Probe Begun Into Use Of Nonprofit's Funds For Director's Daughter's Tuition

The Hartford Courant

Rhode Island State Police are investigating whether Institute for International Sport Executive Director Daniel Doyle Jr. put his nonprofit's funds to personal use, such as paying part of his daughter's college tuition.

Police began investigating the institute's financial problems last month after Rhode Island's acting state auditor reported that the institute could not show how it spent a $575,000 government grant. In recent weeks, police have searched the institute's buildings on the University of Rhode Island campus, as well as Doyle's West Hartford home, and removed boxes of records from both locations. A source familiar with the probe confirmed Thursday that part of the investigation now involves the propriety of payments made by the institute.

The institute's 2007 tax form shows just under $40,000 in payments for "tuition." In an interview with The Courant in February, Doyle acknowledged that institute funds were used for a tuition payment for one of his children, but said the board of directors approved the arrangement.

"I barely used it," Doyle said last month. "I had in my contract a tuition remission for my kids. But in the last couple years, I haven't used it at all."

Doyle declined to comment further Thursday and would not provide The Courant with a copy of his contract.

Tax forms from the two previous years, 2006 and 2005, show a total of about $80,000 identified as "reimbursed expenses." Doyle said he wasn't sure if those were for tuition payments, and said they might have been repayments of loans Doyle said he made to the institute. He said he wouldn't know for sure what those reimbursements were until the completion of a comprehensive audit of the Institute's books going back more than a decade.

"It's not that I'm hiding anything, I just won't be able to give you good answers until this whole thing is done," he said.

The institute runs programs for teenagers around the world, such as last year's World Scholar-Athlete Games and World Youth Peace Summit held in West Hartford.

A former institute employee, Rhode Island resident Paul Kelley, told the Providence Journal this week that Doyle used institute funds to pay for personal expenses, including mortgages on investment property in North Carolina, and costs associated with his for-profit summer camps.

In 2003 and 2004, Doyle and an investment partner bought two vacant lots on Bald Head Island in North Carolina. By the end of 2005, the institute had paid nearly $3 million, most of it borrowed, to buy six other properties on the island.

Kelley, a bookkeeper for the institute from 2007 to 2011, told the Journal he found a few payments from an institute bank account that covered mortgages on Doyle's personal property on Bald Head Island.

Tax filings show that the institute paid more than $1 million in interest charges from 2004 to 2009, but do not specify which loans the payments were connected to.

Kelley also told the Journal that he questioned invoices from a Connecticut printing company and a Rhode Island sporting goods store. The institute was being billed for items like printing brochures and shirts for Doyle's for-profit summer camps, he said.

The camps, which include Camp Renaissance and basketball skills clinics, are separate from the institute and have been held for more than 20 years in West Hartford — usually at Kingswood Oxford School. Doyle announced last month that programs this summer will be held at the American School for the Deaf.

Unlike more than 450 other youth camps in Connecticut, Doyle's camps are not licensed with the state Department of Public Health.

Kelley told the Journal that he has talked to Rhode Island State Police.

While investigators are looking at potentially inappropriate payments by the institute, Doyle said last month that he has consistently received less from the institute than he was entitled to.

Tax forms from 2002 to 2009 show payment for Doyle's compensation was as high as $229,000 and as low as $97,000. He said the audit, which began six months ago, was initiated in part out of concern by board members that Doyle was owed money.

"One of the things that prompted it, to be honest, was my board saying to me: 'Boy you've missed a lot of paychecks and have loaned the institute a lot of money and never gotten paid back,'" Doyle said.

The institute's tax form show just the opposite, identifying tens of thousands of dollars in loans made by the institute to Doyle or other officers. Doyle said those notations are erroneous and will be corrected as part of the audit.

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