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home : community : community Thursday, March 23, 2017

1/3/2017 11:35:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Settlement In Lao Family Dispute

By Amy Doeun

Just before the Hmong New Year Celebration began, the Lao Family Foundation Board of Trustees announced that a settlement had been reached with the Board of Directors. On Saturday, November 19, they held a press conference announcing the details of the settlement.

The Trustees have been in litigation with the Board of Directors for the past two years. The judge has made a decision on November 16, 2016, and the foundation has established new leadership. Xiong Pao Moua, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, explained that the board of trustees was made up of community leaders from each clan. Currently there are 16 members of the board.

The history of the Board of Trustees goes back to 2012. Mee Vang, Secretary for the Board of Trustees explained that the Lao Family Foundation is a separate entity from Lao Family of Minnesota. The Foundation was established in 2012 while Lao Family of Minnesota was under, "surveillance from the Attorney General's office. There was some misappropriation of funds. It was decided that the Board of Directors can no longer handle funds from charitable events" and a separate Foundation was set up.

"The previous Board of Directors complied with this decision," Vang said.

But in 2015 a new Board of Directors was named for Lao Family of Minnesota. In the past the directors have been established through an election process, but this new board, "was hand selected" according to Vang, "We don't know how they were selected or who selected them."

However they came to the Board of Trustees. "They were introduced as a committee to handle charitable events," explained Vang.

According to Moua the dispute between the Trustees and Directors goes back to 2014. "At the end of the term we elected a new Board of Directors. They came into office in 2015." Moua added that the new board changed everything about the organization even down to the articles of incorporation. The Trustees discovered the changes and went to the Board of Directors.

Moua said, "It was clear that the Directors did not want the Trustees to oversee them." Lao Family of Minnesota, is centered in St. Paul and affects the Hmong community across the country and the world. Its two main events each year, The Hmong New Year and J4 Soccer tournament draws "thousands of observers from the state and nation-wide," said Mee Vang who held the press conference. Vang added, "Thank you in advance for understanding the impact this issue has on the vibrancy of Minnesotans. We are anticipating strong community support in hosting the Minnesota Hmong New Year celebrations next week."

The court decision favored the Trustees of the Foundation and re-established a clear distinction between the Lao Family Foundation and Lao Family of Minnesota. Moua said, "The other side surrendered, to resign and turn everything over to the governing board of Trustees."

The Hmong New Year was held November 25, 26, and 27. It was a strong and vibrant celebration as usual.




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