Attorney General Cuomo Stops Illegal Sale Of Monticello Non-profit's Assets
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (October 28, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office stopped the illegal sale of a Monticello charity’s assets by the founder of the organization.
Attorney General Cuomo’s Office has obtained a court order temporarily barring Dominic Daniels, founder of The New Breed Foundation in Sullivan County, from selling the charity’s Broadway location in Monticello. Daniels established The New Breed Foundation which was active from 1999 to 2002, to promote Sullivan County as an arts and cultural destination. In 2005, he signed over the property to himself without the Foundation board’s knowledge or approval and in violation of state charity laws.
Earlier this year, the Attorney General’s Office learned of the existence of the Foundation and contacted Daniels to let him know that The New Breed Foundation must be registered with the state. Daniels responded that there was no need to do so since he dissolved the group – a statement that was found to be untrue.
“A number of well-intentioned local leaders joined Mr. Daniels to help start the Foundation with the good intention of supporting the arts in the region, but unfortunately were left with nothing to show for it,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Instead, the founder of this group used the Foundation as an extension of his own assets. We will not let individuals skew the mission of non-profit organizations for personal gain.”
In 2000, Daniels created The New Breed Foundation with the goal of promoting Sullivan County as a central location for movies, arts and culture. He established and chaired an eight-member board, which included local leaders and film industry representatives. The Foundation purchased an historic building at 433 Broadway in Monticello for $5,000 to use as office space. A number of local government grants were obtained to restore the property under Daniels’ supervision.
According to court documents, once the building was restored, Daniels – without the knowledge or approval of the board – allegedly spent Foundation money to make the building his actual home. He and his wife, Gillian Daniels, moved into the location sometime between 2002 and 2005 in violation of laws that prohibit residential occupancy of buildings on Broadway. Daniels never paid any rent for the personal use of the property and still resides there with his wife.
In November 2002, several board members resigned from The New Breed Foundation citing Daniels’ secrecy as to the financial accountability of the organization and his failure to file reports with state or federal agencies.
In 2005, Daniels, as chairman and CEO of the Foundation, signed over the property to himself and his wife for no cost and without the board’s knowledge or approval, and without prior court approval for the transfer of the deed, as required by state charity laws.
The Daniels have since listed the property for sale for $550,000. The Attorney General’s Office, upon learning that the location was for sale, warned Daniels that since he failed to obtain the proper approvals for the conveyance of the property from the Foundation to himself, the title was defective and unfit for sale. However, instead of taking the steps recommended by the Attorney General’s Office to clear the title (including seeking the required approval of the board of directors and approval of the court), or taking the property off the market, the Daniels continued to aggressively market the location.
As an immediate result of the Attorney General’s intervention, Sullivan County Court Supreme Court Judge Burton Ledina issued a temporary restraining order preventing Daniels from selling the facility. The Attorney General’s Office seeks to permanently bar Daniels from disposing of the property without court approval, remove Daniels from The New Breed Foundation’s board and dissolve the Foundation.