June 29, 2008
Judge Orders Reorganization of Nonprofit's Board to End Split
The Orland Sentinel reports that Florida Circuit Judge Mark Nacke has ordered the restructuring of the governing board for the Community Development Corporation of Leesburg & Vicinity following an acrimonious split among the board's members. According to the article, the nonprofit organization grew out of the settlement ten years ago of a multi-million-dollar racial-discrimination suit against the city of Leesburg and the Leesburg Regional medical Center. The organization's mission is to help revitalize blighted neighborhoods and help the poor with housing and economic opportunities. It currently receives the bulk of its funding from the city government.
The rift apparently developed on the board of directors between seven directors on one side and two on the other side, with each faction claiming that one of its members was the board chairman. The rift also led to an attempt to suspend the organization's executive director, the closing of the organization's office, and the freezing of its bank accounts.
The judge melded both old and new board members into a reorganized, 15-member board, and chose one of the claimants as the board's chairman. He also found that while the organization had the authority to suspend its executive director, it owed her five weeks backpay because her suspension had not been approved by a properly seated board. The case docket provides further information about the lawsuit, although the judge's order is not yet available. A previous Orlando Sentinel story about the dispute concluded that it arose in large part because the board of directors failed to adhere to the organization's bylaws, such as by deciding issues or electing new directors at meetings that lacked a quorum.
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