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Staples Board Member Should Use Sarbanes-Oxley Disclosure Rules in Non-Profit Role, Asserts 1199 SEIU
Date:2/6/2008

Union asks board member to seek restatement of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center audit

BOSTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Staples director Martin Trust should apply the same Sarbanes-Oxley standards used by Staples and other publicly traded companies to his role on the board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), according to labor group 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Trust is the CEO of Samtex and a director of Massachusetts-based Virtusa Corporation as well as Staples.

1199 SEIU asserts that board members who serve on publicly traded companies covered by Sarbanes-Oxley should apply their knowledge of Sarbanes-Oxley disclosure standards in their nonprofit roles.

Sarbanes-Oxley does not apply directly to nonprofit organizations. However, under Massachusetts law, nonprofit directors must use their specialized knowledge and experience in their role as nonprofit fiduciaries (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 180 section 6C).

BIDMC's audit disclosures appear to commingle bad debt and charity care, a practice under scrutiny by the IRS and Congress. Charity care is a key metric for non-profits.

If Sarbanes-Oxley were applied to nonprofit organizations, BIDMC's reporting would likely not meet the "real time" and "plain English" requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX section 409) in disclosing charity care and bad debt. Inadequate charity care disclosure may endanger a hospital's state or local tax exemptions or expose the institution to other regulatory consequences.

A letter sent to Trust and other Sarbanes-Oxley affected members of the boards of BIDMC and its parent organization CareGroup reads, "Your breadth of experience in the private sector combined with your service on non-profit BIDMC's board of directors uniquely positions you to recognize the deficiencies in BIDMC's financial reporting." The letter asks that fiduciaries request the withdrawal and revision of BIDMC's 2005 and 2006 audits in
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SOURCE 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
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