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MOHELA Under Pressure

February 14, 2006
By: Dan Frumson
State Capital Bureau

A representative from the attourney general's office says the MOHELA board was pressured into voting to sell part of its assets. MOHELA is the state's student loan underwriting agency. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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The testimony came during a Xenate committee hearing on the governor's plan to spend proceeds from the sale of MOHELA assets on building projects at 4-year universities.

Jeff Schaeperkoetter, an assistant attorney general told the committee that the MOHELA board was pressured into voting for the partial sale of the organization's assets.

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"The goose, that is in the process of laying a continuous stream of golden eegs, had a gun to its head. And the response of MOHELA to save itself. Their response was developed in less than a 24 hour period as a matter of fact; advised the governor's office that they had a plan that would suplant his." MOHELA's excetutive director declined to comment on the assertion that MOHELA was pressured into the deal.

From the State Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.

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A senate committee took testimony on the governor's plan to sell some assets of the state's student loan program to fund university building projects. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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Representatives from 10 universities told the senate panel how their institutions would benefit from the proposal.

Elson Floyd is President of the University of Missouri system.

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"There was a time when our education institutions could count on a significant capital improvement appropriation every couple of years. But as you know a capital bill for higher education has not occurred since 2001. But the needs are still there. The Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative would provide a onetime infusion of funds to help catch up on our highest capital priority needs.

But two representatives from the attorney general's office raised concerns about the sale of MOHELA's assets.

They also said the MOHELA board may have violated the state's open meetings law during transactions leading up to its vote to sell some of its assets.

From the State Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.