General Laws

Section 36. (a) The commissioner, or any person designated by him, may examine the affairs of any domestic society. The commissioner may employ assistants for the purpose of such examination and he or any person designated by him shall have free access to all the books, papers and documents relating to the business of the society, and may summon and qualify as witnesses on oath and examine its officers, agents and employees and other persons in relation to the affairs, transactions and condition of the society. The latest report of each examination made by the commissioner shall be read at the next succeeding convention of any society on the lodge system, as defined in section 2, and thereafter a copy thereof shall be filed at the home office of the society. Whoever, without justifiable cause neglects, when duly summoned, to appear and testify before the commissioner or his authorized representative, or whoever obstructs the commissioner or his representative in making an examination under this section, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year.

(b) Whenever the commissioner is satisfied that any domestic society (1) has failed to comply with any provision of this chapter; (2) has exceeded its powers; (3) is not carrying out its contracts in good faith; (4) is transacting business fraudulently; (5) that its management or condition is such as to render its further transaction of business hazardous to the public, its members or creditors; (6) that such a society after the existence of one year or more, has a membership of less than 400, or determines to discontinue its business; or (7) whenever any such society, or any of its officers or agents, has refused to submit to an examination under this section or to perform any legal obligation relative thereto, the commissioner may present the relative facts to the attorney general, who shall, if he deems the circumstances warrant, begin a quo warranto proceeding in the supreme judicial court. The court may forthwith issue a temporary injunction restraining the society from further transacting any business. After a full hearing, if it then appears that the society should be dissolved, the court may make the injunction permanent, and appoint one or more receivers to take possession of the books, papers, moneys and other assets of the society, to settle its affairs and to distribute its funds to those entitled thereto, subject to such rules and orders as the court may prescribe.

(c) No such proceedings shall be begun by the attorney general until after the commissioner has given written notice to the chief executive officers of the society and has afforded a reasonable opportunity, on a date named in such notice, to show cause why such a proceeding should not be begun. Such a proceeding shall be entertained only if brought by the attorney general.