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Indian-American-run charity to feed poor reported for 'accounting irregularities' to NH Attorney General, IRS

By RYAN LESSARD
Union Leader Correspondent

August 24. 2018 1:09PM




SALEM — A board of advisers to Salem-based We Care Charity has notified the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and the IRS of possible accounting irregularities.

The charity’s president, Shefali Kalyani of Salem, says the problem is a simple accounting failure and the charity has hired a CPA to correct any errors and refile taxes if necessary.

Thomas Donovan, the director of the Charitable Trusts Unit at the Attorney General’s office confirmed Monday he received material from the board, but had no further comment.

Jay Srinivasan, a former board member of the charity set up to feed the poor in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as India, said all eight members of the Indian-American-run charity’s board of advisers have resigned.  The advisers board is a non-governing body comprised of major donors.

Srinivasan says he is a retired vice president of a software company with a master’s degree in finance and accounting. He said he helped raise thousands for the charity in the past two years. But after looking into public tax filings and Quickbooks accounts he had access to, he said he found that up to $150,000 to $200,000 from the past few years was unaccounted for.

He took his concerns to the board and Kalyani.

Ranga Narasimhan, a real estate business owner and resident of Bedford, Mass., was one of the six board members who signed a letter addressed to New Hampshire’s attorney general.

“As a group, we agreed and signed the paper,” he said, adding it is now the job of the AG’s office investigators to look into the matter.

Board member Subu Kota of Southborough, Mass. is the owner of The Boston Group, a software company. He said he thinks the issue likely amounts to accounting errors and that he will support Kalyani, “once these issues are cleared.”

But he said the board had been unaware Kalyani was taking a $45,000 salary.

“That is something she did not disclose to the advisors,” Kota said, adding that he thinks Kalyani deserves a salary.

Kalyani acknowledges there are irregularities in the charity’s account but said there has been no mishandling of funds.

“(Srinivasan) is making up a lot of false allegations,” said Vinay Kalyani, Shefali’s husband.

He said their lawyer has served Srinivasan a cease-and-desist letter.

Srinivasan said he is saddened by how the issues may put a negative light on the Indian-American community in New England.

“I came to this country with seven dollars in my pocket. Now, I am a millionaire,” Srinivasan said. “This country did a lot for me and we only want to give back.”

Kalyani said the work of the charity continues.

“We grew up here. We want to give back to the communities that we live in,” Kalyani said.

ldnews@unionleader.com


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