The Mutual Musicians Foundation of Kansas City finds itself caught up in a scandal with legal dispute that alleges two of its leaders took money for their own purposes, a posting on the Kansas City Star website said.
According to the posting, Chairman James Hathaway allegedly took funds that were earned during weekend jam sessions and Vice President Anita Dixon has been accused of directing thousands of dollars toward a bank account and taking photographs, documents and other materials.
Dixon filed her own lawsuit in October 2016 in which she alleged board members had mismanaged money and violated bylaws, and she is also backing the serious allegations against Hathaway. Dixon claimed in her complaint that Hathaway had, essentially, made it easier sign checks without multiple signatures, which, Dixon alleges, made the fraud easier to commit.
Aaron Reese, director of communication of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Kansas City, recently spoke with the St. Louis Record about the situation and why the proper handling matters so much.
"When an organization faces a scandal like this, it is possible for it to persevere. However, the current accusations are quite serious," Reese told the St. Louis Record. "We do not have insight into the personal issues that may impact the future of the organization."
Reese said that normally these situations can be prevented by the appropriate preparation methods but that sometimes even those safeguards cannot guarantee such scandals.
"A high-performing board and strong bylaws usually prevent situations like this. When they do not, a third-party can be consulted to guide them through and help restructure," Reese said.
Currently, the control of the foundation has yet to be decided, and time will tell what the outcome is for the foundation and the leadership of it.
"The organization has ways to overcome this situation, but it will be difficult," Reese said.