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College of Marin Foundation still on shaky ground

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David Eastis, who replaced Elliot as foundation director, was also dismissed in April. And attorney Angela Alioto has said that Eastis will be seeking $777,000 for wrongful termination. Eastis, she has argued, was fired for blowing the whistle on the financial mismanagement at the foundation.

All of this combined to alarm the college board of trustees.

"At that point, we had lost confidence in their ability to manage our funds," says college president Coon.

The College of Marin board asked the foundation to cooperate with a college-wide audit conducted by Crowe Horwath and to hand over $1.8 million in bequests that the foundation manages.

The foundation also announced in June that it is conducting its own forensic audit by KPMG.

Initially, the foundation rejected the college's demands. But in a letter from foundation attorney Rosemary Fei, the foundation now says it will cooperate with college auditors.

Turning over the $1.8 million to the college, though, is complicated, Coon acknowledges, because it has to be done following donor wishes and fund restrictions. But, he says, they are moving forward with that process as well.

"They can't just send us a check," says Coon.

The foundation currently has no permanent executive director and is waiting for the KPMG audit to be finished to act on any recommendations it might make. No one from the foundation was willing to speak on the record for this article.

Coon says he expects the Crowe Horwath audit to be completed by October. He's also optimistic that the college and foundation are moving in the right direction toward serving students.

"Until six months ago, it was a wonderful foundation. I hope they get straightened out and do what they're supposed to do," says Shiner.

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