According to the Minnesota attorney general’s office, a St. Paul nonprofit violated state law by allowing its community center — its biggest asset — to fall into disrepair.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office regulates nonprofits, announced this week that the Minnesota Cameroon community has agreed to improved policies and oversight.
In a settlement filed in Ramsey County District Court, regulators say the nonprofit’s board members failed in their fiduciary duty to properly manage and insure the community center in the Cameroon, in the district of St. Paul’s Energy Park. The council did not pay property taxes, register the nonprofit with the state, or maintain proper records.
The Minnesota Cameroon community did not admit or deny the allegations in the court order. As of Friday afternoon, no one within the organization could be reached for comment.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the Minnesota Cameroon community was first registered with the IRS in 2012. The organization raised funds in 2014 to purchase the community center for $200,000 and later raised more $60,000 from donors in 2020 for the center and to pay off its tax debt.
But the nonprofit only returned about $45,000 to Ramsey County in its debt, and it couldn’t explain how the rest of the donations were used, according to state officials. . It also failed to make necessary repairs to a boiler system, leaving the building unheated over the winter and causing flooding last year when water pipes burst.
As part of the settlement, the nonprofit agreed to establish proper board governance and policies, register with the state, keep the property from falling into disrepair or tax seizure and provide the State with quarterly updates.
“All directors and officers have a duty to protect nonprofit assets and prevent waste and disrepair,” Ellison said in a statement. “My Office’s Charities Division will continue to ensure that charities provide full oversight of their operations and assets as required by law.”
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