Current Events Hospitals

Shriner Hospital Corruption

Approximately one year ago today, I wrote about whether or not non-profit hospitals should be tax exempt (“Should Non-Profit Hospitals get a Tax Break?“). Generally, I concluded that they should not.

Flash forward to March 2007 and we see that The New York Times has an article titled “In Shriner Spending, A Blurry Line of Giving.” John Goline was struck by polio as a child, but can walk today due to treatment in a Shriners hospital. Mr. Goline was a huge supporter of the Shriner cause. This article continues:

“But [Mr. Goline’s] faith was shaken when he joined the leadership of the Suez Shriners in San Angelo, one of 191 temples affiliated with the order. He found that much of the money collected to support the hospitals was commingled with money used for liquor, parties and members’ travel to Shrine events. The Shrine’s national auditor largely confirmed his findings, but not before Mr. Goline was forced out of office.”

Other problems in the Shriner organization include:

  • “More than 57 percent of the $32 million the Shriners raised in 2005 through circuses, bingo games, raffles and a variety of sales went to costs of the fraternity, including keeping temple liquor cabinets full and offering expenses-paid trips to Shrine meetings and other events.”
  • “A top Shrine official told a meeting of temple treasurers that poor accounting for cash coming into the organization was ‘an increasingly common problem,’ and that more than 30 temples had discovered fraud — like theft of money and inventory, altered bank statements, padded payrolls and fake invoices — amounting to as much as $300,000 and involving members of their ‘divans,’ the five-member boards that govern each temple.”