The board of directors of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade has notified the New York State Attorney General’s office about a “misuse” of parade funds which includes a number of unauthorized expenses dating back to 2010, the Irish Voice has learned.
The transactions in question include multiple “drugs for men” charges by the board’s Parade and Celebration Committee Chairman John Dunleavy, and several other expenses for airfare, restaurants, lodging, clothing and office supplies.
On Friday, November 20, a letter was sent to Deborah Y. McCarthy, assistant attorney general in the Charities Bureau, in compliance with the New York State Not for Profit Revitalization Act of 2013 which requires stricter auditing of non-profit groups. The overseeing board of the parade, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc., has non-profit 501 (c) 3 status.
The letter, signed by the board’s Executive Secretary Hilary Beirne, was attached with a forensic accounting report ordered by the board in June that covered fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015, and a list detailing the unauthorized charges by Dunleavy and Carla Chadwick, who had served as Dunleavy’s assistant until he was demoted by the parade board during a June telephone meeting.
Dunleavy’s expenses include five charges of $42.94 each on the parade’s American Express card in 2012 and 2013 for the male enhancement pill Triverex.
Other unauthorized purchases by Dunleavy include a December 3, 2013 charge of $1,038.24 at the Men’s Wearhouse in Scarsdale; a July 2015 $863.92 charge at a Sunoco in Hopewell Junction, NY; $400 in medical charges in April of 2014 that were redacted in compliance with HIPAA privacy laws; a $429.23 Aer Lingus charge on July 4, 2015; a $100.24 charge at Free States Liquor in Elkton, VA on May 22, 2015; and hotel room charges at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, VA on May 24 and 26 of this year totaling $1,510.82 for two rooms each date. Restaurant/pub charges of $339.47 and $88.91 also coincided with the Virginia trip.
Three cloud storage devices and two printers totaling $1,214.63 were also charged to the board in 2015. The audit noted that one of the printers and two of the cloud devices are missing from the board’s Bronx office.
In addition, the letter alerted the Charities Bureau about “recurring out of town trips for which there was no indication that said trips were related to company business, let alone that they had prior approval by the corporation. In particular, there were 14 such trips over three years, with a total cost of $24,000. The trips involved former Chairman John Dunleavy, former board member Mike Cassels and Carla Chadwick, who is not an officer, director, or employee of the corporation.”
The letter also confirmed an Irish Voice report earlier this month that the board planned on reaching back beyond the three years covered by the forensic audit to uncover further possible financial irregularities. “A subsequent internal analysis of expenditures going back to late 2010 revealed an additional $10,000 in questionable charges by Mr. Dunleavy,” the letter stated.
The unapproved transactions unearthed by the forensic audit also included two expense checks issued to Chadwick in May and June of this year for “military” meetings totaling $558.04. Chadwick was also reimbursed for a $514.20 charge at the Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan on March 18 that included a $100 gratuity.
The letter to the Charities Bureau stated that Dunleavy and Cassels were notified about the forensic audit’s findings of “financial improprieties” in two separate letters from the board dated September 4 and 15.
“Dunleavy was informed that the ‘questionable charges include multiple charges of drugs for men; golf outings in Myrtle Beach; multiple checks issued to Mike Cassels and Carla Chadwick; hotel expenses for Carla Chadwick; reimbursement checks written for expenses already paid for by the parade American Express card; and other expenses that are undocumented and questionable accounting to more than $20,000,’” the letter stated.
“While Mr. Cassels has reimbursed the corporation for the undocumented and improper expenditures, Mr. Dunleavy has ignored the aforesaid September 15 letter and has failed and refused to address this serious situation.”
Cassels was removed from the board in September because of his misuse of parade funds. He reimbursed the board with a check for $1,752.86, which covered the amount that he billed the parade for expenses that had been previously paid.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office told the Irish Voice via email that a timeframe for acting on the letter would be difficult to gauge as there are “always a variety of factors,” spokesperson Doug Cohen wrote.
Co. Westmeath native Dunleavy, 78, placed a full page ad in last week’s Irish Echo and offered to step down from official involvement in the parade – but only if board chairman Dr. John Lahey, who was appointed in June, did the same. Dunleavy launched a lawsuit against Lahey and fellow board member Frank Comerford in the Bronx last month.
He also called for a “newly constituted board” to “conduct a fair and thorough examination of all the purported accusations against me and afford me my right of due process to answer these baseless charges, an opportunity which to date Dr. Lahey has not afforded me.”