Mary Crume Trust Disposition:
As you probably already know, the Mary Powell Crume Public charitable trust for animals was violated and its principal has been approved for use as collateral for expenses by Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) officials to prevent closure. (see Oct 15th update)
Long established and respected animal service organizations in the community: "ARPO" (Alliance for
Responsible Pet Ownership), "SNSI" (Spay Neuter Services of Indiana), "SSAS" (Southside Animal Shelter), "HFA" (Home for Friendless Animals), "mtA" (Move to Act) as well as an heir of Mrs. Crume, object to this violation. These parties continue in the effort to protect and prevent this trust from vanishing down the hole of no return.
Mrs. Crume specifically identified in her will…
"I give, devise and bequeath all of the trust estate and property referred to in Item IV and V of this Will to the Indianapolis Humane Society of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana as Trustee, to have and to hold the same perpetually in trust for the sole purpose of using the net income therefrom for relief of animals which come under its care. Said last mentioned Trustee shall have no power or authority to use either the principal or income of said trust estate and property to pay for the building, equipment, salaries, or any other expenses other than relief of said animals."
The Report to the Court by temporary limited consultant (First Indiana Bank) states:
"It is clear from the analysis of the HSI financial and operating reports that the organization cannot meet its cash requirement for continued operations from existing resources which include income from the Trust."
Public statements by the animal shelter's officials proclaim that the agency is running $50-$100,000/month in the red.
Community responses to this outcome have been numerous and are perhaps best summarized in this note:
THIS WHOLE AFFAIR IS OUTRAGEOUS!
HOW CAN STEVE CARTER LIVE WITH HIMSELF?
I HOPE WORD GETS OUT SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK TWICE BEFORE LEAVING A TRUST TO THE HSI.
I CAN'T SEE HOW "THEY" CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS MISAPPROPRIATION OF A PUBLIC TRUST!
...Maggie Donnella, Indianapolis, IN 46220
National City Bank is where the Crume Trust is deposited. A National City Bank official is also the Humane Society Treasurer, which makes him a trustee, and as a bank official he is also the depository trustee of the Crume Trust.
In an effort to address the successful HSI/Attorney General strategy of misinformation and selective omission of information provided to the court to persuade the approval of the trust violation, the animal service organizations:
1. Requested of the court that misleading information provided the court be corrected - denied.
2. Requested that there be required evidence of sufficient collateral back to the Trust - denied
3. Requested that the court appoint a guardian, an amicus or "friend of the court." - denied
4. Requested that a bond be required to sufficiently protect the collateralized trust assets against default - denied. ...here
The animal service organizations emphasized in a brief to the probate court that "No U.S. court has ever allowed the principal of a public benevolent trust to be pledged, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered without a corresponding exchange of value (as in reinvestment) or without adequate security back to the trust."
The Attorney General, HSI and the probate court have unfortunately allowed this to happen with a PUBLIC charitable Crume Trust.
To date there has been no independent audit of the HSI financials - only self-provided documents.
If there is any clear message sent to the people of our state from these events it is that public access to the court to protect a public charitable trust from reckless stewardship IS DENIED. ...and officials and trustees who are responsible for overseeing a public charitable trust will work a deal behind closed doors to achieve results contrary to a settlor's intent.
For this reason, the animal service organizations are appealing the Attorney General's position and the court's ruling that no party other than the Attorney General should be recognized as having standing in court regarding matters of public charitable trust.
The estate planning legal community and future benefactors now can take special pause before committing to what they think will be an instrument to posthumously guarantee the protection of their good intentions.
"Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's
capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful
stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because
they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense
because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before