Animal Rescue Group, Attorney General Reach Settlement Agreement

California-based nonprofit organization Noah's Wish was investigated for allegedly mishandling donations intended for Hurricane Katrina animal relief efforts.

Posted: August 8, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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Noah's Wish was accused of mishandling $8 million in donations
Noah’s Wish and the California attorney general reach a settlement agreement after an investigation of how the nonprofit handled funds intended for Hurricane Katrina animal relief.
Noah’s Wish and California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. reached a settlement agreement last month (July 2007) stemming from an investigation based on the way the animal rescue group handled donations it received in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The settlement agreement states the nonprofit received $8 million in donations as a result of its solicitation efforts following Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and surrounding areas in August 2005. The attorney general launched an investigation in June 2006 and examined several allegations, which suggested the money wasn’t used for caring for Hurricane Katrina animals, that Noah’s Wish did not properly classify an account for hurricane donations, that the nonprofit did not exhibit adequate control over the money and that problems existed on the governing board.

Noah’s Wish officials dispute and deny all allegations.

In a financial statement for the 2005 fiscal year, the nonprofit reported it spent nearly $1.5 million on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and of the $8 million collected, the nonprofit reported it had $4 million left. The settlement agreement states that the remainder of donations appeared to have been used to “further the general charitable purpose of Noah’s Wish, including overhead costs.”

As part of the settlement, Noah’s Wish must hand over the $4 million to the attorney general’s office. The money will be placed in a special account and distributed to beneficiaries that assist animal victims of Hurricane Katrina. Of the $4 million, $1 million was contractually agreed to go to the City of Slidell, La., to construct a shelter to replace one that was destroyed in the hurricane. Money will be reserved specifically for that purpose to fulfill the agreement. In addition, approximately $125,000 will be used to reimburse the attorney general’s office for costs incurred during the investigation.

The settlement also states that Terri Crisp, board member and founder of the nonprofit, may not be employed or attached to Noah’s Wish in any manner. Crisp also is forbidden from serving as a director, officer or trustee with any other nonprofit for the next five years.

Noah’s Wish is required to add new, independent members to its board, provide training and consult with CompassPoint Nonprofit Services to develop and implement proper financial controls.

The attorney general’s office will monitor Noah’s Wish and its practices for the next two years. Based on the agreement, the attorney general will not pursue litigation toward Noah’s Wish.

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Animal Rescue Group, Attorney General Reach Settlement Agreement

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Reader Comments

Michele    Palm Springs, CA

11/12/2007 10:40:50 AM

I am abhorred, thank goodness, the money is being taken. I work with a small non profit in So. Cal.
We do not have a building, we foster all these needy animals in our homes, and struggle, and sacrifice much, for them, any monies coming through, goes for them, 100%. Shame on Noah's Wish, may God forgive, them, I don't

Karen    Blauvelt, NY

8/8/2007 9:11:24 PM

That's awful. I don't know how these people sleep at night. Recently i've come to believe that all animals are not appreciated in the way they ought to be. It's my belief that when you bring home a pet or start a non-profit organization (like Noah's Wish)you become the caregiver and protector of that living thing. Animals are, in most cases, defenseless. Hurting and not helping them is a crime and people like Michael Vick and Noah's Wish should be ashamed of themselves. That is all for now...

Winnie    The Dalles, OR

8/8/2007 3:45:05 PM

Glad the shelter in Slidell will be replaced.

June    Vista, CA

8/8/2007 10:07:52 AM

Good to know the funds will be used to benefit the animals. A new shelter is just the first step. Keep us posted on progress, if you will

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