Elsewhere online
May 09, 2013

Pa. Ends Hershey Trust Inquiry and Orders Governance Changes

Pennsylvania's attorney general and the Hershey Trust announced a settlement Wednesday that ends a two-year state investigation of the $10-billion charity's financial and property moves, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The deal with Attorney General Kathleen Kane imposes lower compensation and tighter board governance of the charity, which was founded in 1909 by chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine. The trust operates a free private school for orphans and poor children.

Ms. Kane found that board members did not violate their fiduciary duty by buying a golf course near the school for $12-million, well above its appraised value, and spending $5-million to build a club house and restaurant on the property, or by purchasing an adjacent roadside market for $8.6-million.

The state has been investigating the organization's finances since 2011, when a former president of the trust leveled allegations of financial wrongdoing. The school said this year that it would close the golf course and build student housing on the property.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion column on problems with the Hershey Trust's governance and a response from the charity.