Koret Foundation Feud Resolved with Resignations All Around

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September 29, 2016; Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The matter of who will control the Koret Foundation has been settled, according to a statement released by two principals in the case, both of whom will be leaving the foundation’s board.

Susan Koret, the second wife of the late founder, Joseph Koret, filed suit in 2014 to remove Tad Taube, the former CEO of the Koret clothing company (the source of the original foundation assets) from the foundation board, along with Richard Greene, a San Francisco attorney who was the foundation’s former general counsel. Mrs. Koret, named “chairwoman for life” in her husband’s will, tried to recover millions in grants she claimed were made by Mr. Taube that were outside the scope of the foundation’s mission. The trial deteriorated into character attacks between the parties.

JTA reports that the Koret Foundation was founded in 1979. (GuideStar lists the ruling year as 1966.) The foundation reported assets of $602 million and paid out $35,370,390 in grants in 2014. A list of 2014 grants, identified in the foundation’s return as “Attachment 20,” is not included with the Form 990 as posted on GuideStar. The list of more than 300 grants executed for 2013 is extensive and detailed, but any that may be in question in the suit cannot be determined.

Mr. Taube receives what might be considered a stipend for his service on the board—in fact, all the board members receive compensation. In the 2014 Form 990, the eight directors each received between $39,000 and $50,000, with Mrs. Koret receiving $42,500 and Mr. Taube receiving $46,000. The suit did not involve the compensation paid by the foundation to the litigants.

A statement was issued Thursday by both parties:

The Koret Foundation, Susan Koret and Tad Taube, and the other Koret Foundation directors have resolved all disputes between them and dismissed all litigation. Mrs. Koret is retiring from the Koret Foundation board of directors effective today, and will be granted Emeritus status. Mr. Taube has announced that he will be retiring from the Koret Foundation board of directors on April 1, 2017. Mr. Taube will also be granted Emeritus status. The Koret Foundation thanks Mr. Taube and Mrs. Koret for their many years of service.

As now reconfirmed in the Bylaws of the Koret Foundation, the Koret Foundation will continue its programs in furtherance of charitable (including addressing problems of underserved populations, community and youth development, hunger, homelessness and poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area, among others), educational, religious, scientific, and literary purposes, including charitable giving to the Jewish community.

The litigation did not stop the foundation from carrying out its 2016 grant program. In June, the Koret Foundation announced an aggressive $50 million in grants to twelve California colleges for technology, scholarships, and research. The foundation went outside its guidelines by simply asking the schools where they most needed the grants that will be paid over five years.—Marian Conway