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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 39172
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Non-profit organization in Indiana runs the local county animal

Customer Question

Non-profit organization in Indiana runs the local county animal shelter. The organization is a 501c with members. Organization has changed Articles of Incorporation (were not filed with the State) and By-Laws without a member vote. All meetings are kept private and the public and press can not attend. When asked for the minutes of the previous meetings the Executive Director replied: "I am sorry but we do not make our minutes available to the general public. If you have specific questions about the Animal Welfare League, please feel free to submit those questions to either myself or our board president. thank you. Executive Director" This organization accepts funds from both the County and the Cities of the County to operate. We thought that these meetings should be open to the public and the minutes should be available to view. They also will not share the financial reports with the members.
Are we wrong, and if not, how do we go about getting these documents? Is there a law or code that we can point them to?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 years ago.

Only nonprofit organizations whose budgets are reviewed by a state agency or legislative body are subject to the Indiana Open Records Act. Just because the organization accepts public funds, is insuficient to force them to reveal their governing documents, beyond what is filed with the state.


If appropriate documents are not current, then you can complain to the Secretary of State. Though, they probably won't do anything. Generally, this sort of thing is litigated between aggrieved parties and the organzation. The fact that the documents are not current is simply evidence of mal or misfeasance.


Hope this helps.


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
How would I find out: "Only nonprofit organizations whose budgets are reviewed by a state agency or legislative body are subject to the Indiana Open Records Act." Their budgets are reviewed by the City and County Commissioners/Council prior to them receiving any funding.
So as a taxpayer and a member of the organization, I can not see the minutes of their meetings, their meeting do not have to be made public (even though the last bylaws given to the members say they are),and I can not see where their money is being spent or coming from?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 years ago.

You could make an open records request for the budgets to th City and County Commissioners/Council. If the budgets are produced, then you would make an open records request, in accordance with state law to the organization on grounds that their budgets are clearly subject to review by the government. Then, if the organization rejects the request, you would have to sue to force them to produce the records. The organization would have to show that they are not within the scope of the law -- considering they are subject to budgetary control by government agencies.


Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So, I would have to go thru all of this just to see the meeting minutes? What about attending a meeting? Even if the bylaws say I can attend them, I can't???
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 years ago.

There's no law enforcement agency that will force the organization to let you have documents or attend meetings. The only way to force the organization to comply is through the court system.



socrateaser and 2 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is there an Indiana statute or code that I could site to them that would cause them to rethink letting me see them?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.