Horse Park to Consider Legal Options Against Former Board

The Board of Directors of the Fort Armstrong Horsemen’s Association is conducting an audit of their financial records for the past two years. That audit will be reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant to determine legal options against former board members. 

MANOR – The Board of Directors of the Fort Armstrong Horsemen’s Association met last week with their membership to discuss some disturbing news about their financial records.

The new Board led by President Laura Wilson took over January 1, 2018.

Wilson said she had been asking for documents and files as a previous Board member, and the former president refused to honor her request.

“Now that we have the 2016 (paperwork) which was held until the end of 2017, and the 2017 paperwork was held until the end of January, we are now going through the (financials). There are questionable things. There are checks written out that don’t have receipts. There are checks written out to ‘cash’. For a non-profit, we can’t write checks out to ‘cash’ and not have any receipt or invoice where the (money) is going and why,” Wilson said.

“We don’t want to speculate why certain checks were written out, but we are documenting it through our internal audit and then we will send it out to a CPA to do a review and let them make the decision if it is okay.”

If discrepancies in financial records are more than just procedural errors, criminal charges could be filed, Wilson cautioned.

Wilson indicated that in order to recreate 2016 journals, they had to pay for the bank to provide images of checks and deposits since there were none available in the financial records provided.

Wilson said that their internal audit is taking approximately three hours of volunteer work for every month of review to prepare it for the CPA.

Treasurer Tina Zanotto said that paperwork and fees had not been properly filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that currently, the organization was not able to solicit funds until the issue was cleared up.

“We received a notice from the State that our registration was not completed. The notice was originally sent in June 2017, and then on October 6, 2017, which we did not receive until mid January 2018. It said that there were a lot of things that needed submitted to the State in order to be registered and allowed to solicit funds. So we had to suspend any solicitation of funds. We can accept donations; we just can’t ask for them. We are required to provide our financial statements and they must have been reviewed by an external CPA.”

The Board agreed to spend $5,000 to hire a CPA based on fee schedules provided by Kathy Houston of Houston and Associates LLC with offices in Pittsburgh and Washington, PA.

Zanotto said that the CPA would also have to file an amended tax return for 2016 because the information was incorrect.

“Checks from the Foundation were included in the Association for 2016 and so we have to correct our tax return as well for that year,” Zanotto said. “Everything was reported as a contribution rather than breaking out what were contributions verses the money we get from when we rent the park.”

Since the first show at the Horse Park is in April, the Board was focused on clearing up their financial books so they could move ahead with fundraising activities.

Zanotto has converted the financial records over the computerized software QuickBooks. Full disclosure reports were available to all members and the public at last week’s meeting.

“We want to be open and above board with everyone,” Wilson said.