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Charity's records requested
by Kay Moore, Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle; Houston, Tex.; Mar 27, 1986

The state attorney general's office today requested that Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis (ARMS) of America Ltd. turn over all the records from its 15-month history, in the wake of claims that the non-profit nationwide group had misappropriated and mismanaged funds.

Assistant Attorney General John Vasquez, head of the AG's charitable trust division, and Serena Kuvet, of the AG's office, gained access to the records after they presented ARMS a letter from Attorney General Jim Mattox requesting the records.

Flanked by a state trooper, Vasquez and Kuvet entered the ARMS office at 1801 Main at 9:15 a.m. They presented the letter to a receptionist, who admitted the officials to offices behind the reception area. Later, they were joined by ARMS President Ira Morel and ARMS attorney J. Randolph Ewing.

Vasquez said he would be looking at ARMS financial records and ``any other records that we would find to be of interest.'' Vasquez said he did not know how long the investigation, which will be conducted at the ARMS office, would take.

He said that under the state's Miscellaneous Business Corporation Act he could not reveal what he might find in those records ``unless we file some kind of suit.''

Ewing said ARMS welcomes the investigation and wants to know if there is evidence of wrongdoing.

``ARMS has nothing to hide,'' he said. ``It's a non-profit corporation and, as such, the public has the right to know what has transpired.''

British rock star Ronnie Lane, who has MS, and his Scottish physician Dr. Phillip James in December requested the investigation. They furnished records to the attorney general's office showing that ARMS paid Houston attorney Mae Nacol, former ARMS director, at least $206,202 for legal fees, salary and reimbursement for expenses and entertainment since December 1984, when ARMS was founded. The organization was formed from more than $1.1 million raised primarily during a 1983 rock tour by Lane and some of his musical contemporaries. The records show that of the original $1.1 million, only $65,920 has been given to Texas A&M for research.

Nacol claims that much of the research designed by ARMS was to be conducted when MS victims called the organization's nationwide toll-free phone number, which was to be answered at the ARMS office.

 

 


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