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May, 2004

May saw significant behind-the-scenes activity in animal welfare in Indianapolis. 

The Humane Society of Indianapolis had a larger than usual attendance at its annual meeting.  This was the first time such public attention has been given to the event where new directors are announced. HSI officials have emphaticly communicated that there would be no resignation of old board members who align with behavior that has alienated public trust, confidence and allowed millions of dollars to slide away..
Officials gave the appearance of confidence while hustling in the new directors, only to allow more time for spirited Q/A from the public indicating the unfortunate distance the agency has placed between them self and the community.  The board composition continues to perpetuate the "good old fraternity/sorority" network  Conflicts of interest of board appointments and business positions continue.

Mta appeared at the probate court on the objection filing to HSI's Mary Crume Trust. More on this can be viewed at  http://www.old.movetoact.org/objection.htm
HSI was present with two attorneys along with Martha Boden, Monte Korte, Jeff Terp . The mood was festive and confident in their corner.  MtA had yet to engage an attorney because of the conflicts of interests that an attorney claims when approached with this case.  Only an exceptional and confident practitioner is willing to put themselves in place to challenge the long standing status quo in a community.  That has not and will not stop mtA.  MtA continues to be successful pressing for accountability  because of the recognition and support of those of you in the community who realize that stewardship of donor dollars at the largest animal welfare agency in the city is nonexistent.
As prayers are answered, Veronica Jarnagin appeared from nowhere to offer representation for mtA for the day.  HSI attorneys insisted that mtA had no "standing" in the court - meaning we didn't exist on the radar.  What louder and more telling statement can be made about the sensitivity of the The "Humane" Society of Indianapolis leadership than saying in the courtroom that the community of those people speaking on behalf of the animals in our city do not exist?  This includes the oldest and largest of animal welfare groups in the city, 2,500 people who signed the "Bones" petition and more than 100 mtA supporters. Ms Jarnagin argued that the issue of "standing" was a separate issue in itself and the judge agreed that oral arguments regarding "standing"would be scheduled on July 2nd 2 PM before the hearing could proceed. HSI representatives left the courtroom without the festive smiles.
Ms Jarnagin is a probate attorney who has embraced the mission and become a good friend of mtA. She will be assisting us in assembling the legal representation we need to preserve this Mary Crume fortune from slipping away with the millions of dollars from the other trusts that has been in the custody of the same HSI leadership.
MtA is soliciting donations for legal fees if you have the means to assist us.  Donations can mailed to:
Move to ACT
P.O Box 68658
Indianapolis, IN 46268-0658
It will be extremely helpful to have your support at the next court appearance.
and try to attend the oral argument and hearing on whether mtA (any and all of us) have "standing" in the probate court regarding the objection filing to the Mary Crume Trust Statement of Accounts. (17th floor of the City County Building).
The outcome of the case is significant.  This particular issue boils down to whether the trustees of a trust can put the principal of a trust at risk and do so for reasons contrary to the benefactor's intent. Of special interest is that the true beneficiaries of the trust are the animals, who have no voice!  Imagine upon your death, money you entrusted to trustees to oversee your gift reaching an intended target, is used as collateral for a loan to pay off debt, instead. 

This trust is a benevolent public trust bequeathed to HSI by Mary Powell Crume.  Her will was very specific in how the trust was to be managed.  
Each year there is a "review" by the Attorney General's office and probate court on the trust's appropriate use.
The trust has been massaged for decades.
Now HSI wants to collateralize the assets of the trust for a line of credit, (specifically: collateralize 90% of the trust for a line of credit not to exceed 50%) . This is the last HSI trust remaining intact.  HSI officials have extinguished the HSI charitable trust, have borrowed to the limit against the Stokes trust and now want to violate the principal of the Crume trust, against the will of Mary Crume.  This money was not provided to use for deficit spending, yet that is what HSI officials want to do. This was money left for the "relief of animals,"  Collateralizing this gift is a violation of confidence that Mary Crume had in the agency. This money is in no way reaching the target for which it was intended, the animals. 
MtA is bringing to the court's attention the financial management history of HSI board officials and questioning their ability to responsibly handle this treasury of which they have been given oversight.
HSI is contesting this by their very presence in the court by claiming that mtA has no "standing" before the court to pursue this matter.  The presence of mtA is the lone voice saying, "Enough is enough" when it comes to allowing the trustees to violate the will of a deceased HSI donor to use her trust for deficit spending and exhausting this account..
2500 people in the community assert in the "Down to the Bone" campaign: http://www.old.movetoact.org/petition2.htm
"The current board has demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility, does not reflect the character of the animal welfare people of the community and does not represent the best interest of the animals it is entrusted to serve."

The mtA slate of candidates remain ever present and  prepared to assist in this crisis.  The crisis is now.  See the following entry:

HSI files in probate court PETITION TO ALLOW PLEDGING OF CHARITABLE TRUST . The Mary Crume trust has assets of $3,419,040.00.  ...here
Point 8.  "The Humane Society does not have sufficient funds from donations and interest on the investments to continue daily operations of carrying out its purpose of providing care and relief for the animals surrendered to it."

We were sorry to hear that Eric Smith, well respected and long time "hands-on" animal advocate in Indianapolis resigned form the HSI board.
As always, thanks for your continued and sustained concern and support. Changing the deeply engrained culture of HSI board leadership is critical for our community to make progress in animal management in our city.
Sadly, this agency has been allowed to hemorrhage millions of dollars and mtA needs your support in helping to stop the waste.  
Please share this newsletter with concerned others on your mailing list.
The mtA Board
PO Box 68658
Indianapolis, IN 46268-0658


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