Michael Hershock fresh from his $200,000 settlement with Pennsylvania’s Higher Education Assistance Agency says he disagrees with anyone that insists he lined his pockets extravagantly while serving as the foundation’s president and CEO.
Hershock was fired in 2009 after PHEAA’s board started sizing up his business expenses and found them to be lavish.
There was Hershock’s much talked about more than $1000 night stay in New York City, and then there was that chunky bill for hooking up satellite TV at his home in New Mexico, to name a few expenses that put him on the outside.
“I had a contract that was voted on openly, I do not have any regrets about it,” said Hershock, and “we submitted as part of the process, (receipts), and provided fair explanation.”
At the time of his dismissal, Hershock was earning $150,000 a year for what amounted to a part-time job. The settlement stipulates that neither Hershock or PHEAA is at fault for the termination.
The money to pay him comes from an insurance policy.
It feels like salt thrown in an open sore for Rock The Capital Co-Founder and Government Watchdog, Eric Epstein. Epstein filed a complaint with the IRS in 2009 under his staunch belief that Hershock most likely violated IRS rules and Pennsylvania Statutes.
“Mr. Hershock and his attorney have profited from excessive travel expenses and ineligible sick day compensation, It is hard to imagine how this settlement makes college education more accessible to students.” Epstein says he intends to amend his complaint and request that the IRS takes another look at Hershock’s expenses.
Hershock says he has no concerns about having the IRS take another look over his shoulder. “I think they took a pretty thorough look, and they simply did not find anything,” said Hershock.
PHEAA intends to dismantle the foundation, and that saddens Hershock. “I feel terrible about it. I don’t know if it can ever be replicated. It helped a lot of students.”
Hershock says he has been approached to create a new foundation; “that is something I am thinking about working on.”
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