Clarion-Ledger, May 5, 1875

Clarion-Ledger, May 5, 1875

Is the Late Treasurer of Alcorn University a Defaulter?

EDITORS CLARION: “Quidnunc” in his communication of last week raises the question, why “Colonel” Sam Ireland does not turn over that $35,000 to the lawful Treasurer of Alcorn University? He shows very clearly that the injunction cannot and does not apply to the office of Treasurer, and that Sam. Ireland is liable to prosecution for not complying with the law and turning over that money. If then the injunction does not affect the office of Treasurer, how does Ireland avoid complying with the following sections of the new law:

SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That the office of Treasurer of said University be abolished, and hereafter the State Treasurer shall be ex officio Treasurer of said Institution, and as such shall have the custody of all funds. etc.

SEC. 4. It shall be the duty of the present Treasurer of said University, and he is hereby required to forthwith pay into the State Treasury all unexpended balances of appropriations heretofore made, remaining in his hands, etc.

This Act was approved and went into effect March 3, 1875. Now for nearly two months this worthy ex-Treasurer has held in his unlawful possession and defrauded the State of $35,000, for which he is liable to indictment and imprisonment. Mr. Ireland’s conduct in this injunction looks very queer, even to those who do not know what his real reason is for not settling. The old Trustee Board did not get out that injunction officially, for half of them condemn the proceeding unqualifiedly. Merriman Howard, Rev. Mr. Boulden, Mr. Truehart and Judge Brown, have all publicly condemned the injunction and Dr. Stites did not sanction it. Here then is a portion of the old Board, without a quorum, asking for an injunction in the name of the whole Board when half of the names to that injunction were forged. Everybody that knows anything about the case, knows that Ireland is at the bottom of the injunction, and it was to keep him from having to give an account of that money – which he has not got. Are the few members of the old Board, who sustain the injunction, aware that they are allowing themselves to be made the tools of one individual simply to screen him from the law? It is to be hoped that they themselves are not aware that there is something loose about the finances, or that they are screening a defaulter. But whether they are aware of it or not, they cannot escape public censure for allowing the State’s money to be dealt with in this manner, and for attempting to defeat the express will of the people as declared by the Legislature. When the two Trustee Boards met here last week to affect a compromise and avoid litigation, why did Ireland hurry up to Jackson to defeat that arrangement? He surrendered the Superintendent’s books to the old Board, but why did he refuse to surrender the Treasurer’s books? Members of the Legislative Investigating Committee stated during the session that he could not produce the money. I have heard members of the new Board state the same thing, and they speak “by the card.” It is not to be supposed that a master of the fine arts like Ireland will fail to manufacture and present to the old Board vouchers and receipts for moneys, supposed to have been expended, sufficient to cover his deficiencies and clear him from the charge of embezzlement. But if the new Board is allowed to settle with Samuel, he will undoubtedly be prosecuted. Ireland evidently will fight the new Board in the courts until he can make his settlement with a portion of the old Board, and it will be too late in the day for them to find fault with his accounts, when they themselves have just been dismissed for their incompetency. I should like to ask, Mr. Editor, whose duty or privilege it may be to bring action against Ireland for the recovery of the money to the State? Is it the duty of the State Treasurer now while the Board is enjoined?

Very Respectfully,
HONESTY.

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