Attention on non-profit board members in the wake of Arnao conviction

    The decision by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office to sue a south Philadelphia charity has the city’s nonprofit sector taking a hard look at the role of board members. The lawsuit against the nonprofit group founded by former State Senator Vincent Fumo takes aim at the board members, and seeks to hold them accountable for shirking their fiduciary responsibilities.

    The decision by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office to sue a south Philadelphia charity has the city’s nonprofit sector taking a hard look at the role of board members. The lawsuit against the nonprofit group founded by former State Senator Vincent Fumo takes aim at the board members, and seeks to hold them accountable for shirking their fiduciary responsibilities.

    Transcript:
    Once a federal jury found Fumo and Ruth Arnao guilty of misusing the assets of Citizen’s Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, state prosecutors stepped in to shut it down. But experts in nonprofit management and law say its a rare occurrence for a charity’s board members to be sued in order to recover the lost assets. Lauren Otten is the Director of the Nonprofit Center at Lasalle University.

    Otten: What we saw with Citizen’s Alliance was the exception rather than the rule. And the question that anybody had who had any experience with nonprofits kept asking was, “where was the board, where was the board, where was the board?”

    Otten says the bulk of nonprofit boards do provide oversight, but she hopes this is a wake-up call for those who don’t.

    Calls to board members, and the organization have not been returned.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Target As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090409alliance.mp3]

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