The Financial Litigation and Charitable Trusts Division receives many inquiries and complaints from the public, news reporters, and other interested parties regarding possible mismanagement or diversion of charitable assets. Although all complaints about charities are reviewed, not all complaints lead to full investigations or other action by the Office of the Attorney General. We are more likely to investigate based on a complaint when there is reliable evidence of a diversion of charitable assets or gross mismanagement resulting in a significant financial loss or other substantial harm to the charity or the public interest, including cases involving
- Improper use of charitable funds
- Diversion of charitable trust funds from their intended purpose
- Sale of a charity or conversion of a non-profit corporation to "for profit" status at a price that is unfair to the charity
- Excessive amounts paid by a non-profit corporation or charitable trust for salaries, benefits, travel and entertainment
- Self-dealing transactions either between a director and/or trustees and the non-profit corporation
The Attorney General, acting on behalf of the public interest in charity, does not generally investigate:
- Homeowners' associations and other non-profit membership benefit corporations
- Matters involving internal labor disputes, contested elections and disagreements between directors and/or members over policy and procedures
- Claimed violations of religious laws or doctrine by churches or religious corporations
If you file a complaint against a charity, please note that:
We May Refer You to Another Agency. Often a state, federal or local agency will have more expertise than our office to handle a particular problem. In such a case, we may refer you to the agency best able to help.
We Cannot Act As Your Private Attorney. State law prohibits our office from giving individual citizens legal advice or opinions or acting as their private attorney. If you feel that you need legal advice, you will have to turn to another source such as a private attorney, legal aid society or other organization.
We Can Only File Suit To Protect The Public Interest. State law prohibits our office from filing a lawsuit whose only purpose is to recover money or property for a single person. In those instances, it is appropriate for the citizen to seek legal advice from a private attorney, legal aid society or other organization.