Judge orders LCHS board to appear in court

By: 
Wade Young

Le Sueur County Judge Mark Vandelist wants answers from the Le Sueur County Historical Society (LCHS) and has ordered its three-person board to appear in court to explain themselves.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 1 p.m. It orders Jenifer Morsching, Donna Morsching and Evelyn Fierst to explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for their failure to abide by the court’s orders.

Vandelist is ordering an explanation of why the board has failed to provide court-ordered information and failed to pay its $11,000 in fees to the Special Master John Van de North, Jr. when it has assets of up to $1 million.

The order came on Friday after the plaintiffs’ attorneys requested an “order to show cause” for not obeying the court’s November 8, 2018 order, and Van de North’s orders dated November 14, 2018, February 11, 2019, February 21, 2019 and March 8, 2019, along with other requests.

Another reason for the order came from a March 11 status report from Van de North, who added, in his opinion, the court would appear to have the authority to demand the three appear in court. The retired judge stated ongoing disputes continue to delay production of financial records by LCHS and the payment of his fees, even though, he states, LCHS has the money.

“LCHS has failed to pay these outstanding bills primarily contending that it does not have the resources to do so. Because its production of financial information remains incomplete, the Special Master does not have a full picture of LCHS’ financial position,” Van de North wrote. “However, the financial statements produced by LCHS for a portion of the relevant 2014-19 period reflect significant cash reserves. Publicly available information (Guidestar reports based on LCHS’ (form) 990) also shows assets of approximately $1,000,000.”

See more and what Judge Vandelist's options are in the print edition.

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