League City museum board accuses officers of financial misconduct, seeks TRO

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 12, 2011, 6:35am

GALVESTON - Three board members of a League City museum allege that the museum's president and treasurer are committing financial misconduct and violating the organization's bylaws.

Melanie Wiggins, Lou Shields and Elise Sartwelle filed suit against the Butler Longhorn Museum, President Bette Specion and Treasurer Jane McFaddin on May 2 in Galveston County District Court.

The original petition explains that the plaintiffs, who were elected to the board in December, inquired about the museum's financial books and records, including the annual reports.

The documentation was important as the city of League City has an agreement with the museum to provide a certain amount of financial support, the suit states.

The complainants add the city is on the verge of eliminating the funds.

Specion and Anita Butler, one of the vice presidents, presented a business plan to the city council at a March 8 meeting, only to have it rejected on grounds that the finances were not in order and did not correlate with the museum's proposed business plan to raise its own funding.

The city informed Specion and Butler that there will be no financial assistance beyond June 30 unless a viable plan surfaces.

The suit further states that the plaintiffs continued to seek the books and records so they can secure aid from the city, but the defendants reportedly refused to turn the paperwork over.

It adds meetings were held without proper notice to neither the bylaws nor the complainants, and the museum's supposed financial mishandlings garnered the attention of the Internal Revenue Service.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order and temporary injunctive relief barring the defendants from taking any action in violation of the bylaws, unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

They are represented by Tritico Rainey PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia.

Case No. 11-cv-0725

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