"These [children] must grow up with a feeling that they have a real home." - Milton S. Hershey

Three Strikes & You're Out - Kane Agreement Latest Hershey Failure

"Three Strikes & You're Out:" Advocacy Group Issues Blistering Critique of AG "Reform" Agreement, Calls for Federal Intervention. Hershey, PA. May 22, 2013.

Protect The Hersheys' Children, Inc. (PHC), a child welfare advocacy group seeking reform of the $10.5 billion Milton Hershey School (MHS) Trust, issued a blistering analysis today of AG Kathleen Kane's recently-announced MHS reform agreement. The critique is titled "Three Strikes & You're Out," referring to the fact that Kane's agreement is the third in a series affecting the perennially troubled Hershey charity.

The first term Attorney General had determined that no actionable wrongdoing had been committed by the charity's board, removed no individuals responsible for MHS decisions, and required no restitution for child welfare funds expended on certain questionable items. Among other things, Kane ratified $25 million of spending by the charity's board on the Hershey Links luxury golf course, where several board members were frequent players, along with millions of dollars of total compensation paid to board members.

Kane claimed her agreement contained "tough reforms that set a new standard for charitable organizations" and "changed the composition of the board." PHC disagreed.

In a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis, the watchdog group argues that Kane "changed virtually nothing. Where she did make changes, she mostly worsened matters."

PHC's analysis looks at each Kane agreement provision to show, says the group, that board compensation will remain in the area of $100,000 per person, a sum virtually unheard of in the charitable world, with several board members earning upwards of that -and in some cases being paid more than $1,000 per hour for charitable work.

PHC's analysis describes compensation and perk provisions that essentially "preserve the status quo, perpetuate unbridled spending," and "fail to add requisite child welfare expertise" to the charity's board. Even spa treatments, luxury golf, and other indulgences are paid for by the charity, according to PHC's analysis.

In one particularly harsh passage addressing what PHC says was Kane's failure to restore child safety protections, the advocacy group declares, "The 2013 Agreement spends more time obsessively protecting the Managers' appetites for luxury and their spouses' spa and golfing perks than protecting the safety of MHS children. The same can be said about Managers' children, who get more attention and benefits in the 2013 Agreement than MHS children themselves. Standing alone, this provision is an abdication of AG Kane's oversight duty in light of the scandalous history of MHS multi-age housing."

The reform group concludes by saying, "The Pennsylvania [Attorney General] has struck out. It is time for federal intervention to wrest the Hershey charity from utterly compromised Pennsylvania oversight officials, individuals who place the interests of political cronies and connected insiders above those of needy children."

PHC's full analysis can be accessed at: Three Strikes And You're Out Analysis