The following is a media release from the Massachusetts Attorney general’s office.
HOPKINTON- Hopkinton-based Greyhound Friends Inc. (GHF) has agreed to institute governance reforms and file reports with the AG’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division following allegations of financial mismanagement, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today, August 15.
In addition, Greyhound’s former Executive Director, Louise Coleman, will pay $40,000 and is barred from serving in financial fiduciary roles for Massachusetts public charities after she allegedly misused Greyhound’s charitable assets and failed to keep appropriate records.
“Our charities count on passionate volunteers to help govern and oversee their operations,” said Healey. “This settlement establishes important guardrails to ensure that Greyhound Friends – and its volunteer board – are equipped to manage charitable assets going forward.”
Through a governance agreement with the AG’s Office, Greyhound Friends confirms that it has implemented and updated policies and procedures related to management oversight, conflicts of interest, financial controls, executive compensation, and board governance, including staggered board terms and term limits. As a result of these reforms, four current GHF board members will rotate off the Board in 2018 and 2019.
The agreement also requires Greyhound Friends to comply with animal-care related laws and regulations, correct any financial inaccuracies in reports previously filed with the AG’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division, and submit additional semi-annual reports.
Greyhound Friends acknowledges its prior failings in formal corporate governance oversight and financial controls, including insufficient board oversight over its executive management. The governance agreement implements reforms necessary to ensure that management and operational decisions are made in the best interest of GHF’s charitable mission – to operate an adoption shelter for greyhound dogs and other dog breeds and advocate on behalf of greyhounds in an effort to educate the public and improve the conditions of greyhounds in the United States and abroad.
Through a separate consent judgment with the AG’s Office, it is alleged that Coleman was unable to account for cash withdrawals from Greyhound Friends bank accounts and spent charitable funds on personal expenses.
The settlement requires Coleman to pay $40,000 to Greyhound Options Inc., a different charitable organization operating in Massachusetts that focuses on greyhound advocacy and adoption, and whose purpose is consistent with Greyhound’s original charitable mission.
The AG’s Office encourages charitable board members to consult our Guide for Board Members of Charitable Organizations. Members of the public can view charities’ annual filings on the AG’s Office’s website.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Phil Schreiber and Bernardo Cuadra of AG Healey’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division.