An alumni organization no longer affiliated with Palmer College of Chiropractic is fighting a court ruling earlier this month that would require the group to turn over to the college $1 million the group collected from its members.
Palmer and a group of 60 chiropractors, former members of The Chiropractic International Alumni Association, or TCIAA, filed suit against the organization in 2009, seeking an accounting of the group’s finances, damages and the dissolution of the organization.
According to a ruling filed Nov. 2 by Scott County District Judge Marlita Greve, the TCIAA later incorporated a second organization in Illinois, The International Chiropractic Alumni Association, or TICAA, and transferred its assets to that organization, “for the purpose of merging the old corporation with it so that they could change their corporate domicile and avoid lawsuits.”
Greve ruled that the merger and transfer of money was improper because the membership of the organization was not given an opportunity to vote on the changes.
Greve ruled that the formation of TICAA left the original organization, TCIAA, as “a shell corporation” that should be dissolved and gave TICAA 30 days to turn over the assets that used to belong to TCIAA to Palmer.
“The money should go to Palmer because it was the intended beneficiary of the funds to begin with,” Greve ruled.
Patrick Roby, the attorney representing the alumni group, said Wednesday he was filing a motion asking Greve to reconsider her decision and declined further comment.
The dispute between the alumni and the school goes back to the 1990s, when the alumni cast a vote of no confidence in the college’s leadership.
The alumni group and the college clashed in 2004 over whether the alumni group should have a vote on the college’s board of trustees, and the college disassociated itself from the alumni group in 2005 and started its own alumni group.
The severed alumni continued with their own organization.
Dr. Trevor Ireland, chairman of the Palmer board trustees, said the college wants to put the legal battle behind it and use the money to fund scholarships for students at the Davenport campus. The college is willing to credit the alumni association with raising the money.
Ireland said Tuesday the college had not yet received the money from the alumni group, which he estimated would be between $800,000 and $1.4 million.
Ireland called Greve’s decision in favor of the college “blatantly clear.”