8
   

Using organization money for private use

 
 
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 02:49 pm
Can you help me?

I am a treasurer of a dying student organization. Last semester we had general meetings that only consisted of officers because none of us were very committed to it. All officers except me and a friend graduated, and we both agreed that its best to let the organization die away. Is it ok for me to take the organization money for personal use?

My friend wants me to share to the money 50:50.
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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 3,477 • Replies: 42

 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 03:14 pm
@Twilight2010,
If you are a 501c3, the answer is no. Otherwise, the answer is very likely no.

Assuming the US, of course.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 03:26 pm
@Twilight2010,
Sounds like this is a student club. What do your school's rules say? Surely you have an advisor - and I suspect this is not the first time this kind of thing has come up. So, what do they say?
Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 03:41 pm
@jespah,
The rules mention nothing about this. But I feel like I am doing nothing morally wrong...after all it is money from dead organization. I would be obligated to use money for organization if it exists, but not when it doesnt.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 03:46 pm
@Twilight2010,
Twilight2010 wrote:
Is it ok for me to take the organization money for personal use?

My friend wants me to share to the money 50:50.


Where I come from this would probably be theft. You should seek legal advice, if only to establish on record your good faith.


Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 03:54 pm
@contrex,
Can you tell me why you think its a theft? No officers and members are interested in this club anymore. I have no obligation to organization that is dead.
Ragman
 
  3  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:03 pm
@Twilight2010,
You say the organization is dying? Then as treasurer you should make a sincere effort while you can still find all the members that contributed. you as Treasurer are obligated to reimburse.

The reason you should not keep the money is because the people that contributed their funds did so under an assumption that it was dues or financing of a club - not lining your or anyone else's pockets. You are ethically challenged if you think otherwise. Find a way to reimburse the people that contributed. Use the member's list of contributors and refund every cent.
Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:06 pm
@Ragman,
Previous treasurers hadnt recorded who the members are and way to contact them. Basically I have a bag of cash with no names so reimbursement isnt feasible.

Sure there are few people who I can reimburse since I know them personally. But even if I do that, more than 90% of money will be left out.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:08 pm
@Twilight2010,
Wrong. What you're suggesting is not ethical. You asked for others advice. Now it's your choice to follow the ethical path or not.

If you have to advertise in the student newspaper, you should do so. I have no inkling of an organization that kept no records and is so poorly organized. Regardless, that money is not yours. Contact the university and ask for their advice.

Twilight2010
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:17 pm
@Ragman,
I will contact advisor if I feel like taking dead organization money is unethical. Can you explain why what I am trying to do is unethical? I dont think anyone is harmed by it so no wrongdoing.

I am treasurer so I can manage the money I want to. Normally it would be for the club only but since its dead, I can decide.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:20 pm
@Twilight2010,
Quote:
I am treasurer so I can manage the money I want to


Wrong. That is a fundamental misunderstanding. The money is not your personal slush fund.

You might want to reread what I wrote. Clearly you didn't agree and/or have no grasp of ethics. Ask your advisor to explain.
Twilight2010
 
  0  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:25 pm
@Ragman,
Lets say a stranger asks you to keep a sum of money for a certain time. You store the money for stranger but you hear that stranger is dead. You have no way of tracking his family who might benefit from the money. Since the stranger is dead, you are relived of your duty to keep the money for the stranger.
Do you disagree?
roger
 
  3  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:26 pm
@Twilight2010,
Twilight2010 wrote:

I will contact advisor if I feel like taking dead organization money is unethical.


This is what is meant by "grading your own exam." It isn't for you to decide if it's unethical. Since you seem to have decided to steal the money, why did you bother to ask?
Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:30 pm
@roger,
Actually what is ethical or unethical is relevant to your ethics (pro choice vs pro life for instance). Not everyone shares common morals. I dont see how taking money from dead organization is different from taking money from dead stranger who you promised to safeguard his money.
Care to explain?
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:31 pm
@Twilight2010,
You had a contract (implied) to carry forward the duties as a Treasurer of the club to manage the funds of the club. If the club ceases to exist, the last act you have as treasurer is for you refund the money however and wherever you can. I strongly suggest for you to speak to your advisor.

Your foggy view and philosophical stand about ethics..is just plain cotton-headed and self-serving.

This is the last comment I'll make here. I'll leave it to others if anyone feels the need to comment.
Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:35 pm
@Ragman,
If you were the advisor, and theres still 95% of money left after returning money to existing members, what would you advise? You can call me names sure but I am receiving impression that you cant articulate your opinion on an ethical dilemma.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:57 pm
@Twilight2010,
Besides your being ethically challenged, reading comprehension is not your strong suit. You seem to want people to agree with your viewpoint. Next time don't come looking for advice and opinions unless you really want them.

The university itself is more entitled to those leftover funds than you are. Ask the university through an advisor how the funds should be distributed.

You seem more interested in arguing than you are with doing the right thing.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 04:58 pm
@Twilight2010,
What was the original mandate of the group?

If I was advising the remaining members (or a member of the group), I think I'd suggest that any remaining money be donated to a charity with a related mandate/goal.
0 Replies
 
Twilight2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 05:02 pm
@Ragman,
You just demonstrated my point. Everyone can use ad hominem attacks but not everyone can defend their argument.

@ehBeth
Isnt deciding to give to a charity itself an example of a personal use, even if that charity has something in common with the club? After all, you can morally giveaway money you own, not someone else's money (which would be like robbing a bank to give money to AIDS support group).
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sun 22 Sep, 2013 05:19 pm
@Twilight2010,
Twilight2010 wrote:
After all, you can morally giveaway money you own, not someone else's money (which would be like robbing a bank to give money to AIDS support group).


Haven't you already decided to steal money that isn't yours?

Instead of giving away money that isn't yours, you're talking about keeping money that isn't yours, and apparently attempting to prove it's no worse morally than some other options.

These weird situations come up occasionally IRL. Most jurisdictions have legal ways of dealing with those situations.

In the jurisdiction I'm in, donating the money to charity was the only way to disband a group I was part of that didn't involve a lot of legal paperwork (and more money than was left in the group's bank account).

Good luck with your game of Moral Twister.
0 Replies
 
 

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