Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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JUDGE ORDERS FORMER FOUNDATION DIRECTOR TO PAY MORE THAN $2 MILLION

March 24, 2010

A Clatsop County judge rules that Ann Ellis imprudently invested the assets of The Wintercross Foundation

Attorney General John Kroger today announced a $2 million verdict on behalf of a charity that suffered losses because of irresponsible investing by its director, Ann Ellis.

"This verdict is about accountability," said Keith Dubanevich, Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to Attorney General Kroger. "Running a charity is a special trust and we will not hesitate to bring action against anyone who violates the public's trust."

The case involves The Wintercross Foundation, a charity established by real estate investor Barry Beutel to promote South American art. Although founded in 1990, Wintercross was not funded until Beutel's death in 1998 when it received $2.35 million as a beneficiary of Beutel's life insurance policies. With additional real estate holdings, Wintercross held assets totaling nearly $5.5 million.

Ellis was Beutel's long-time employee. Shortly after Beutel's death, Ellis largely controlled Wintercross and his real estate investments. Ellis' lack of prudent investing and poor business judgment left the charity virtually insolvent when the court, at the request of the Oregon Department of Justice, appointed a receiver in 2009.

Wintercross owned several pieces of South American art from the Beutel estate valued at $200,000. Other than one show in Portland, most of the art was kept in the home of Ellis or her mother.

The court's decision orders Ellis to pay Wintercross more than $2 million and bars her from ever serving as an officer, director or fiduciary of any charitable entity.

Assistant Attorneys General Dan Rosenhouse and Susan Miller handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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