Friday, June 23, 2017

In Mosque's Factional Dispute, Ohio Court Orders Dissolution and Reincorporation

In State of Ohio ex. rel. DeWine v. Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque, Inc., (OH App., June 22, 2017), an Ohio appeals court exercising its original jurisdiction in quo warranto actions granted the state attorney general a writ allowing him to pursue the dissolution of the non-profit corporation which operates a Columbus, Ohio mosque. The court further granted the attorney general authority to oversee the creation of a successor entity to take over the mosque.  Two factions had both claimed to represent the mosque, and were involved in five years of litigation over which of the successive boards is the legitimate governing body of the mosque. The court agreed with a magistrate who initially heard the case, saying:
Omar Mosque, Inc. has violated many statutory requirements of [the Ohio Non-Profit Corporation Law] ... in failing to maintain a record of its members from the period of 2007 through 2011... [and] the failure to conduct an annual or special meeting of voting members for the election of directors in either 2009 or 2010.
These basic statutory requirements that Omar Mosque, Inc. violated would protect a corporation from the confusion and internal paralysis that this case has shown resulted when an internal division arose. Without a defined voting membership, regular meetings, and up-to-date membership roster, the authority of the board, and thus the legitimacy of the corporation itself, is no longer supported through recordable action.
The court added:
In light of the stable management provided by the Reash/Brey respondents, and the Khan/Ball board's willingness to efface itself from the day-to-day operation of the mosque, the oversight of the trustees or a receiver in this case may be limited to resolution of the current corporate dysfunction and need not intrude into the religious affairs of the mosque.