Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Nick Mirkay previously blogged about the growing controversy surrounding the Milton Hersey School Trust and its sole beneficiary, the Milton Hershey School located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Protect the Hersheys Children, a self-declared watchdog group for the School, made the initial accusations of excessive compensation and poor governance in early September when it sent a complaint to the IRS and other federal and state officials. Now the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Trust engaged in at least two multi-million dollar property acquisitions at well above fair market values, including the purchase of the neighboring Pumpkin World USA roadside attraction for $8.6 million and of the struggling Wren Dale Golf Club for $12 million, both in 2006. The article also reports that Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett's office has confirmed it is investigating the trust regarding an unidentified acquisition, but that office has not provided any further information.
The situation has gained a large enough profile in Pennsylvania that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onarato has pledged to push for reform of the Hershey Trust if elected. The section 501(c)(4) Protect the Hershey's Children has applauded this commitment and urged its supporters to take Onarato's position into account when they vote today.