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May 03, 2016

Pa. Asks 3 Board Members to Resign From Hershey Trust

Pennsylvania's attorney general wants three trustees to resign at the Hershey Trust, which operates the Milton Hershey School, according to a letter obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The letter also asks the $12 billion charity to reduce board compensation in accordance with a 2013 agreement it made with the attorney general’s office following an investigation into alleged excessive board pay and the purchase of a golf course with school money. 

The letter calls on board members that have been serving for more than 10 years to be removed by the end of July. Although the letter does not name the trustees, those who have served longer than 10 years are Chairwoman Velma Redmond; Joseph Senser, vice chairman; and former chair Robert Cavanaugh.

The trust was established by candy magnate Milton Hershey to manage a private school serving poor students. It has a controlling interest in the Hershey Co. and owns the HersheyPark theme park. The organization has been in upheaval for years amid state investigations of its financial moves and faces further fallout from a federal criminal case against John Estey, a former top trust official who was charged Friday with pocketing $13,000 ostensibly intended to be used to lobby Pennsylvania lawmakers. The trust fired Mr. Estey, although the charges do not involve Hershey.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion column about the Hershey charity controversies.