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Office Of The Attorney General Announces Settlement With Former Naral President Who Siphoned Funds For Personal Use

Press Releases

Kelli Conlin Is Barred From Serving As A Fiduciary Of Any Not-For-Profit Registered In New York; Is Required To Pay $20,000 In Restitution.

New York, NY - February 14th, 2014 - The New York State Office of the Attorney General today announced a settlement with Kelli Conlin, the former president of NARAL-NY Pro-Choice and its affiliated foundation, the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), in connection with a lawsuit filed in June 2012 that charged Ms. Conlin with abusing her position and using charitable funds for her personal benefit. Under the terms of the settlement, which is subject to court approval, Ms. Conlin will be permanently barred from serving as a fiduciary of any not-for-profit organization registered in New York State. She has agreed to dismiss claims against NARAL that she asserted and will pay $20,000 in restitution to NARAL. The restitution is in addition to the $75,000 she paid in 2012 in connection with her plea to criminal charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
 
The lawsuit charged that during her time as president, Conlin used NIRH funds to pay for personal expenses, including shopping sprees at luxury retailers, rental of a vacation home in the Hamptons, personal travel, dinners at fine restaurants and thousands of dollars worth of take-out meals from restaurants near her Brooklyn home. Prior to the suit, the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau also reached a separate agreement with NIRH and NARAL, requiring the organizations to adopt enhanced governance measures and financial controls, including stricter and more consistent review of expense spending by all the organization’s employees up to and including the president.
 
“This settlement brings closure to an unfortunate chapter in the life of these reputable organizations,” said Harlan Levy, Chief Deputy Attorney General and Counsel to the Attorney General. “This office is committed to rooting out abuses of power in the charitable sector, holding wrongdoers accountable and working with nonprofit groups to help them tighten internal controls to prevent fraud and other illegal conduct.”
 
Donna Bascom and Raquel Levin, chairs of the NARAL and NIRH boards, respectively, said, “We thank the Office of the Attorney General for its work throughout this matter. Following the uncovering of Ms. Conlin’s improper expenses, we worked with the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau to significantly strengthen our internal controls and board oversight. The settlement of this suit eliminates the final distraction remaining from Ms. Conlin’s tenure as president and allows our organization to focus on its mission of protecting women’s right to choose.”
 
The lawsuit was commenced by the Attorney General’s office following an investigation conducted by a Special Assistant Attorney General, John Doyle III, appointed by Chief Deputy Attorney General Harlan Levy, and was handled by Executive Division Senior Enforcement Counsel David Nachman and Assistant Attorney General Yael Fuchs of the Charities Bureau, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg. The Attorney General recused himself personally from the matter due to his late father’s past affiliation with the organization.
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