By Vivian Ramirez
A 10-year-old rumor still follows Hassan Medina, Associated Student Union commissioner of theater arts and student presidential candidate.
Despite accusations of forgery and embezzlement, Medina seeks a leadership position and brushes off rumors and references to his past.
Medina’s complicated history with East Los Angeles College begins ten years ago with the Radio Club.
Medina joined the Radio Club in Fall 1999 and ascended to the position of president when the former president stepped down.
As club president, Medina planned to introduce a radio station to ELAC and used the school’s then-functioning public address system to broadcast in the student center.
However, Medina encountered a roadblock when he realized the radio equipment was not useable.
“The equipment was really old,” said Medina. “Like from the 1980s.”
Determined to start a student-run station, he set out to purchase new equipment with the club’s old funds.
Before that semester, the Radio Club had been inactive for about six-years and its financial account was frozen.
About $3,000 were under the Radio Club’s name and had been deposited in the early 1990s by former members.
However, ASU would not allow access to the account or funds.
When a club reaches a long period of inactivity, it loses any money it had in its account.
Medina said the Radio Club’s funds were overlooked and suddenly multiple parties were eager to access it, including ASU.
“All of a sudden, the money was retrograded,” said Medina.
In the Spring 2000 semester, conflict broke out between members of the Radio Club and they begun to disband.
Accusations, allegations and arguments spread between the members and the club found itself broken into two parties.
The most serious of allegations accused Medina of embezzlement and forgery.
That spring, two groups of students turned in paperwork to be chartered as the Radio Club.
Radio Club No. 1’s president was Kevin Frederick, and Radio Club No. 2’s president was Medina.
Another problem arose when both clubs realized there can only be one bank account under the same name.
Debates then broke-out over which club was legal and which would be terminated.
The conflict became so severe, that it affected all clubs on campus.
“All club accounts were frozen because of the investigation,” said David Moreno, a former Radio Club member.
The ASU decided that Radio Club No.1 was the only legal club because their paperwork was filed before the other club’s, forcing Radio Club No. 2 to disband.
To this day, Medina said he does not know what happened to the money.
Medina said he never received access to the account and the plan for a radio station never took off.
After Medina left the Radio Club, he became involved with a production of the musical “Grease.”
The musical originally began as a fundraiser to buy uniforms for the marching band.
David Moreno, the ASU student president at the time, asked Medina to lead the project when the former leader abandoned it.
The cast was made up of ELAC students and students from local high schools.
However, the musical quickly lost support from the theater and dance departments when no faculty member wanted to sponsor it.
Controversy arose when the rights to a musical were questioned.
Also, release forms for minors performing in the musical were not provided on time.
The ASU eventually pulled its financial support of $5,000 from the project due to controversy.
When opening day for “Grease” arrived, school security shut down the auditorium and would not let the show go on because its legality was still in question.
The musical missed two of its scheduled performances and the unsold seats became a financial loss for Medina and Morales.
The rights for the play were eventually accounted for and ELAC allowed the rest of the performances to be played as scheduled.
That same year, Medina and Morales filed a lawsuit of $5,000 against ELAC for the money they lost in “Grease.”
They won the case against ELAC for breach of contract since the ASU had assumed financial responsibility for the project.
After the “Grease” scandal, Medina took a leave of absence from ELAC that lasted six years.
Medina returned to ELAC last year to continue his education and hold the ASU office for commissioner of theater arts.
Medina’s past caught up to him at the election forum on April 4 when an old Radio Club member showed up.
Moreno questioned him in front of other candidates about the accusations of embezzlement and forgery.
“I’m bringing this up as a concerned student,” said Moreno. “I want to know who is running for office. Something in my gut told me to look this up and ask about it.”
The topic has gained even more attention with Medina’s campaign, as students want to know more about the candidates.
“The fact that they won’t let it go still bugs me,” said Medina. “There’s no real issue. It was six years ago. I’m over it.”
Medina said that the ASU launched an investigation during his candidacy to see if the rumors were true.
No evidence has been found against Medina and the investigation was terminated.
Despite the strong opposition he has encountered during his candidacy, Medina will not let it stop him from looking for more leadership positions.
“I don’t dwell on it,” said Medina, “I’m the type of person who forgives and forgets. Unfortunately they’re the ones who can’t let it go.”