Originally Posted by BigKittenDaddy
Do any of you have a familiarity with the legalities of 501c.3 charities inso far as public scrutiny is concerned?
I habe been a volunteer at one Committed Alliance To Strays formore than 2 years and I and 5 other Volunteers recieved lettters from the C.A.T.S lawyer that we could not go on the property or contact any of the employees. We are all long service vols who have been vocal in our oppisition to some of thechangess in policy regarding adoptions and euthansia in what is billing itself as a NO KILL SHELTER. Can we oust the board of directors or do we have any legal recourse recourse.?? Does anyone know? The clique that has taken over is ruining things and if they are permitted to continue I dread the outcome for the shelter and the cats that depend on it.. HELP I'm hurting here, what can I do?
Ah, I see this was moved to a better spot while I was thinking and writing!
Howard, first things first. Yes - they are correct in that you cannot access the property to contact the employees, as your volunteer status, unfortunately, does not hold you in equal regard as a hired employee, "agent" or otherwise representative of the company. Now, having said that, your best bet is to file an injunction. Being a non-profit under 501 (c) 3 status and recognized such with certain tax privileges and the like, you have the right to request or "threaten" the recall of that status. But it's a hard fight and you best retain a pro-bono attorney who will take this case for free. Many young lawyers in large legal firms in Portland, for instance, must achieve a certain amount of pro-bono hours (billing) per year for their firm as junior associates. It's also required under CLE, that's the Continuing Legal Education class credits that are required by almost every state bar for every licensed attorney, each and every year.
Here's how to get the ball rolling and some options for you. Maybe one will work:
Contact the Oregon State Bar and ask for the Pro Bono information specialist. Explain your case just as succinctly as you did above, and ask them for help or referrals.
Contact the State of Oregon Humane Society. Tell them the same. They are also a 501 (c)3 and will guide you. But don't talk to the front desk, ask for the Executive Director's office. Be persistent. They get lots of calls and are probably very short-handed.
Write a letter, Howard, to your local papers, tv stations, your local NPR affiliate radio, - anything, and keep it as factual as possible and side-step any inflammatory statements or opinions. Send a copy of the letters to the Board members of this shelter. Preface the letter copy with a letter signed by all the volunteers.
Contact a large vet hospital in your area to find out who they are using for legal counsel. Go there, ask questions. Most will listen to your case for 30 minutes w/no charge. They will have some ideas and guide you to where you might need to be. It is a LONG process, a lot of stress. Be ready.
Where are you? Eugene? Grants Pass? I have friends and family there who have many animals, send me a PM if you are in the Jackson County area and we can leap-frog some of this for you as far as contacts.
I hope this gives you just a resource or two. Unfortunately, Fridays are bad days for anything legal, as most civil and criminal trials are docketed on Fridays. But get your things organized over the weekend, Make a checklist and get your plan of action written out.
I hope other members also can direct your efforts as well!