(a) The primary responsibility for supervising charitable trusts in California, for ensuring compliance with trusts and articles of incorporation, and for protection of assets held by charitable trusts and public benefit corporations, resides in the Attorney General. The Attorney General has broad powers under common law and California statutory law to carry out these charitable trust enforcement responsibilities. These powers include, but are not limited to, charitable trust enforcement actions under all of the following:
(1) This article.
(2) Title 8 (commencing with Section 2223) of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code.
(3) Division 2 (commencing with Section 5000) of Title 1 of the Corporations Code.
(4) Sections 8111, 11703, 15004, 15409, 15680 to 15685, inclusive, 16060 to 16062, inclusive, 16064, and 17200 to 17210, inclusive, of the Probate Code.
(5) Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code, and Sections 17500 and 17535 of the Business and Professions Code.
(6) Sections 319, 326.5, and 532d of the Penal Code.
(b) The Attorney General shall be entitled to recover from defendants named in a charitable trust enforcement action all reasonable attorney’s fees and actual costs incurred in conducting that action, including, but not limited to, the costs of auditors, consultants, and experts employed or retained to assist with the investigation, preparation, and presentation in court of the charitable trust enforcement action.
(c) Attorney’s fees and costs shall be recovered by the Attorney General pursuant to court order. When awarding attorneys’ fees and costs, the court shall order that the attorney’s fees and costs be paid by the charitable organization and the individuals named as defendants in or otherwise subject to the action, in a manner that the court finds to be equitable and fair.
(d) Upon a finding by the court that a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General was frivolous or brought in bad faith, the court may award the defendant charity the costs of that action.
(e) (1) The Attorney General may refuse to register or may revoke or suspend the registration of a charitable corporation or trustee, commercial fundraiser, fundraising counsel, or coventurer whenever the Attorney General finds that the charitable corporation or trustee, commercial fundraiser, fundraising counsel, or coventurer has violated or is operating in violation of any provisions of this article.
(2) All actions of the Attorney General shall be taken subject to the rights authorized pursuant to Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 11400) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2.
(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 183, Sec. 144. Effective January 1, 2005.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018