I recently penned an article in the Northwest Asian Weekly about the battle for a Vashon Island landmark, the Mukai House and Garden. Late last year, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court ruling which dismissed a lawsuit by competing nonprofits seeking control of the landmark. The legal issue concerns whether a meeting was held pursuant to its bylaws.
Via the Northwest Asian Weekly:
The lawsuit was based on whether a June 2013 meeting was rightfully called to oust Matthews, Happy, and other officers in charge of Island Landmarks. According to court documents, Matthews and Happy “personally advanced more than $300,000 to pay the operating expenses of Island Landmarks, including real property taxes, utilities, insurance, and labor to maintain the house and garden.”
The attorney for Matthews and Happy contend that the Friends of Mukai did not follow the rightful process described in the bylaws in calling the meeting to vote on dismissing the officers. Originally, the Friends of Mukai had its claims dismissed. However, in late December, the appeal granted new life for the organization and its claims.
The underlying story is an interesting battle between two groups wishing the best care of a unique historical property. But the lesson to learn here is that when on a nonprofit board or a member of a nonprofit, it is the best practice to follow the Bylaws in accordance with the nonprofit. Even though rules for meetings may seem mundane, it must be followed or else the happenings of the meeting may be overturned. If you are on a nonprofit board and have questions, Cruz Law, PLLC has experience in advising nonprofits.