EXCLUSIVE: Why Conlin Left NARAL
Capital Tonight has obtained an exclusive copy of a forensic audit conducted for NARAL Pro Choice New York that uncovered extensive alleged financial misconduct by the nonprofit’s former president, Kelli Conlin, dating back at least to 2008 and perhaps even longer.
The draft document explains Conlin’s mysterious and abrupt departure on Jan. 21 from the post she had held for close to two decades. A source familiar with the circumstances of her decision said Conlin was fired.
The audit, conducted by the accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron, details numerous questionable charges on NARAL credit cards by Conlin between 2008 and 2010, including $5,709 worth of high-end clothing at Giorgio Armani and Barney’s and a $17,000 reimbursement on a Hamptons summer rental where Conlin stayed in the summer of 2009.
Between March 2008 and December 2010, Conlin spent just over $100,000 on car service. She often had the driver drop her children off at their school on the Upper West Side, the audit found.
The audit also raised a red flag on more than $22,000 Conlin spent on meals. In some cases, it appears she dined with non-work friends, but it’s unclear what percentage of these charges were personal.
In addition, the audit highlighted questionable transactions in which large sums of money were moved between NARAL’s several accounts, potentially to cover bonuses for several staffers – including Conlin herself.
Conlin was well compensated by NARAL, which has an annual budget of $4.5 million. She was paid $309,000 in 2009, according to the organization’s tax returns. That figure includes a bonus of $90,000.
The audit was conducted over a six-day period in December 2010. It was a preliminary investigation to determine whether a more extensive review of Conlin’s time at the helm of NARAL should be conducted.
Based on the results of this audit, the probe into her questionable finances continues, according to sources familiar with the effort.
Conlin played an active role in the 20-10 elections, endorsing and acting as a frequent surrogate for the entire statewide Democratic ticket, particularly then-gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo and state AG contender Eric Schneiderman.
Conlin’s troubles at NARAL could prove problematic for Schneiderman. Not only did the organization play a significant role in his campaign, but his father, Irwin, sits on its board, although he took a brief leave of absence while his son ran a successful campaign to be the state’s top attorney.
Irwin Schneiderman has been a NARAL board member for at least a decade and once served as its chair. He also has been the single largest donor to the organization’s political action committee, giving at least $75,000 in the last six years.
The attorney general’s charities bureau is responsible for investigating cases like Conlin’s. A source close to Schneiderman confirmed his office is reviewing the NARAL mess.
Schneiderman isn’t the only law enforcement official with a potential conflict of interest in the Conlin case. NARAL endorsed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. During his successful election in 20-09. In fact, the only investigatory entity without a possible conflict here is the I-R-S.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on February 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|