New Brunswick

Saint John police asked to investigate Cherry Brook Zoo

Saint John police have been asked to investigate "possible financial irregularities" at the Cherry Brook Zoo, the board of trustees announced on Thursday.

Board made decision based on advice of lawyer following review of financial statements

Leonard Collrin, the founder and administrative director of the Cherry Brook Zoo, suddenly parted ways from the zoo earlier this month. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

Cherry Brook Zoo's board of trustees has asked the Saint John Police Force to investigate "possible financial irregularities at the institution."

"After review of financial statements, by an outside accountant retained for that purpose and on advice of counsel, we have contacted the Saint John Police Force and asked them to investigate the matter," interim zoo director Martha McDevitt said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.

The announcement comes just weeks after the sudden departure of the zoo's administrative director, Leonard Collrin, and his wife Lynda Collrin, a volunteer.

The husband-and-wife team, who founded the zoo in 1978 and lived onsite, are no longer associated with the zoo.

"The board of trustees are committed to putting this important institution on a sound and sustainable footing and on the basis of a relationship of trust and transparency.

Lynda Collrin served as a volunteer at the zoo and lived on the property with her husband. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)
"This is why they felt it was important to bring their concerns to the appropriate authorities for a full and impartial review," the statement said.

No further comment will be provided now that police are investigating, it added.

The Cherry Brook Zoo is a registered non-profit charity whose mandate is animal conservation and education.

The most recent financial information for the Cherry Brook Zoo is from 2014 and shows annual revenue of $374,828 against expenditures of $393,433.

The Revenue Canada filing shows assets of $24,563 in 2014 against liabilities of $15,913.

The document shows the zoo paid $229,273 in compensation for five full-time and 13 part-time employees.

The highest paid employee was paid between $40,000 and $79,999, while the four other full-time employees were paid less than $40,000.

Operational expenditures by the zoo included $19,088 in travel and vehicle expenses and $60,195 in occupancy costs.