A forensic accounting report on the internal controls, policies and procedures of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade under the leadership of Parade and Celebration Committee Chairman John Dunleavy concluded that “a number of important internal control, financial reporting and governance matters … need to be addressed.”
The Irish Voice has seen a copy of the report submitted by the firm O’Connor Davies at the behest of Dr. John Lahey, who was elected chairman of NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc. in June. The corporation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) and is legally authorized to act on all matters regarding the parade.
The report, dated September 3, 2015 and addressed to Lahey, pointed out a number of irregularities that occurred under Dunleavy’s watch, including the verbal approval of the “chairman of the Parade Committee … [of] all transfers of amounts between and among the corporation’s accounts. We noted that there are no formal, written policies and procedures regarding the transferring of funds between the accounts of the corporation. We also noted that written approvals for the transferring of funds for certain transfers, occurred after the transfer had occurred.”
The audit also revealed that there were “no written policies as to check signing protocol in terms of who the specific authorized signers are,” and that “several checks were pre-signed.”
The parade’s American Express credit card was also found to be used for charges that did not indicate “the nature, or purpose, of the expense incurred, also the users of the card do not provide the credit card receipts, nor is there a written policy regarding guidelines for use of the card.”
As reported by the Irish Voice in past issues, the audit revealed “numerous recurring out of town trips for which there was no indication of prior approval,” specifically 14 trips over three years, 2013 through 2015, undertaken by Dunleavy at a cost of $24,000. The trips were to Myrtle Beach and Washington, D.C.
“Separately, approximately $2,000 in charges of the chairman of the parade committee during this period, appears to be of a personal nature,” the audit found, “for which the corporation was not reimbursed.”
The report also revealed three instances of duplicate reimbursement – “i.e., the corporation paid the credit card bill and the person (a director of the corporation) then requested reimbursement by corporate check of the same expense. These duplicate reimbursements total $1,752.86.” The double bills were submitted by former board member Michael Cassels, who was removed from the board in September as a result of the billing. On September 26 he issued a check to the St. Patrick’s Parade and Celebration Committee that Dunleavy oversees to correct the irregularity.
The Irish Voice has learned that litigators defending Lahey and NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc. against a temporary restraining order filed in the Bronx Supreme Court by Dunleavy against the board’s meeting last week, and also against a lawsuit Dunleavy filed against Lahey, will audit parade finances prior to 2013 to investigate possible other irregularities.
As the September 3 O’Connor Davies audit pointed out, “the New York State Not for Profit Revitalization Act of 2013 established increased duties and responsibilities on members of board of not for profit organizations.”
Lahey and the board members, a source tells the Irish Voice, “will fully comply with the New York State law as it relates to non-profits, and will report that they have to report.”