Red River College president defends expenses
Stephanie Forsyth says controversial expenses were 'taken out of context'
The president of Red River College is defending a number of expenses she charged to her employer, including golf shoes, duffle bags and a driver’s license.
Stephanie Forsyth was under fire earlier this week, when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation revealed she expensed $205 golf shoes as well as a number of expenses for her BMW, including her driver's licence, car washes, winter tires and a GPS system.
Forsyth’s expenses were obtained by an access to information request made by the federation.
Students and federation officials expressed outrage at the expenses, demanding she pay any inappropriate expenses back.On Thursday, Forsyth released a statement saying she would reimburse the college for the golf shoes and license but said at least one of those was a legitimate expense.
"When I started this job I soon realized that golf is a part of doing business in Manitoba," Forsyth told CBC in a Friday interview.
"I went to a couple of games initially for fundraising activities in track shoes, and one course politely told me that track shoes were not permissible."
She said there is a valid explanation for each item the federation flagged in her 2011 expenses, including a $134 duffel bag from the Vancouver International Airport purchased in September 2011.
Forsyth said she was carrying school documents in her own luggage when it broke. She purchased the bag to replace it, and the bag is now the property of the school.
She said she has no plans to reimburse the college for that expense.
"It’s disappointing. Someone I guess in the organization felt that the expenses were irregular," said Forsyth.
"But things can look irregular when they are taken out of context."
The college’s board of directors is now reviewing all of Forsyth’s expenses over the last several years, which total over $78,000 from September 2010 to January 2013.
Forsyth said Thursday she plans to post her expenses on the college’s website from now on.