John Dunleavy has been suspended by the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation, NYC until resolution of the investigation arising from the forensic audit report sent to the New York State Attorney General’s office, the Irish Voice has learned.
The foundation’s Executive Board convened by telephone on Friday, and a unanimous decision was made to suspend Dunleavy, chairman of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration Committee, due to allegations in the audit that Dunleavy racked up tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges paid for by the parade board since 2010.
The foundation was founded in 2012 by a group of leading Irish American business people interested in financially supporting the parade and its related activities. Among its members are 2015 parade grand marshal Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Hilary Beirne, the executive secretary of the parade who also serves as chairman of the foundation.
Other supporters include members of the board that oversees the parade, including Chairman Dr. John Lahey and NBC executive Frank Comerford, both of whom were named by Dunleavy in a court action filed in the Bronx last month alleging that they conspired to keep parade broadcast rights at WNBC instead of agreeing to a better financial deal offered by WPIX Channel 11.
Dunleavy was a founding member of the foundation. At the launch party, he was quoted by the now defunct Irish Examiner USA as saying, “It is important we support the foundation and ensure the future of the parade for the next 250 years."
The foundation hosts an annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day gala dinner and other activities throughout the year, including a golf outing. The Irish Voice has learned that for some time, several members of the foundation have been angered at how the parade conducted its business under Dunleavy’s leadership – particularly with regard to the issue of gay marching units -- and were relieved when a board vote in June elevated Lahey to the position of overall chairman, stripping Dunleavy of much of his authority.
“The foundation just couldn’t stand by any more,” one source told the Irish Voice. “Our biggest has been and always will be the parade. So we will wait and see what happens with regards to Mr. Dunleavy.”