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Oklahoma county district judge orders halt to Community Health Charities of Oklahoma's bonuses

An Oklahoma county district judge Friday ordered a local health charity not to give any more employee bonuses without court approval.
BY RANDY ELLIS Published: February 4, 2012

An Oklahoma County district judge Friday ordered a local health charity not to give any more employee bonuses without court approval.

Judge Patricia Parrish also established procedures officials with Community Health Charities of Oklahoma must follow to resolve a leadership dispute and restore financial accountability to the organization.

Community Health Charities of Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization that collects money through donations and payroll deductions and financially supports 22 local health charities, a local official said. The group reported collecting $837,715 in contributions and grants in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011. It distributed $720,893 to charities that fiscal year. It is the local affiliate of Community Health Charities of America.

Leadership of the organization has been in turmoil for months.

A group of ousted board members filed a request for a restraining order Jan. 23. Ousted directors allege they were in the process of uncovering serious financial irregularities at the charity late last year when representatives of charities that receive money from them called a special meeting and voted to oust the entire board and replace it with a voluntary transition team that would run the board until a new board could be elected.

They claim their ouster was improper and done to end the investigation and cover up misappropriation of charitable funds.

In an affidavit, ousted board member Robert Everman said he had reviewed a portion of the charity's financial records and found financial irregularities involving payments to former Executive Director John Motil and Robyn Boswell, the charity's administrative assistant.

Motil and Boswell paid themselves for time they had already been paid, wrote themselves payroll checks for no apparent work, gave themselves high bonuses, gave bonuses to the bookkeeper assigned to oversee the charity's records, co-mingled personal and organization funds, provided their family members airfares at the organization's expense and paid for duplicate airfares, Everman stated.

Large checks written

Documents provided to The Oklahoman show Motil wrote numerous large checks to himself on the charity's account including a $14,000 check labeled as a bonus on Aug. 31, 2010, an $8,000 check on July 1, 2011, and a $5,300 check labeled as a “salary adjustment” on Dec. 18, 2009.

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