November 26, 2002
.2002 The Michigan Daily
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Vol. CXIII, No. 57
One-hundred-twelve years of editoriallfreedom
the day, with a
chance of rain
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Thousands laundered by 'U'
Barbara O'Donnell arraigned
yesterday for charges of
embezzlement and enterprising
By Jeremy Berkowitz
Daily Staff Reporter
Former Health Services Research Initia-
tive employee Barbara O'Donnell was
arraigned yesterday in Washtenaw County
Circuit Court following a five-month inves-
tigation that alleges showed she embezzled
more than $425,000 from HSRI.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said
O'Donnell was arrested on four counts of embez-
zlement over $20,000, one count of conducting a
criminal enterprise and one count of money laun-
dering. O'Donnell, a University employee since
December 1990, was an administrative worker in
the HSRI from 1998 to 2002. In-her last two
years, she was responsible for overseeing many
financial matters in HSRI, like budget prepara-
tion and approval of expenditures.
But when HSRI shut down because of unrelat-
ed financial problems, other administrative work-
ers found irregularities committed by O'Donnell
in the financial records.
When the investigation was turned over to the
Department of Public Safety, it was discovered
that O'Donnell had paid herself for hours she
never worked. She had also charged items to her
University charge card, known as a P-Card, with-
out ever reimbursing the University.
In addition, she made her husband, Francis
O'Donnell, a phantom employee on the payroll.
"He was actually never working in that depart-
ment," Peterson said, adding that O'Donnell
forged the signature of her supervisor, Prof. John
Wheeler, in order to process some financial doc-
uments. Peterson said University employees who
wish to charge work items to the University do so
on their P-cards, adding that if personal items
were to get mixed up with business items,
employees must reimburse the University.
"She bought some items that were clearly not
related to her job and she did not reimburse the
University," Peterson said, adding that all Univer-
sity employees must reconcile their P-Card
accounts every 30 days.
Joseph Burke, chief assistant prosecutor
for Washtenaw County, said O'Donnell was
arraigned on one count of embezzlement,
although he said she had been charged with
more felonies. Burke also said O'Donnell's
preliminary examination is scheduled for
Dec. 18, in front of a judge yet to be named.
He added that her bond was set yesterday in
the amount of $25,000. He was unsure if
See FRAUD, Page 3
Dept. cuts waitlists
By Andrew Kaplan
Daily Staff Reporter ,
To meet the high demand for
lower-level language courses, the
Department of Romance Languages
has overhauled its registration
process for the next term by elimi-
nating waitlists and opening up
By opening new sections of
lower-level classes during the regis-
tration period, the initiative will
make popular courses like Spanish
101 more accessible to students
with late registration dates.
If students do not receive admis-
sion to the upper level sections they
want to attend, they will be able to
sit in on the first day of class and
request that the professor give them
LSA freshman Ali Acosta, who is
currently taking three language
courses, applauded the department's
"Because I am a freshman and
obviously other people have priority
over me, I think it's important that I
can get in, especially because I have
such an interest in language."
Acosta said she believes the
department's new policy will
prompt eager students to go after
the courses they want.
"Now that people have to be
watching, they are going to be more
involved in the class and really
want to be there, so that will create
a better atmosphere for the class."
The changes to the registration
See LANGUAGE, Page 2
Pedestrians pass Urban Outfitters on South State Street yesterday afternoon, only days before one of the largest shopping days of
the year on Friday, a day deemed "Buy Nothing Day' by Adbusters Media Foundation to discourage consumers from shopping.
wallets after holiday
Richner emerges as winnerin race
for seat on University Board of Regents
By Jordan Schrader
Daily Staff Reporter
When the Nov. 5 election results received their final
stamp of approval yesterday, state Sen. Gary Peters
picked up the telephone. for the last time in his cam-
paign for attorney general.
Republican Mike Cox officially *
became attorney general-elect yesterday
after the Board of State Canvassers certi-
fied the election results. His Democratic
opponent called him to concede and said
he would not contest the election.
In one of the closest statewide races MICHIGAN
Michigan has seen in 50 years, 5,200 votes ELECTIONS
separated the candidates in the end.
While waiting for counties to check 200
their tallies throughout this month,
Peters left the door open for a
recount. But after reviewing the results last weekend,
he decided to accept defeat, he said yesterday in a writ-
"Although I believe a recount would uncover additional
anomalies and errors and further narrow the gap in this
extremely tight race, I am not convinced a recount would
alter the ultimate result," he said. "Rather than subject the
voters of Michigan to a protracted electoral and legal bat-
tle, I believe it is time to move forward."
See ELECTIONS, Page 3
By Adhiral Dutt
Daily Staff Reporter
Traditionally the day after
Thanksgiving is the biggest shop-
ping day of the year. But one group
plans to mark the beginning of the
holiday season in an untraditional
way - with a protest to encourage
customers to "buy nothing."
Buy Nothing Day, a protest initi-
ated by Adbusters Media Founda-
tion, aims to target the frenzied
Christmas shopping season, over-
consumption, increased expenditure
Buy Nothing Day falls on Nov. 29
this year, and as its name implies, the
day calls for people to buy nothing
and to instead to think about what
they need. Many participants have
conducted teach-ins, staged concerts
or have devoted time to friends and
family rather than to shop.
"I support the idea behind the day
because I believe there is too much
materialism in America and the day
could make people aware of this,"
LSA sophomore Nik Frank-Lehrer
said. "The concept is good and says
something positive about what peo-
ple are trying to do. The day is more
of a symbolic observance that shows
that people are concerned with mate-
rial consumption, but they need to
Buy Nothing Day is in its 11th year
and is expected to draw nearly 1 mil-
lion participants this year.
"I may not spend money that
day but it depends on whether I
really need something," LSA fresh-
man Tiffani Commander said. "It
would only affect businesses if a
lot of people buy nothing but I
think that is impossible. It's only
one day so it can't have too much
of an impact. Anyway, people
spending money keeps the econo-
But the campaign won't keep some
students away from stores.
"I don't feel strongly against peo-
ple spending money and I think peo-
ple will continue to spend money that
day," LSA sophomore Mohit Gupta
said. "I would spend money because,
after all, there are sales, right? People
could spend less but I don't see how
See BUY NOTHING, Page 2
Former University research scientist Ernest Fontheim
recounts his memories of Kristailnacht last night at the 4th
Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration sponsored by Hillel.
By Kar DeBoer
Daily Staff Reporter
Employees unite to
By Andrew Kaplan
Daily Staff Reporter
Local parking employees say that they are
not receiving fair wages or raises based on
their performance and are unionizing in an
effort to achieve honest labor practices.
"Some who were getting written up for
incorrigibility got high wages, while others
who were doing a good job did not," said Erin
Sower, an attendant for Republic Parking
Systems, the firm that maintains all of Ann
Arbor's parking garages.
"Some gave very high scores to their
employees, but some gave low scores because
they were biased."
Employees of Republic Parking recently<
voted to unionize with the Teamsters Local
I A IflI~
said that Republic employees are receiving
less than the living wage of $10.20 an hour or
$8.70 an hour with health benefits as set by
"The only workers I've heard of who have got-
ten the (living wage) are the meter collectors," St.
Employees attribute the unfair wages to
unfair evaluation practices by managers.
Sower also said one manager at Republic
denied his employees due pay for overtime,
claiming that if employees worked overtime,
often times the manager "would physically
cross out the time (on their cards) because he
believed they should have punched out at an
earlier time. Employees weren't getting paid
for their hours."
Republic management refused to comment on
"I was practically hypnotized by the view of this (burn-
ing) synagogue ... nothing had prepared me for this.
There was no wind. The column of smoke was like a col-
umn reaching to the heavens," former University research
scientist Ernest Fontheim said while speaking yesterday at
the 4th Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration.
The commemoration was part of Hillel's annual Conference
on the Holocaust.
In his presentation, Fontheim revisited his memories of
Kristallnacht, or "Night of the Broken Glass." That night,
Fontheim witnessed the burning of a synagogue near his home
in Berlin. The synagogue was one of hundreds burned.
Remembering the Holocaust is important, Fontheim said,
because the actions taken by the German government were hor-
rible. The act of remembering could prevent future occurrences
of a similar nature, but from recent events like Sept. 11,
Fontheim said he has lost faith in that idea.
"I no longer believe that. There have been massacres in
Africa and Kosovo and other places. Every human life
killed because of their belonging to a certain ethnic group
A train from tChicano to Detroit rumbles *hrouath the darkness