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Red Cross invites public to view finances

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 7, 2002
In light of negative publicity about financial accountability by the American Red Cross, local Key Chapter officials are opening their books to the public.
Three reports last week on the CBS Evening News gave examples of financial misappropriation in Red Cross chapters in Baton Rouge, La., State College, Penn., Hudson County, N.J., and Baltimore.
Barry, along with Steven Bass, chairman of the Key Chapter's audit committee and Sherry Turbyfill, treasurer, say that the news reports were unfair.
Taking issue with the press
Bass, a loan officer at Trustmark National Bank, became a Red Cross volunteer in 1968. He said the CBS news reports were sensationalized.
Turbyfill said the Key Chapter is accountable to its board and the public for money that comes into the office. She also said contributions specified for certain national or international disasters are forwarded for that disaster relief. Contributions to the chapter that are not specified are held by the local chapter.
Chapters cooperate with each other
Turbyfill said more than $100,000 was donated to the Key Chapter for disaster relief in New York and Washington, D.C., following terrorist attacks in September. Items such as rubber gloves, Band-Aids and boots were also donated.
Barry said the Key Chapter reports to the national organization every year. As Red Cross chapters grow, reporting is required to the national organization every quarter. She also said monthly financial reports are done by a local accounting firm.