prompted by Harvard officials--to take a hard look at their own financial procedures in the wake of the scandal.

Although they won't talk publicly about the scandal, the two organizers' biggest fear is that news of the missing money--reported prominently in the New England media--could have a chilling effect on attendance and public support for this fall's show.

"This is a tragic and disheartening situation for us and for the other Eliot House volunteers, the Jimmy Fund and the many New England families who support this wonderfulevent each year," said Kolodner and Morrison, whoare cooperating with the district attorney'sinvestigation. "It is our hope that thistime-honored event will go forward as planned."

In recent weeks, however, Kolodner and Morrisonhave rallied support for the fall show. Olympicsilver medalist Paul Wylie '91, a former EliotHouse student, has agreed to perform. He will bejoined by Nancy Kerrigan, the 1993 American champ,and a number of prominent skaters.

CVS pharmacy, the chief corporate supporter ofthe show, has also renewed its support. And in aneffort to head off any future scandal, EveningWith Champions has established an OversightCommittee with representatives from Evening WithChampions, the Jimmy Fund and the Universityadministration.

Officials at the district attorney's office sayinvestigators are following a "paper trail," butcomments made by Lee during the summer cast doubton how successful such a chase will be.

In an interview with The Crimson, Lee said manyof the accounting books for Evening With Championshave been thrown away or are likely lost andunrecoverable. He also said Sword kept a milkcarton full of receipts that he believes are nowmissing.

"A lot of it was thrown out by me," Lee said."I don't think there's a necessity to keep it."

Lee also complained that he had not beennotified of any problems with the books beforeCollege officials and the district attorney werecontacted. Lee denied that any money had beenstolen. He said there was no gift to the JimmyFund this year because he used proceeds to pay offlongstanding debts and mounting expenses of theEvening With Champions.

The investigation is unlikely to be completedby the time of the Evening With Champions showthis fall. Already, however, the investigation hastaken a personal toll on Sword.

Sword resigned this summer from Serve Canada, aprivate youth service he had helped found inToronto, after news of the district attorney'sinvestigation broke. Hugh Silk '91, anotherfounder of the youth service, said staff membersdiscussed the matter with Sword, and the recentgraduate offered to resign.

In addition, a $1,000 grant from RadcliffeCollege to Sword to help fund Serve Canada hasbeen cut off, a Radcliffe official confirmed thisweek.

Sword's father, Rod Sword, told The Crimson hehad hired a Boston law firm to represent his son.Sword himself has not returned phone calls. Butafter resigning from Serve Canada, he told theToronto Star, "There's so many emotions rightnow--pride, excitement about a great pro-gram...anddeep frustration, deep disappointment."

Word that Lee and Sword were at the center ofthe investigation into Evening With Championsshocked friends. Both graduates were popular inEliot House and active in the College community.

Lee, known by the nickname "Chaz," comes fromTenafly, New Jersey, an upper-middle class suburbof New York City. He kept a high profile in EliotHouse. Financed by money he inherited from hisgrandfather, according to a close friend, Lee testdrove expensive sports cars, smoked Cuban cigarsand owned an extremely expensive, and loud, stereosystem.

He also worked extremely hard in Evening WithChampions, first as a committee chair and then asco-chair with Rachel Schultz '93 in his senioryear. Widely regarded as hard-working and caring,Lee spent some of his own money to put on the showand even drove a skater participating in the eventback to her home in Montreal after a death in theskater's family.

Sword was born in the Canadian province ofSaskatchewan, but his family has traveledfrequently, friends say. His father, Rod, is acolonel in the Canadian Air Force and serves asliason to the United States Air Force Command,according to a family friend.

In addition to the two years he spent astreasurer of Evening With Champions, Swordparticipated in the Institute of Politics andPhillips Brooks House, served as business managerfor the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and was aproducer for Citystep, a student-run dance programfor underprivileged children.

Sword spent much of his time at the Fox, one ofthe nine all-male final clubs where many of hisroommates were also members, according to afriend.

During his senior year, however, Sword had lesstime to socialize. Instead, he spent long hoursraising private money to support Serve Canada.

The program begins this month, with some twodozen people working on public service projects,according to Serve Canada co-founder Hugh Silk'91.

In Evening With Champions, Sword was the mainkeeper of books for the show, according to EveningWith Champions officials. Committees would bringmoney they made to the treasurer, who would takethe money and record it in a general ledger. Mostcommittees kept receipts, but some didn't.

A former Evening With Champions official,speaking on condition of anonymity, told TheCrimson last month that there are two ways moneycould be stolen from the show. A committee chairmight not give all proceeds over to the treasurer.Or the treasurer might record less in the generalledger than a committee had brought in.

"Committees didn't keep their own money--therewere no separate accounts," says the official."They handed over proceeds to the treasurer, whokept a general record.

In recent weeks, however, Kolodner and Morrisonhave rallied support for the fall show. Olympicsilver medalist Paul Wylie '91, a former EliotHouse student, has agreed to perform. He will bejoined by Nancy Kerrigan, the 1993 American champ,and a number of prominent skaters.

CVS pharmacy, the chief corporate supporter ofthe show, has also renewed its support. And in aneffort to head off any future scandal, EveningWith Champions has established an OversightCommittee with representatives from Evening WithChampions, the Jimmy Fund and the Universityadministration.

Officials at the district attorney's office sayinvestigators are following a "paper trail," butcomments made by Lee during the summer cast doubton how successful such a chase will be.

In an interview with The Crimson, Lee said manyof the accounting books for Evening With Championshave been thrown away or are likely lost andunrecoverable. He also said Sword kept a milkcarton full of receipts that he believes are nowmissing.

"A lot of it was thrown out by me," Lee said."I don't think there's a necessity to keep it."

Lee also complained that he had not beennotified of any problems with the books beforeCollege officials and the district attorney werecontacted. Lee denied that any money had beenstolen. He said there was no gift to the JimmyFund this year because he used proceeds to pay offlongstanding debts and mounting expenses of theEvening With Champions.

The investigation is unlikely to be completedby the time of the Evening With Champions showthis fall. Already, however, the investigation hastaken a personal toll on Sword.

Sword resigned this summer from Serve Canada, aprivate youth service he had helped found inToronto, after news of the district attorney'sinvestigation broke. Hugh Silk '91, anotherfounder of the youth service, said staff membersdiscussed the matter with Sword, and the recentgraduate offered to resign.

In addition, a $1,000 grant from RadcliffeCollege to Sword to help fund Serve Canada hasbeen cut off, a Radcliffe official confirmed thisweek.

Sword's father, Rod Sword, told The Crimson hehad hired a Boston law firm to represent his son.Sword himself has not returned phone calls. Butafter resigning from Serve Canada, he told theToronto Star, "There's so many emotions rightnow--pride, excitement about a great pro-gram...anddeep frustration, deep disappointment."

Word that Lee and Sword were at the center ofthe investigation into Evening With Championsshocked friends. Both graduates were popular inEliot House and active in the College community.

Lee, known by the nickname "Chaz," comes fromTenafly, New Jersey, an upper-middle class suburbof New York City. He kept a high profile in EliotHouse. Financed by money he inherited from hisgrandfather, according to a close friend, Lee testdrove expensive sports cars, smoked Cuban cigarsand owned an extremely expensive, and loud, stereosystem.

He also worked extremely hard in Evening WithChampions, first as a committee chair and then asco-chair with Rachel Schultz '93 in his senioryear. Widely regarded as hard-working and caring,Lee spent some of his own money to put on the showand even drove a skater participating in the eventback to her home in Montreal after a death in theskater's family.

Sword was born in the Canadian province ofSaskatchewan, but his family has traveledfrequently, friends say. His father, Rod, is acolonel in the Canadian Air Force and serves asliason to the United States Air Force Command,according to a family friend.

In addition to the two years he spent astreasurer of Evening With Champions, Swordparticipated in the Institute of Politics andPhillips Brooks House, served as business managerfor the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and was aproducer for Citystep, a student-run dance programfor underprivileged children.

Sword spent much of his time at the Fox, one ofthe nine all-male final clubs where many of hisroommates were also members, according to afriend.

During his senior year, however, Sword had lesstime to socialize. Instead, he spent long hoursraising private money to support Serve Canada.

The program begins this month, with some twodozen people working on public service projects,according to Serve Canada co-founder Hugh Silk'91.

In Evening With Champions, Sword was the mainkeeper of books for the show, according to EveningWith Champions officials. Committees would bringmoney they made to the treasurer, who would takethe money and record it in a general ledger. Mostcommittees kept receipts, but some didn't.

A former Evening With Champions official,speaking on condition of anonymity, told TheCrimson last month that there are two ways moneycould be stolen from the show. A committee chairmight not give all proceeds over to the treasurer.Or the treasurer might record less in the generalledger than a committee had brought in.

"Committees didn't keep their own money--therewere no separate accounts," says the official."They handed over proceeds to the treasurer, whokept a general record.

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