I am writing to inform you of some profoundly
distressing news that legal counsel and the authorities in Rhode
Island have advised can now be presented to you, On December 4,
2009 Norma Shepherd, Treasurer of the B.T.C.A., was arrested in
Lincoln, RI for embezzlement. The Board and I are gravely
concerned about this alleged criminal behavior, betrayal of
trust, and its impact on the BTCA.
There were five accounts in the name of the
B.T.C.A. at the Bank of America in North Smithfield, RI. Ms.
Shepherd was sole signatory on four of the accounts and
co-signee on one other. It appears that all accounts have
been totally depleted for personal use, including the General
Fund, rescue accounts, the Doble Fund and the Irene Mann
Memorial Fund. Once our records are recovered, a full forensic
account audit will be done to determine the full extent of the
loss. This may be done by the Attorney General's Office in Rhode
Island or may be an effort that the club must
undertake. A search for a suitable CPA is underway in the event
we need to conduct this audit ourselves. In an effort to fully
disclose to you what information we have at present, it appears
that the serious discrepancies in our bank account have been
occurring since January 2008, and possibly before that. It will
take a forensic audit to determine the total sum taken with any
accuracy, but an initial review of only bank statements
indicates inappropriate withdrawals of over $100,000. The Board
of the Bull Terrier Club of America has and will continue to be
in contact with the appropriate authorities in Rhode Island and
will work closely with them for full prosecution and hopefully
recovery of some club assets. We have retained legal counsel to
guide us in these efforts and the AKC has been informed. With
limited access to financial records and insurance policies, we
regret to inform you that it appears no current bond of the
treasurer is in place.
The Board has relieved Ms. Shepherd of
signatory access to the accounts, and on December 4, 2009, voted
unanimously to terminate her position as Treasurer of the
B.T.C.A. under the corporate statutes of the State of Tennessee
where the club is incorporated. Dale Schuur and I have been
added to all accounts to serve as B.T.C.A. signatories on an
interim basis. Dale will serve as interim Treasurer.
There are a number of things that we need to
address. First of all, because we do not have an accounting for
paid dues for 2009, we will use the 2009 membership for 2010. If
you have not yet paid for 2010, please send your dues to Dale
Schuur. If you have paid, we thank you. If you have updates to
your contact information, please send them to Naomi Waynee,
Executive Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a first priority, the B.T.C.A. will
conduct a search for a new Treasurer under the guidelines
provided for in the Constitution. We will put enhanced financial
management controls in place. We will review our outstanding
financial obligations and will pay them as soon as possible.
Next, we will be embarking on a major fund raising campaign.
Claudia Sharp has been appointed by the Board to chair these
efforts. You will hear more about this in the near future.
Finally, the Board has determined that the B.T.C.A. expenses
required for publishing BARKS, the hosting of Silverwood weekend
(judges' expenses, trophies, etc.) and rescue efforts
will take priority in the expense of club funds.
Events will continue to un-fold, and the
Board and I will do our best to keep you informed. In the
meantime, the first way that you can help is to reflect on what
contribution you can make to help us restore our club funds to
meet the needs of club activities. As mentioned, we will be
presenting information regarding the fund raising campaign in
the near future.
It is truly an unfortunate time for the
B.T.C.A., but, because we are resilient like our bullies, we
will get through this. This is a wonderful club, made up of
wonderful people. I am confident that all of us, working
together, will weather this storm and continue our stewardship
of our beloved breed and club.