May 19, 2012
Alleged Conspiracy in the Rosa Parks Estate
This makes me sad. It's really hard to imagine more of an heroine than Rosa Parks, so it is upsetting that the footnote to her legacy is this ridiculousness. This conspiracy suit was apparently filed by the attorney that represented the Parks Foundation and one of its executives in prior probate proceedings, although it is never quite clear from the article as to whether he is filing on their behalf or on his own (I'm assuming this is just technically incorrect writing on legal matters but I could be wrong).
The petition alleges that the Court and the estate's appointed attorneys conspired to drain the estate of funds through attorney's fees and through the failure to enforce certain orders of the Michigan Supreme Court - a fairly serious (and difficult if not impossible to prove) charge. This article contains more background on the fight between the Parks heirs and the Parks Foundation and its co-founder.
I have to say that my first reaction was that I was stunned that the Foundation (if the Foundation is in fact the filer of the motion) would allege such a thing and whether that would serve to tarnish its repution. I suppose some of it will depend on the outcome.
Can anyone help me with access to the original petition? I'm not finding it right off, but will post a link if I can. Update: Here's a link to the petition.
May 16, 2012
Live Blogging the Ways and Means Oversight Hearing
So this is a bit of an experiment this morning. I'll be watching the streaming coverage of the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on tax-exempt organizations, found at Thomas (here). According to what is scrolling on my screen right now, related documents will be available on the Committee's website once the hearing starts. It is giving this address for the documents - I'll try to link the full address when the committee goes live.
Below this post on the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog, you'll see there is a place for Comments. As the hearing starts, I'll be typing up my thoughts on the hearing in the Comments section to this post. Hopefully, that means they will be in order as the hearing goes on. I don't know if I have the ability to proofread the comments, so I'm going to beg your forgiveness right now for the typos that will occur.
I am going to get some more coffee and then let the experiment begin in about 10 minutes (10 EST)!
Update at 11:30 EST - hearing is over - see my comments below.
May 15, 2012
Ways and Means Hearing: The Cast Announced
Last week, Prof. Buckles let us know about the upcoming hearing to be held on Wednesday, May 16th courtesy of Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Ways and Means Committee. At that time, the speakers were not yet announced, although it was noted that the witnesses were by invitation only. Given Rep. Boustany's recent activities in the tax-exempt area (such as investigating the tax-exempt status of AARP and questioning the IRS regarding the scope of its inquiries into certain Section 501(c)(4) exemption applications), I was admittedly skeptical about these hearings. The stated scope of the hearings is broad enough to encompass just about anything - including a foray into the political leanings of the IRS in the tax-exempt area. I was, as a result, some what relieved to see the list of speakers:
Diana Aviv of Independent Sector, active in the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector's Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice
Roger Colinvaux, associate professor at Catholic University (SSRN Writings Search),
Bruce Hopkins, well-know attorney specializing in nonprofit law, and
Michael Regier, senior vice president of VHA, a nonprofit hospital cooperative.
It's a fairly impressive and diverse list, so I'll be interested to see which way this hearing goes. I think there is still some room for the political discussion, but from this list it doesn't look like that should be the entire conversation. I'll be up tomorrow morning to try to watch it (and blog it!) so you don't have to.