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Friday, September 15, 2006

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Mark Schuldenfrei

Not being an attorney, I still wanted to answer your request for anecdotal information - in case it might be relevant. I've linked to a transcript of the hearing I refer to, above, and again here: http://home.jtan.com/~cellio/bod/transcript-5-5

The case was:
N0. 739306 heard in Superior Court of California, Monica Cellio et al v The Society For Creative Anachronism, Inc., et al.

The SCA Inc is a silly little non-profit which was founded to support medieval and early renaissance re-enactment. I've enjoyed the hobby it supports for years. It is a 501(c)3 and a California non-profit, and has been in existence for over 35 years.

It's by-laws include a specific requirement that members (not statutory members, but donors that it calls members) may inspect the books of account.

In 1994, the SCA announced some radical changes and restructuring that were required based upon newly discovered fiscal liabilities. The quarter before that it had reported that finances were fine and normal.

A number of us objected, and tried to see the fiscal books of account. And were refused. We eventually filed for a writ of mandamus (which was granted) to see the books. Our costs and fees were awarded to us based upon the Public Attorney General statutes.

(In my opinion, I think the internal changes and refusals were because the books were an uninterpretable mess.)

The corporation instituted many fiscal changes in response to that suit, and on the whole made the organization a bit more transparent and responsive. And certainly, more responsible.

If I can answer any questions, please feel free to ask.

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Under this private attorney general model, the individual plaintiff need not prove that she suffered injury.

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