DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
One would think after all the national publicity the College of DuPage has had over the last year people would think twice before doing things that create an appearance of impropriety, let alone directly point to it.
Once again a concern citizen has connected some dots and provided us with the information that has already garnered the attention of COD Chairman Hamilton and Vice Chairman Mazzochi who have taken measures to address this matter head on.
A flyer promoting estate planning seminars for COD has been provided to us and by all indications it was made by COD on behalf of the COD Foundation.
Don't get me wrong, I think estate planning is one of the most important things for people to do, and do early, but looking at the information on this flyer raises more conflict of interest concerns for the College of DuPage.
Katie Clancy, an estate planning attorney with Clancy & Associates, along with a man by the name of Ed Scheer, a Financial Advisor at Waddell & Reed are providing estate planning seminars at COD. (COD Link here) (Clancy & Associates)
Katie Clancy just happens to be a member of, drum roll please, the COD Foundation (Foundation Link to Board members) and Chairs the "Planned Giving Advisory Committee". (LinkedIn confirmation)
Ed Scheer just happens to be Katie Clancy's husband, which creates even more concerning optics for COD. (Ed Scheer LinkedIn)
We have confirmed that neither her company nor her husband's have any agreement or contract with COD to perform these seminars on campus. This was all done via the COD Foundation.
The seminars are free, however, they do require registration, which creates a database of attendees. Is that database shared with the two instructors? If so, is this not a slick method of creating a potential client list for their private businesses? Do they provide materials and their business card to the attendees in hopes of growing their private business while promoting the COD Foundation?
How were these two people selected to provide these estate planning seminars? We do recognize that it is being hosted by the Foundation so they can select anyone they want. The Foundation could have these seminars and focus the importance of giving to the Foundation as part of the overall estate planning process, thus raising money for the foundation which is within the scope of the memo of understanding between COD and the Foundation.
Considering Ms. Clancy is a Foundation member, is she able to provide these seminars because of the relationship to that position? Is this a free opportunity to expand her client list in Estate Planning as well as that of her husband?
All that aside, the most disturbing part of this flyer is the disclaimer provided at the bottom by Mr. Scheer.
"Ed Scheer offers security’s through Waddell & Reed, Inc., Member of FINRA/SIPC, Waldell & Reed is not affiliated with any other individuals or entities mentioned here."
Who created this disclaimer?
Does the fact Ed Scheer works for Waldell & Reed and is married to Katie Clancy raise concerns with this disclaimer? Clearly, Mr. Scheer, of Waldell & Reed, is in fact affiliated with entities mentioned here, in fact, intimately affiliated!
However the way it was written appears to be intentionally misleading as reading it closely, it only references that "Waldell & Reed" are not affiliated with any individuals or entities mentioned. Had this been an honest attempt at full disclosure it should have disclosed that the two presenters are in fact married and one is a COD Foundation Board member.
Considering COD Trustee Dianne McGuire is the liaison to the COD Foundation, I wonder what her thoughts are on the appearance of a conflict of interest in this situation.
It is my understanding that today's seminar was cancelled once the College was made aware of the situation so apparently others also agree the optics on this does not help the College.
My compliments to Chair Hamilton and all others who took immediate action to address this concern.