TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The YMCA in Twin Falls violated Idaho’s charitable trust laws and practiced poor record keeping – but funds likely were not used for private purposes, according to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Wasden’s office investigated allegations that the YMCA’s former executive director misappropriated more than $1 million in restricted donations between 2011 and 2016.

“Specifically, the investigation showed that restricted donations were diverted for general operational purposes,” reads a news release issued Wednesday morning. However, “The investigation did not find that any charitable trust assets were used for private gain or purposes.”

It also was revealed there were problems with the Y’s charitable solicitation process and poor record keeping. The executive director, Gary Ettenger, resigned in April and left the newly elected board with little financial documentation.

In response to the findings, Wasden proposed best-practice recommendations to help the organization and its board of directors, among which include:

  • Increase its level of competency regarding fiscal administration, executive oversight and donor accountability;
  • Implement policies and procedures to ensure contributions are used to further the charitable mission; and
  • Retain a certified public accountant to organize financial records and prepare monthly financial reports for board approval.

“I appreciate the fact that the board is already taking many of these steps,” Wasden said. “I also think this investigation serves as a case study for all charitable organizations in Idaho and those who serve on boards.

“The lesson is that board members have an important oversight duty and responsibility to ensure charitable trust assets are being used appropriately.”

The board agreed to notify Wasden of any missing assets that are reported by the financial professionals now working to get the organization’s records in order.

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