Shelby Co. Humane Society donor files suit over alleged misuse of funds
The lawsuit claims former board president Mark Smith "misappropriated" donations.
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Shelby County Humane Society (SCHS) is looking for donations, after its former board president is accused of misusing funds.
A lawsuit was filed May 29 against the board's former president Mark Smith. According to the lawsuit, a donor gave funds to Smith that were to be donated to the humane society. Instead, the lawsuit claims he "misappropriated" that money to pay off his loans.
It's not clear how much money is involved. But the lawsuit lists multiple $50,000 donations from different groups. According to attorney Gregg Neal, who is representing the donor filing the civil suit, auditors are combing through months and potentially years of finances to determine exactly how much money could be missing or misused.
According to the lawsuit, Smith is also accused of cashing the donor's $115,000 Certificate of Deposit without her knowledge. Neal said Smith did this in his role as an employee of Citizens Union Bank.
Smith was suspended as the board's president in February and resigned in March.
Here is a copy of the lawsuit:
Shelby County Judge Executive Dan Ison couldn't comment on specifics of the lawsuit but said it's a complicated situation.
"There are several not for profits that provide this service in our community. It's unfortunate the Humane Society is experiencing this problem and litigation now," Ison said.
He said the county also operates its own shelter that is separate from SCHS that can handle up to 30 dogs.
Ison explained that in January SCHS asked to take over the shelter's operations. However, he said that deal ended around April.
"Following 90 days of operation, the humane society came back and said financially we cannot meet our obligations. And the two of us came to an agreement we would terminate this contract," said Ison.
Neal added that the county was paying SCHS some money in the deal to operate the shelter. He said that when the board found out about the potentially missing funds and Smith resigned, the county was very understanding about canceling the contract. Neal said there was not enough money for SCHS to cover the costs of operating both.
Ison called the Shelby County Humane Society "an outstanding organization that provides a great service to our community."
Plans to build a new campus are on hold. But board members say, even with the uncertainty, they have no intention of closing the center's doors. They're still making plans for future improvements with the community's help.
The humane society is in need of monetary donations and supplies -- especially cleaning supplies. Here is a list of items they'd like to receive:
- Green beans (no sodium)
- Canned pumpkin (100% pure pumpkin)
- JIF peanut butter
- Easy Cheese (aerosol cheese)
- Dog or cat treats
- Canned cat food (Friskies preferred)
- Canned dog food
- 4-Health dry dog or cat food
- Paper towels
- Bleach wipes
- Laundry detergent
- Tall kitchen trash bags
- Gallon freezer bags
- Dryer sheets
- Dog or cat toys
- Cat litter
- Pee pads (large dog size)
- Small throw blankets
- Cat/small dog beds
- Gift cards
You can drop off any supplies at the SCHS main location at 400 Hudson Blvd., Shelbyville, KY 40065.
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