By Eric Lam
The Ryerson Students’ Union says the Ryerson Commerce Society owes almost $4,000. But RCS President Abdullah Snobar and his brother Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, an RSU executive, want hard proof before any money changes hands.
Abdullah, the younger brother of the RSU’s VP Student Life and Events Abe, received an invoice from the RSU asking for $3,939.38, dated April 30, 2005. However, the invoice does not go into any detail about why the RCS owes the money.
Mike Verticchio, executive director of the RSU, said most of the money is owing from the 2004-2005 school year, when the RSU (then RyeSAC) purchased T-shirts for the group. The RCS also has a small CopyRITE tab.
“[The money] was already a year overdue when I got here, and each year we’ve had discussions, but it hasn’t gone anywhere. It was just easy to put it on the backburner,” he said.
Verticchio said the invoice had been in their database for a while, but the RCS can’t decide to write it off. “It’s only when [the debt] is deemed not collectible, and I still think it’s collectible so it’s worth talking about.”
But the younger Snobar doesn’t think so. “It only makes sense to give back a percentage. It’s been a year. They’re putting our word on their word.”
The elder Snobar backs his brother’s position. “As much as I’d like it to be paid back to the RSU, I wouldn’t pay it back without proof,” he said.
“They can’t just throw numbers at us and expect us to pay. I’m not going to sign a cheque and say ‘thank you, here you go,’” the younger Snobar said.
Nora Loreto, RSU president, said the union wouldn’t ask for money unless it had proof.
“There wasn’t any resistance until last week,” Loreto said, when the issue was raised at an RSU executive committee meeting last Thursday, when both Snobars demanded proof.
Verticchio confirmed the union is collecting documentation for the Snobars.
“I’m concerned that there are people who are against us recovering money owed to the RSU,” Loreto said.
Despite the optics, one brother backing up another isn’t surprising to Ryerson politics professor Tariq Amin-Khan.
“They haven’t tried to pocket the money, have they?” Amin-Khan said.
To him, brothers working in “close proximity” is rare in politics but as long as it is one group owing another money, the executives should work it out. “I for one don’t read anything untoward about this, but there are questions.”
Loreto wants the money back this year. “At the end of the day, the RSU doesn’t ask for people to pay their bills unless there is something outstanding,” Loreto said.