What happens when you have a nonprofit foundation that does not follow their own bylaws, does not vote on anything, and board members are added and deleted at the whim of the President with no votes on anything whatsoever?
What can be done about this by a concerned member of the public ?
Greg McRay responds:
Unfortunately, what you describe happens all-too-often. Equally as unfortunate, there is very little that you as a “concerned citizen” can do legally.
I have seen situations where a lawsuit has been filed against a nonprofit for failure to abide by one or more tenants of its bylaws. One case that I personally witnessed in a NY court room ended badly for the nonprofit, and the plaintiffs were actually granted board control of the organization by the presiding judge. But the plaintiffs were members of the organization and had legal standing to bring a suit. A member of the general public would not have such standing.
About the only thing you could do is possibly contact your state’s AG’s office, but it’s doubtful you would get them to look into it over an allegation of not following their bylaws. Usually, it would take a credible allegation of financial impropriety, and even then, you would have to have a pretty compelling case.
I wish my answer were more encouraging. It’s just that I’ve seen this play out this way too many times.