Sunday, October 21, 2007


Integrity/AFSC///Quaker charity sued over a doctor's legacy/ Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia/PA/USA/8-Oct-07/

....Manion's seven years as a fund-raiser for the Friends committee ended last month, when his contract wasn't renewed.

According to Manion, 43, he and the charity had a falling out for a couple of reasons. He said his bosses wouldn't accommodate him after his feet got painful - and were unhappy when he raised complaints in-house about the use of Eloesser's money.

The suit claims that the American Friends Service Committee used millions for purposes other than those specified in his will...John Treat, a charity spokesman, said he believed the grants went to health care in Latin America - though sometimes directly for medical care instead of training....


… Dr. Leo Eloesser planned his legacy down to the last exacting detail.

"I direct that my corpse be buried as cheaply as possible in whatever town or place I may happen to die," he wrote in his will on Feb. 14, 1975.

A celebrity doctor of his day, a friend of left-wing artists like Pablo Casals and Frida Kahlo, Eloesser insisted on the simplest of send-offs: His casket should be a "plain wooden box." His grave marker should cost $5 or less. The only extravagance: $500 for "a decent string quartet" to play a Mozart quartet in C major.

As for the rest of Eloesser's considerable family fortune from stock, real estate and businesses, he set it aside for loans to needy medical students. The bequest was in keeping with his twin devotions - public health and progressive politics.

As it turns out, Eloesser could not exercise the same kind of control over his money as he did over his funeral.

Thirty-one years after Eloesser's death at age 95, the Pennsylvania Attorney General is suing the American Friends Service Committee, saying the Quaker charity misspent Eloesser's bequest.

The Philadelphia charity has already paid back more than $1 million to an Eloesser endowment. It says it's still searching its books for a full accounting of how it spent the doctor's money - more than $8 million in all.

"Where are the Quaker values? Misappropriation of funds is not a Quaker value," said Patrick Manion, a former employee of the charity who says he alerted authorities to how the Eloesser funds were being used.

The charity insists that it spent Eloesser's money on worthy health-care causes, albeit not always precisely on medical training.

Indeed, the Attorney General's Office says there is no suggestion that anyone personally ripped off the fund. The purpose of the suit, a lawyer said, is to make sure Eloesser's wishes are honored.

Still, charity experts are troubled.

"A bedrock principle of well-managed nonprofit organizations is to honor the intentions of your donors," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy in Chicago.

"These other programs may be completely noble, but if the donor wants it used for Purpose A, it cannot be used for Purpose B. It's not good. It does not help current or future supporters of the AFSC to have confidence."

The dispute amounts to a strange and sad coda to a long life filled with adventure, high culture and political passion.

Unlike most such estate disputes, this imbroglio is noteworthy for the cast of characters: a whistleblower with painful feet, a Quaker group thought to be the soul of probity, and a long-dead doctor so short he had to stand on a milk crate to operate.

According to one in the dwindling number who actually knew him, the doctor had no time for chitchat.

"It was hard to have a social conversation with him," recalled Arthur Campbell, 83, younger brother of Eloesser's longtime companion, Joyce Campbell. "If you had something of substance to say, he would talk about it."

Maybe that's because he had so much to do.

Born in 1881 into a wealthy San Francisco society family, Eloesser built a busy practice in the Bay City while pursuing the leftist causes of the day.

He was a medic for the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War and a physician with communist forces in China just after World War II.

An amateur violinist, he played with the famous cellist Casals; he had his portrait painted by Kahlo, who also dedicated a famous self-portrait to him, "my doctor and my best friend"; and he gained notoriety as friend and physician to Tom Mooney, the socialist who became a cause celebre after his rigged conviction for a fatal San Francisco bombing in 1916.

Over his long career, Eloesser also was a pioneer in public health in developing countries, writing a manual on midwifery with medical drawings by Joyce Campbell. The work was translated into Chinese and Spanish.

He invented a surgical technique called the "Eloesser flap" to drain fluid from chest infections, still in use in modified form.

"Here's a man who at every point was where things were happening," said retired archivist Elena Danielson, who helped acquire Eloesser's papers for the Hoover Institution in California.

"In China, he would save lives in the morning, play the violin in the afternoon, and go to the Chinese opera in the evening."

Though his biographer insists Eloesser was no communist, his name came up in hostile reports during the Red Scare of the 1950s. His decades-younger companion, Campbell, faced grilling in 1952 from the Senate Internal Security committee.

According to his biography, this helped spur Eloesser and Campbell to move to a rural part of Mexico, where he operated a clinic for the poor. Eloesser died in Mexico in 1976.

Eloesser never married or had children. As for other relatives, they had "sufficient wherewithal to eat, clothe and house themselves comfortably," he wrote in his will. Any more money would be "superfluous."

Most of his money he set aside to "establish loan funds for medical students." Campbell picked the Friends to administer the fund, though Eloesser was not a Quaker.

Over the years, the $1 million endowment threw off about $6 million in interest that was distributed by the charity.

John Treat, a charity spokesman, said he believed the grants went to health care in Latin America - though sometimes directly for medical care instead of training.

Sometimes, charity officials go to court to try to free themselves from a will's restrictions. For example, the Barnes Foundation fought for years to win permission to move Albert Barnes' collection of art masterpieces from Lower Merion Township to Center City.

The Quaker charity never did that.

Treat says he believed Eloesser's executors informally agreed to permit wider latitude in how the money was spent.

"We thought we were acting in accordance with the executor's wishes," he said, though he could not document any such conversations.

According to a letter on file in Philadelphia Orphans Court, which hears disputes over wills, the charity did tell Campbell early on that it would spend only interest from the fund, leaving the principal untouched.

But in the late 1990s, the charity decided to abandon that pledge.

Auditors gave an opinion that the charity could spend down the principal as well, said Treat, who could not explain what prompted that decision. Whatever the reason, the fund was almost wiped out as a result.

The charity has no records showing that executor Campbell was consulted about the change, even though she was alive at the time, living in California.

Over the years, the Friends committee each year kept up to 20 percent of the fund's disbursements for administrative costs. In 2004, that unaccountably ballooned to 45 percent, Treat said.

"We're getting to the bottom of that," he said.

In 2004, Campbell died, at 89. Her death triggered a big new influx of cash into the Eloesser fund and, ultimately, an internal review of what the AFSC had been up to.

In his will, Eloesser had decreed that Campbell should get the rental income from his interest in a building in the heart of San Francisco. After she died, Manion, then a charity staffer, traveled west from Philadelphia to sell the Eloesser real estate, netting another $1.1 million for the fund.

According to Treat, this caused the charity to dust off Eloesser's will, leading to internal questions about how it had been spending Eloesser's money.

As a result, the committee halted all spending from the fund. According to a court filing, in 2005 the charity paid $1.14 million "to replenish the fund for any expenditures that may have exceeded the purposes stated in the will."

The whole mess might have stayed within the walls of the committee's Center City headquarters except for the plantar fasciitis - foot inflammation - of Patrick Manion.

Manion's seven years as a fund-raiser for the Friends committee ended last month, when his contract wasn't renewed.

According to Manion, 43, he and the charity had a falling out for a couple of reasons. He said his bosses wouldn't accommodate him after his feet got painful - and were unhappy when he raised complaints in-house about the use of Eloesser's money.

Though he won't confirm that he contacted the Attorney General's Office, Manion says he complained about the matter to the "appropriate outside authorities" earlier this year.

"When you receive restricted funds, that is the only way you can use the money," he added.

"You can't just translate it into what your wishes are. If someone's dead, they have no advocate. The only advocate that a dead person has is the Attorney General's Office."

Treat declined to respond to Manion's comments, saying the job history was a private personnel matter. He did say: "AFSC would never discipline someone for asking questions."

He also stressed that the charity halted spending from the fund on its own volition.

"When we thought there might be a question about this fund, we stopped and set it right," he said.

"Integrity is very important to the Quakers, and we try to always act according to the highest ethical standards."

In response to the lawsuit, the AFSC has pledged to turn over an audit in December of all the spending from the fund. As a precautionary step, the auditors will also scrutinize 13 other endowments worth about $8 million.

The Attorney General's Office is waiting for the audit results. The goal, an attorney said, is to make sure the wishes of Eloesser and other donors are honored.

"The remedy is up to the court," said Mary C. Kenney, a senior deputy attorney general. "Our job is to make sure the intent is carried out, that there is no diversion of assets. And if there has been, that everyone is made whole."….

Integrity/Arts///Ex-museum director faces sentencing/Cape Cod Times/Barnstable/MA/USA/30-Oct-07/….By then, his health had deteriorated along with his Quaker morality, Carter wrote.. He has glaucoma, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and chronic back pain, among other maladies. He had triple bypass surgery after a 2003 heart attack.

"In retrospect, I am sure the health issues have much to do with my general loathing of myself for my actions," he wrote. He also blamed stress. ….


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