South Lake Tahoe Humane Society tax return shows losses |

South Lake Tahoe Humane Society tax return shows losses

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

A 1998 tax return filed by the South Lake Tahoe Human Society calls into question whether the nonprofit organization can afford to reopen its Meyers shelter.

The tax returns were obtained by the Tahoe Daily Tribune from the California Attorney General’s Office after a Freedom of Information Act request to the Humane Society two weeks ago was not answered.

The FOI act, filed by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, was supposed to be answered within 10 days by the nonprofit organization. Humane Society President Barbara Winfield told the Tribune last week the society had received the letter but she did not say when the Tribune could expect a response.

On the 1998 tax form, the Humane Society lost $21,381 in revenues despite the fact the shelter was closed and the Humane Society grossed $82,770 from contributions, program services, thrift store revenues and community fund-raising events.

The Humane Society reported $64,018 in expenses, although an exact accounting of those expenses was not filed and an independent accountant was unable to determine where the money went.

Those expenses do not include the more than $40,000 in salary and benefits paid to Dawn Armstrong, executive director of the Humane Society for more than eight years.

Armstrong, who was reported to have worked 60 hours a week, was the only paid employee listed on the IRS form.

The tax return listed two board members, former President Diane Rabkin and former Secretary-Treasurer Florence Thurm.

Also listed were the numbers for bookkeeper, Paula Gibson, and accountant, Jane Lommel. But when called, both numbers given were no longer in service.

Neither Armstrong nor Winfield returned phone calls placed late Tuesday afternoon.

The only person reached Tuesday was Thurm, who lives in Benicia, Calif.

Thurm said she just resigned from the four-member board a few weeks ago because she didn’t live in the area. She said she is tired of concerns being raised about the Humane Society.

“This (harassment of the Humane Society) has been going on for eight years,” Thurm said. “Everybody who cares about the Humane Society is working their tails off over it. We’re anxious to open the shelter.”

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