Judge's injunction keeps American Legion Children's Home open

The state attorney general has intervened on behalf of 44 children scheduled to be evicted from a children's home during the holiday season.
BY Ann Kelley akelley@opubco.com Modified: November 24, 2010 at 7:39 am •  Published: November 24, 2010
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Edmondson is alleging Kellerman, Wilson and Besa broke the law when they closed the home, according to the lawsuit. Allegations include:

• The executive committee failed to notify Edmondson's office about changing the purpose of the children's home's charitable trust.

• The three violated the Oklahoma Open Meeting's Act when they didn't post their meeting agendas, and didn't provide annual meeting notices to the secretary of state.

• They violated their fiduciary duties with respect to managing and safeguarding the charitable trust assets of the home.

Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, said the committee made the decision behind closed doors so no one but them knows what their reasons are for closing the home.

“That home has at least $3 million in assets and I and others believe the American Legion wanted the money,” Myers said.

Myers said none of the explanations American Legion state officials have given about closing the home make sense.

“One of the reasons they said they were closing it was because it was a financial drain, but that couldn't be any further from the truth,” Myers said. “DHS funds a majority and the rest is supported by donations. Not a penny comes from the state American Legion.”

State child welfare officials say finding homes for the 44 children who live there won't be easy if it closes.

Howard Hendricks, director of DHS, said at this time they are taking a twofold approach to the problem.

“We are making a contingency plan should the home close and we will work with persons who have expressed an interest in the continued operations of the home,” he said.