June 4, 2007
Carthage, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a petition in Jasper County Circuit Court seeking the removal of the executive director, president and treasurer from the Carthage Humane Society (CHS) for failure to properly administer and account for the organization’s charitable assets. Nixon’s petition for quo warranto cites Executive Director and former Vice-President David Butler, President Charles Miller and Treasurer William Johnson, along with the non-profit organization itself.
“The fiscal integrity of a benevolent corporation is crucial, and any failure to properly safeguard and account for its assets jeopardizes its ability to fulfill its mission and to obtain support and donations from the public,” Nixon said. “Based on my office’s investigation into the Carthage Humane Society, we are seriously concerned with the lack of fiscal integrity and financial controls associated with this non-profit.”
Nixon’s investigation revealed numerous occasions where Butler and Miller took money from CHS bank accounts, either in the form of cash or checks and adding up to thousands of dollars, without informing the board members or treasurer of the purpose. Nixon also alleges that Butler and Miller utilized CHS assets to pay for personal items and the organizations’ motor vehicles for personal use. Butler and Miller also actively worked against the board’s efforts to institute proper financial controls, Nixon says, by declining to provide bank statements of CHS accounts despite numerous requests from the treasurer and board and opposing proposals to institute controls over cash taken in at CHS’ shelter and at its fundraisers.
Nixon says William Johnson is cited for removal due to his breach of fiduciary duties as treasurer by failing to establish any internal controls regarding revenue, cash handling, recording transactions, maintaining adequate records, and expense and disbursement authorization.
CHS itself is cited in the petition for its board members allowing a lack of institutional control over all financial aspects of the organization. Nixon also alleges that the organization has engaged in acts that could be considered animal cruelty and substandard care.
Nixon is requesting that the court order the removal of Butler, Miller and Johnson from their CHS offices. The petition also requests an order by the court requiring a complete accounting of all funds Butler and Miller received from the CHS, and that the court assesses a fine on them in an amount equal to all funds they misappropriated from the organization. Nixon is also requesting that the court orders the corporation to set appropriate financial and governing standards to allow it to continue to operate.
“The Carthage Humane Society serves a valuable public service, and has been an asset to the community since it was incorporated in 1948,” Nixon said. “Our desire is not to see this worthwhile organization disbanded, but instead to have responsible people in the community step up and ensure that its future operations are proper, legitimate and beyond reproach.”