November 16, 2018
 
Greyhound Friends to Reform Policies, Former ED to Pay $40K

August 17, 2018 — Greyhound Friends, a Hopkinton-based nonprofit that works to educate the public and improve conditions of greyhounds in the United States and abroad, has agreed to institute governance reforms and file reports with the attorney general's office following allegations of financial mismanagement, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday.

In addition, Louise Coleman, founder and former executive director of Greyhound Friends (GHF), will pay $40,000 and is barred from serving in financial fiduciary roles for Massachusetts public charities after she allegedly misused the organization's assets and failed to keep appropriate records, according to the AG's office.

“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, GHF confirmed 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 board members will rotate off the board in 2018 and 2019.

The agreement also requires GHF 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.

"GHF acknowledges its prior failings in formal corporate governance oversight and financial controls, including insufficient board oversight over its executive management," according to the AG's office, which noted that the governance agreement "implements reforms necessary to ensure that management and operational decisions are made in the best interest of GHF’s charitable mission."

Through a separate consent judgment with the AG’s Office, it is alleged that "Coleman was unable to account for cash withdrawals from GHF 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 GHF’s original charitable mission.

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