Dolphins swim club struck from corporate registry

A Regina swim club embroiled in controversy failed to file its 2012-13 financial statement with the provincial government and has been struck from the corporate registry, meaning it can no longer represent itself as a non-profit corporation.

Turmoil continues to swirl around non-profit group

Andrea Mac Murray says she was booted out of the Regina Optimist Dolphin Swim Club after raising financial concerns. (CBC)

A Regina swim club embroiled in controversy failed to file its 2012-13 financial statement with the provincial government and has been struck from the corporate registry, meaning it can no longer represent itself as a non-profit corporation.

Concerns about the state of the Regina Optimist Dolphin Swim Club's finances have played a central role in growing turmoil around the organization.

Anonymous fax sent to auditor 

Back in November, Andrea Mac Murray went to a Regina mall and anonymously faxed a letter to the club's auditor asking a series of questions about the state of the organizations finances.

The fax asked questions about payroll, fundraising and financial reporting. It did not name any individuals and it did not make any direct accusations.

However, Mac Murray's children were kicked out of the club after officials learned she sent the fax.

They deemed the letter "was a breach of the RODS Code of Conduct," according to the letter of dismissal. 

Mac Murray said the fact that the club has failed to submit its financial statements proves that the club's finances are worth worrying about. 

"It just shows that what I'm saying and what I'm asking is not without grounds."

Fear of getting kicked out

She said the club hadn't reported on its finances for many months and she was concerned, but she also was concerned about speaking up.

"To get kicked out of the club. That is exactly what I was afraid of." 

A group of about 15 club members met in Regina Thursday night to talk about Mac Murray's situation and the state of the club. 

Parents such as C.J. Katz echo Mac Murray's concerns. 

"We haven't seen financials in a very long time in this club." 

'We feel like we're lost'

Connie Wagner said she pays thousands of dollars a year to keep her four children in swimming and she expects accountability. 

"As a member, we feel like we're lost and it's a very dark, a very dark room." 

In an email to members, sent Thursday afternoon, club president Nick Egarhos said: "The Board has always strived to maintain a culture of openness, insofar as our handbook allows, and will not be drawn into a mud-wrestling match in the 6:00 news."

CBC has asked the club for comment on these latest developments but has received no response. 

However CBC's iTeam has obtained documents that provide some insight into what might be going on. 

Auditor has many questions

A March 31, 2014 letter from the club's bookkeeper indicates that an extensive audit of the organization's books began on November 8, 2013. 

In the letter, Patricia Palaschuk said "questions raised by Auditor have been extremely detailed looking at all aspects of the club and all activities large and small."

Palaschuk said "the audit is not being delayed because the Board has something to hide from the members."

She explained that it's taking so long because there have been so many concerns raised by members, which require examination.

"I struggle to understand why members feel compelled to send anonymous faxes to auditors or engage legal council to address issues."

President confident audit will show no concerns

In his Thursday afternoon letter, Egarhos said "we are confident that the audit will show that there are no financial improprieties or concerns, a myth that a small faction has repeatedly alleged in the hopes that good people will begin to believe it."

CBC has also obtained a letter Palaschuk sent to Information Services Corporation requesting an extention to file the organization's financial statements on May 31, 2014. However, Palaschuk sent the letter on March 31, more than 2 weeks after the corporation had been struck. 

An email from the Ministry of Justice explains that once a corporation is struck there can be consequences.

Being off registry comes with consequences

"The loss of the corporation’s “active” status may impact the corporation’s ability to qualify for grants or funding, apply for various licenses, deal with banks, remain as a registered charity within the meaning of income tax legislation."

Some concerned members are now calling for an immediate meeting with the board to discuss their many concerns. 

"We want things to be done in a transparent manner and with good governance," explained Katz. "Those are two fundamental rights that everybody has when they're a member of a club."

In Egarhos' letter, he said "my goal as president is to re-instate a culture of respect and civility amongst the membership, and enforce the code of conduct if necessary."