CEO 78-99 -- December 21, 1978
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SERVING ON BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF NONPROFIT FOUNDATION LEASING FACILITY FROM SCHOOL DISTRICT
To: Dr. Ben J. Sheppard, Member, Dade County School Board, Miami
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Reference is made to CEO 77-167, in which it was found that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a city commissioner to accept membership on the board of trustees of a nonprofit organization which leased property from the city. In accordance with the rationale of that opinion, no prohibited conflict is found to exist where a school board leases property to a nonprofit foundation on whose board of directors a school board member serves.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a nonprofit foundation of which I, a school board member, am a member of the board of directors to lease property from the school board?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a member of the Dade County School Board and that you are the founder and a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to promote family and child welfare in Dade County. You also advise that the foundation currently supports a clinic which provides a variety of services, including medical treatment; psychological, drug, and medical-legal counseling; and prenatal and postnatal care. These services generally are provided free of charge as most clients cannot afford to pay. You further advise that the foundation is in the process of seeking financial support from individual community contributions, the federal government, and private foundations in order to expand the already existing program into a full family center. Because of the limited amount of space available at the clinic's present location, there is an immediate need for a larger facility.
You write that a particular elementary school which no longer is in use by the Dade County school system would provide a perfect location and facility for the foundation programs. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the school board has closed down several of its buildings, and this elementary school was put up for sale. However, as bids on the school building were unacceptably low, you reported, the board had decided to raze the building. Your question to us is whether a conflict of interest would be created on your part should the school board agree to lease this school building and property to the foundation. Finally, in a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that you receive no compensation for your service as a member of the foundation's board of directors and that the property would be leased for the nominal sum of $1 per year.
See a previous advisory opinion, CEO 77-167, in which we found that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a city commissioner to accept a membership on the board of trustees of a nonprofit organization which leased property from the city. In accordance with the rationale of that opinion, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the foundation of which you are a member of the board of directors to lease property from the school board for a nominal sum.