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Charity President Offers To Quit After Critical Atty Gen Report

July 21, 1987

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The founder of a charity for terminally ill children says he will offer his resignation following a state attorney general office’s report criticizing him for financial mismanagement.

The office said an audit of the Sunshine Foundation revealed $33,980 in ″unsubstantiated″ expenses, most of them incurred by founder William Sample, a former police officer now the charity’s president.

Sample said late Monday he would offer his resignation when the board meets July 29, rather than incur negative publicity that could hurt the charity’s efforts to raise $2 million this year.

″My feelings are greater about the Sunshine Foundation than you can imagine,″ Sample told The Philadelphia Daily News. ″It’s up to the board. I will not hurt the foundation. If I’m asked to leave, I’ll go.″

The Daily News reported Monday that the attorney general’s office chastised the foundation for faulty fiscal management in a report given to the charity’s board last week. It said the report also recommended sweeping changes in how the foundation manages donations.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Mollie A. McCurdy said she would not pursue criminal charges against Sample because there was no evidence of criminal intent to misuse charitable contributions. However, the attorney general’s office retains the power to impose civil penalties, including dissolution of the charity.

″This office’s course of action will depend on the board’s response,″ the report said.

The report concluded the foundation’s activities, including free trips for children to Disney World, Hershey Park and the Pocono Mountains, have ″not been impeded,″ and noted the foundation ″overall fulfills its purpose admirably.″

″It is important to note there have been no allegations of fraud and certainly not even a suggestion that any children have been deprived,″ Sample said.

Sample, 51, a former city police officer, acknowledged in a June 29 interview that the foundation had problems, but said he had not misspent its funds.

Founded with $15,000 in 1976, the charity reached beyond Philadelphia to serve about 2,000 children per year through 31 chapters nationwide.

The charity has been rocked since January by allegations of mismanagement leveled by Sample’s estranged wife, Helene Sample, 49. After a decade with the foundation, Mrs. Sample quit her job as Sunshine business manager last October but remains as executive vice president.

A limited audit by Price Waterhouse, a company hired by the board in March, and the state attorney general’s office corroborated many of Mrs. Sample’s assertions.

In April, the foundation’s board rejected Sample’s offer to resign from his $50,000-a-year-position.

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