From the EU to ASU, Bentley about to step into Hornet's nest

From the EU to ASU, Bentley about to step into Hornet's nest

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley will step off a plane Thursday fresh from a European economic development trip and step right into a brewing feud on the campus of Alabama State University.

Bentley's request for a delay in the ASU Board's decision on new president Dr. Joseph Silver's fate was honored. It'll take place Friday, when Bentley, acting as the President of the Board can be included.

Dr. John Knight, who is overseeing the university's day-to-day operations, refused requests Wednesday for an interview. He said Tuesday in a phone interview that the story needs to play out privately.

A source also confirmed some confusion on the board, with Chairman Elton Dean telling members the governor had no authority even in his role as ASU Board President, though according to state statutes the governor can call a special board meeting whenever he desires.

Dean later called to say he would never do anything to undermined the governor's authority on the board.

Governor Bentley had to address the ASU situation from Germany where he is speaking at a conference touting Alabama as a destination for Airbus suppliers to build their shops.

A law enforcement source told WSFA 12 News Wednesday that there is talk of a possible investigation at Alabama State, but would not provide any details.

Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Silver stood by his wife in front of their campus home where he read a written statement. He said the statement would be the last he would speak publicly on the controversy.

Silver contends that he told the ASU Board he intended to hire an independent investigator. Dean says he asked for a third party, but the Board felt confident in the state examiners and auditors.

Silver said he wanted to look into contracts, and Dean said all contracts had been turned over to Silver. Dean added that no one is trying to hide anything.

Silver was placed on paid administrative leave Monday. No interim-president has been named, to date. John Knight, Executive Vice President, retains control of the daily operations.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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