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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE II EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
    OF THE COMMONWEALTH
  • CHAPTER 12 DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
  • Section 8E Charitable corporations; registration by filing of information; exceptions; penalties; enforcement

Section 8E. (a) A public charity established, organized or chartered under the laws of the commonwealth or under the laws of any other state shall, before engaging in charitable work or raising funds in the commonwealth, register with the division by filing a copy of its charter, articles of organization, agreement of association or instrument of trust, a true copy of its constitution and by-laws and a one-time initial registration fee of $100, together with such other information as the director may require. A public charity registered with the division shall also file with the division any amendments to its charter, articles of organization, agreement of association, instrument of trust or constitution, within 30 days after adoption. This section shall not apply to the following public charities: the American National Red Cross; the Grand Army of the Republic; American Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam; Vietnam Veterans of America; AMVETS; the United Spanish War Veterans; the American Legion; the disabled American Veterans of the World War; Military Order of the Purple Heart; the Paralyzed Veterans of America; the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A.; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

(b) If a public charity fails to comply with the requirements of this section, the director shall notify the delinquent public charity, or any responsible officer or agent of the public charity, by mailing a notice thereof by United States certified or registered mail, or by any other courier or service found by the director to be sufficiently reliable to generate written documentation of mailing, to its last known address or that of any such responsible officer or agent. The notice mailed by the director shall be considered sufficient notice, and a certificate of the person mailing the notice that it has been mailed in accordance with this section, together with a post office, courier or service receipt of the mailing, shall be considered prima facie evidence thereof and shall be admissible in any court of the commonwealth as to the facts contained therein. Refusal of delivery shall not be a defense to the receipt of the notice.

(c) If a complete registration is not filed within 30 days of the day the notice is mailed, the director may assess a civil penalty against the public charity unless the failure to register is for good cause. Notice of the assessment of the penalty shall be mailed to the public charity or responsible officer or agent in the manner provided above for the initial notice. The civil penalty shall be in an amount of up to $50 per day for each day subsequent to the end of such 30 day period until a complete registration is filed; provided, however, that the maximum aggregate penalty for failure to register shall not be greater than $10,000.

(d) A public charity aggrieved by the imposition of a civil penalty pursuant to this section may bring a civil action in the nature of certiorari under section 4 of chapter 249; provided, however, that the action shall be commenced within 60 days of the date of the notice of the civil penalty. If a public charity fails to pay the civil penalty provided herein, the attorney general may initiate a civil action in the superior court to enforce the penalty or to obtain any other relief so required. The action by the attorney general may be initiated, if no action is commenced under section 4 of chapter 249, upon the expiration of the 60 day period to bring such action or, if an action is commenced under said section 4 of said chapter 249, the issuance of a final judicial determination thereon.

(e) The penalty that may be imposed on the public charity as provided in this section may be assessed against a responsible officer or agent of the public charity, upon a finding by the director that the responsible officer or agent has the authority to cause the public charity to comply with the registration requirements of this section but has neglected or refused to do so after notice and demand. The president and treasurer of the public charity, and any person authorized in its by-laws, operating agreement, articles of organization, charter, organizational documents or by resolution of its board of trustees or directors to sign documents or filings on behalf of the public charity, shall be rebuttably presumed to have the authority to cause the public charity to comply with the registration requirements of this section.

(f) Before the assessment, the director shall provide the responsible officer or agent with notice of the director’s intention to find that person to be a responsible officer or agent and to assess that person the penalties provided for in this section. Notice shall be mailed by United States certified or registered mail, or by any other courier or service found by the director to be sufficiently reliable to generate written documentation of mailing, to the last known address of the person as set forth in any filing made by the public charity or shown in its records, or as otherwise determined by the director. The notice shall be considered a sufficient notice of the division’s intention to assess the penalties and a certificate of the person mailing the notice that it has been mailed in accordance with this section, together with a post office, courier or service receipt of such mailing, shall be considered prima facie evidence thereof and shall be admissible in any court of the commonwealth as to the facts contained therein. Refusal of delivery of the mailing shall not be a defense to the receipt of the notice.

(g) A person served with notice under clause (f) may, within 60 days from the date of the notice, request an opportunity to be heard by the division to present reasons why he should not be determined to be a responsible officer or agent within the meaning of this section. Upon a finding by the division that the person is a responsible officer or agent and has failed, without good cause, to cause the public charity to comply with the registration requirements of this section, a civil penalty that may be assessed against the public charity may, in the alternative, be assessed against that person and that person shall not be entitled to indemnification or reimbursement by or from the public charity for the civil penalty.

(h) A person aggrieved by the imposition of a civil penalty under this section may bring a civil action in the nature of certiorari under section 4 of chapter 249; provided, however, that the action shall be commenced within 60 days of the date of the notice of the civil penalty. If a person fails to pay the civil penalty provided herein, the attorney general may initiate a civil action in the superior court to enforce such penalty or to obtain any other relief so required. The action by the attorney general may be initiated, if no action is commenced under section 4 of chapter 249, upon the expiration of the 60 day period to bring such action or, if an action is commenced under said section 4 of said chapter 249, the issuance of a final judicial determination thereon.