We’ve written plenty about the D-rated Humane Society of the United States, which wastes donor money by the millions—shortchanging the very animals it claims to represent. Readers are wondering: Is Best Friends Animal Society any better? We decided to take a look into its finances.
In general, Best Friends spends money better than HSUS or the (C-rated) ASPCA. But there are several items of concern in its most recent (2016-17) tax return:
• Best Friends admits on its tax return that it owns two private planes, which are used to charter air travel for its employees. Why do nonprofit employees need private planes? Best Friends says it also uses the planes for animal rescue, but doesn’t include an accounting of how much airtime is used for rescue versus ferrying around its executives and other staffers.
• Nepotism appears alive and well at Best Friends. Its tax return shows six employees who are related to board members or executives. BFAS employs the board chair’s wife, son, and daughter in law. The total compensation for these individuals is close to $600,000.
• This also creates conflicts of interest. For instance, Best Friends’ then-CDMO Julie Castle was married to the board chair/CEO Gregory Castle. Julie Castle has since been elevated to CEO, and her husband is still on the board. Since she reports to the board, there’s an obvious conflict.