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Suffolk board to hear McKenna report

Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna.
Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna.(Globe staff)

Suffolk University trustees are set to meet Thursday in an emergency meeting to discuss the results of an investigator’s probe into allegations of lavish spending and abusive behavior toward staff by university President Margaret McKenna, according to two people with direct knowledge of the board’s plan.

Trustees will also discuss the upcoming search for a new president to replace McKenna, who agreed to step down by the fall of 2017 after a scuffle with the board earlier this year, the people said.

In April, trustees hired attorney Dan Goldberg to investigate the allegations against McKenna, put forth in a letter from public relation’s executive George Regan, whose company formerly represented the downtown university.

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McKenna, who took over as president a year ago, fired Regan Communications in February. Shortly thereafter, Regan threatened to sue the college, alleging wrongful termination. He also accused McKenna of using Suffolk funds to engage in “extreme spending” and personal travel.

Goldberg’s investigation, which included interviews with trustees and a review of e-mails and documents belonging to McKenna and others, found several results trustees are scheduled to discuss. Goldberg is said to have completed his report on the matter in the past few weeks and so far has shown it to only a small group of trustees.

McKenna agreed to step down after a dispute earlier this year with some board members, including former chairman Andrew Meyer. Meyer and several other trustees attempted to remove McKenna and appoint former attorney general Martha Coakley as president, but the attempt backfired and many students, faculty, and alumni rallied behind McKenna.

Meyer and other trustees also alleged that McKenna made unauthorized expenditures and said she had an “abrasive” manner.

In agreeing to leave, McKenna exacted a series of concessions from the board, including a promise that Meyer would leave the board after his term ended in May.

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The board is now led by new trustee Robert Lamb and has appointed several new trustees to fill vacancies.

Lamb declined to comment Wednesday on the meeting. A spokesman for the university also declined to comment.


Laura Krantz can be reached at laura.krantz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.