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Kelli Conlin, former NARAL New York president, is being sued by the New York state attorney's office for misusing $250,000 in charitable funds.
NEW YORK – The New York Attorney General’s office is suing Kelli Conlin, the former president of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) Pro-Choice New York, for abusing her position and misusing charitable funds, the Albany Times Union reported. Conlin led the organization and its affiliated foundation, the National Institute for Reproductive Health, from 1992 until she resigned in January 2011.
Last year, Conlin, 54, pleaded guilty to falsifying business records and agreed to pay $75,000 to NARAL Pro-Choice New York in exchange for avoiding jail time and probation, the Associated Press reported.
However, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office claims that Conlin siphoned off more than $250,000 for her personal use from NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health, the Albany Times Union reported.
The attorney general’s office wants her to repay all of it, with interest, plus reimburse the office’s investigative and legal costs in her case, the AP reported.
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According to the attorney general’s office, Conlin used charitable funds to pay for about $50,000 worth of clothing at stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York, a $17,000 vacation home rental in the Hamptons, at least $50,000 worth of personal dinners and takeout meals and the salary of her children’s nanny.
In a statement, the attorney general’s office said Conlin “perpetuated her scheme by falsifying her expense reports to conceal the personal nature of the expenses, maintaining tight control over the outside consultants who were charged with bookkeeping duties and intimidating NARAL staff members who raised questions regarding her expense habits,” according to the Albany Times Union.
“Ms. Conlin betrayed the trust of NARAL’s supporters and donors by using charitable funds to finance her lavish lifestyle,” the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau Chief Jason Lilien said, according to the Albany Times Union. “Our office is committed to rooting out corruption in the charitable sector wherever it exists, and we will vigorously pursue those who rip off charities for their own personal gain. This abuse of power is inexcusable, and we will hold Ms. Conlin accountable for her misconduct.”
NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health said today that they support the New York attorney general office’s lawsuit and now have more robust financial controls in place, the AP reported.
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