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Charity CEO disappeared after subpoena

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 18. 2018 4:28PM

A Weare man found dead over the weekend in Merrimack was subpoenaed earlier this month by the state’s Division of Charitable Trusts in the Attorney General’s office, seeking financial records for the Manchester-based nonprofit The CareGivers, Inc.

Family members reported Donny Guillemette missing on Sept. 11. He was the president and CEO of The CareGivers, Inc., a local nonprofit that assists the “frail, elderly and disabled in order that they may maintain their independence and dignity,” according to the firm’s website.

Thomas Donovan, director of the state’s Division of Charitable Trusts, confirmed Monday that Guillemette and additional members of The CareGivers, Inc., board of directors were issued a subpoena Sept. 6 for failure to file annual reports as required under RSA 7:21 for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“We issued a subpoena on Sept. 6 for Guillemette and the board of directors because they were overdue on filing annual reports with us,” said Donovan. “No complaint had been filed against them; we had been asking for the reports to be filed. When there was no response, we sent a subpoena.”

The subpoena, a copy of which was released to the New Hampshire Union Leader following a Right-to-Know request, shows state officials were requesting:

• Complete annual reports for years 2015, 2016 and 2017;

• Tax and wage records for all employees from Jan. 1, 2015 to present;

• Records of reimbursements of expenses to directors from Jan. 1, 2015 to present;

• Bingo and Lucky 7 receipts from Jan. 1, 2015;

• Records of revenues and expenses from Jan. 1, 2015;

• Financial records from Jan. 1, 2015; and bank records including cancelled checks, deposit slips, bank statements and loan agreements from Jan. 1, 2015 to present.

The subpoena instructs Guillemette and other board members to produce the requested information at a meeting scheduled for Sept. 25 at 10:30 a.m.

“The meeting hadn’t taken place yet,” said Donovan. “We were notified Friday Mr. Guillemette was missing.”

Donovan said upon learning Guillemette was missing, his office issued a subpoena last week to the bank the nonprofit used, seeking all bank records.

Donovan said after hearing of Guillemette’s death, his office contacted the remaining board members and agreed to move the scheduled meeting with them to Oct. 11 “to give them time” to gather the requested information.

“The board members have been very cooperative with us,” said Donovan. He said his office had not received any response to their inquiries from Guillemette prior to his death.

Donovan said his office investigates “20 or so” cases a year of nonprofits failing to file annual reports.

“Most are found to be cases of negligence or poor record-keeping,” said Donovan. “Sometimes there is more to it.”

Tax-exempt status revoked

According to Donovan, The CareGivers, Inc., board members Ruth-Ellen Mason of Manchester, Steven Scheiner of Manchester, and Jennifer Ware of Amherst also received copies of the subpoena. Calls and emails to Scheiner were not returned Monday. Attempts to reach Mason were unsuccessful.

A call placed to attorney Rebecca Rutter-Sanborn, listed on The CareGivers, Inc., website as a member of the board of directors, was not returned Monday.

Calls placed to the nonprofit’s main office on Perimeter Road in Manchester Monday went to staff voicemail. Messages left for staff seeking comment were not returned.

According to GuideStar USA, Inc., an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revoked The CareGivers, Inc., tax-exempt status for failing to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for three consecutive years.

“Further investigation and due diligence are warranted,” the website says.

The most recent Form 990 filing — filed with the IRS in 2014 — shows The CareGivers, Inc., took in $326,569 in total revenue that year, down from $437,918 in 2013. The nonprofit paid out $205,578 in salaries in 2014, including $63,616 in reportable compensation — and $17,389 in “other compensation from the organization” — to Guillemette.

Guillemette was last seen about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Weare Middle School, police officials said. A call placed to Weare police requesting the manner of his death was not returned Monday.

On Sunday evening, Weare police posted a message to the department’s Facebook page saying Guillemette was found dead.

“It is with sadness that the Weare Police Department announces that Donny Guillemette has been found deceased in the town of Merrimack,” reads the Facebook post. “Thank you all for your kind offers of assistance as well as your thoughts and prayers for the Guillemette family during this difficult time.”

According to his Facebook page, Guillemette was a native of Sanford, Maine, received an advanced degree from Rivier University in 2014, and was married with four children.

On Monday, Cheryl Worswick of Scarborough, Maine, a former classmate of Guillemette, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $200 to sponsor a seat in the new Sanford Performing Arts Center in his memory. As of 8 p.m. Monday, $455 had been donated.

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