RBHSEF’s False Draft August Meeting Minutes and My Suggested Substitute

Please see note at top of post below.  Thanks, c


August 15, 2012

Meeting Minutes

…   …   …   …

Visitor Comments:

Chris Robling had a lengthy, and forceful presentation of his views regarding the Foundation’s past bookkeeping practices. Of particular interest to Mr. Robling are the years 2003-2009 when the Foundation’s IRS 990 forms were erroneously filed as a 501(c)4 organization, rather than the 501(c)3 organization that it is. Mr. Robling has located the Foundation’s 990 filings on the IRS and Illinois Attorney General’s websites for the years in question, with the exception of the 990 for the fiscal year 2006/2007. Mr. Robling continues to look for the 06/07 990. Mr. Robling made a request of the RBEF Board for approval to look at the Foundation’s checkbook register during the years that the 990s were filed incorrectly, with the express intent of looking for contributions made to political organizations, referendum accounts, or family and friends.

[page break] 

Trustee Miezio and Trustee Newman responded to Mr. Robling’s requests, stating that the Foundation’s annual report, which lists all payments and receipts during fiscal year July 1 thru June 30 has been given to the school each year. However, the school has not kept those reports on record. Trustee Miezio will collect past annual reports and 990’s to give to Dr. Skinkis and RBHS to keep on file for any member of the community wishing to view them.

[End False Draft RBHSEF Minutes.]

[Start Robling Suggested Substitute:]

District 208 resident Chris Robling said he was appearing in person at the suggestion of Treasurer Miezio to make his request of the Board to view the RBHSEF check register from July 1, 2003 to the present.

Mr. Robling presented his findings from a review of seven RBHSEF IRS 990 submissions:

  • July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2004
  • 2004-2005
  • 2005-2006
  • 2006-2007
  • 2008-2009
  • 2009-2010 and
  • 2010-2011.

Mr. Robling referred to the discrepancy between RBHSEF’s founding and recent IRS status letter, which states the corporation is a 501(c)(3) organization, and the referenced 990s, each of which identified RBHSEF as a 501(c) (4).

Mr. Robling showed how the individual filings were consistent throughout in their presentation of RBHSEF as a “4” and not a “3,” by answering clusters of questions aimed at 501(c)(4)’s and ignoring other clusters aimed at 501(c)(3)’s, and not simply erroneous in one reply to one repeated IRS categorization question.

Mr. Robling also cited IRS instructions on the Form 990s about public disclosure, completeness and specificity via responses, the filings’ lack of responses to required questions, such as names of director/trustees, other governance questions, such as quorum, and RBHSEF’s consistent practice of reporting its grant-making activities as an “other” expense, while listing categories of activities without any dollar totals, and dollar expenditure totals without any link to grants.

Mr. Robling said activities of a 501(c)(4) generally include those of a 501(c)(3), but are considerably broader than those of a “3,” and reach areas not allowed for a “3.”

Mr. Robling said that, given the discrepancy between RBHSEF’s status, as a “3,” and its filings, as a “4,” and noting the significance of the distinction institutionally and with respect to community support, the easiest way to dispel confusion is to review the conduct of RBHSEF, as shown in its check register.

Mr. Robling said he was reasonable about how to do this.  He noted that RBHSEF officer comments from their April presentation to the District 208 board of education referring to privacy concerns regarding minor grant recipients were in conflict with the RBHSEF grant application, which makes public disclosure of grant receipt via television and the internet during the RBHSEF telethon a condition of application.

Mr. Robling said that District 208 staff had provided him with what appeared to be RBHSEF reports for 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, which itemize both the grant amount and the recipients, including RBHS students and staff.  Mr. Robling pointed out the more than 90 grants made by RBHSEF in the period, according to the documents, and the lack of any reflection of RBHSEF’s work in its 990s for the period.

Mr. Robling further noted that the very notion of “checks to minors,” as mentioned at the April presentation to the Board of Education by RBHSEF officers as a possible impediment to review of the check register, conflicted with the explicit language of the grant application, which states checks will be made payable to sponsoring organizations.  Mr. Robling said he could be amenable to a trusted third party, such as a retired judge, reviewing the check register.

Mr. Robling also reported that all of the 990s he had reviewed were on the website of the Illinois Attorney General, but that one, 2007-2008, was not linked to the IAG’s web page for RBHSEF.

Mr. Robling also requested a copy of RBHSEF’s 2006-2007 990.


[End Robling Suggested Substitute.]

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