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Charity seeks new trustees in fight against lawsuits

Charity seeks new trustees in fight against lawsuits

Charitable Leadership Foundation, which has faced lawsuits and financial troubles in the past year,

A charitable organization that has faced lawsuits and financial troubles in the past year has asked a court to allow it to appoint new trustees after its president died on the eve of striking a deal in one of the disputes.

The attorneys for Charitable Leadership Foundation of Clifton Park, which was headed by Richard Liebich before his death in August, have asked the state Supreme Court in Albany County to appoint Liebich’s widow and son as trustees, according to a Nov. 16 filing.

Two other members of the Liebich family, Kurt Liebich and Mark Liebich, were originally named in the organization’s trust as his successors to appoint trustees, but both renounced their power to do so after Richard Liebich’s death at age 68.

As trustees, Beth Liebich and Adam Scavone would be responsible for defending the foundation in four pending cases and dealing with two judgments that have been filed against the organization.

The dispute that was nearly settled involved control of intellectual property rights among the foundation, Albany College of Pharmacy and Ordway Research Institute. The organizations worked together to develop a new thyroid hormone and a cancer treatment, and then argued over licensing and funding of the drugs.

The agreement would end the legal action against the foundation and use a private investor to continue developing and market the drugs.

Charitable Leadership Foundation ceased operation in December 2011, when a judgment in the state Supreme Court in Albany County froze the foundation’s assets and ordered the foundation to pay $4 million for a defaulted loan to Capital Bank and Trust Co.

Without available cash, the foundation had to lay off its staff and stop granting money to other organizations.

Other lawsuits filed against the foundation include:

* A filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by Ordway Research Institute trustee Janice Grubin that implicates Charitable Leadership Foundation’s money problems as a key reason for the institute’s insolvency. Liebich’s foundation was instrumental in starting Ordway, a medical research organization based in Albany. Ordway filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in April.

* A court action filed by Ballston Spa National Bank in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County for the repayment of a $600,000 defaulted loan.

* A lawsuit filed by the Marty and Dorothy Silverman Foundation in the state Supreme Court in New York County. The late Marty Silverman was a New York City businessman who put money into medical research and established the prestigious Albany Medical Center Prize.

Charitable Leadership Foundation also was ordered to pay a $725,103 judgment to Project Lead the Way, an organization that Liebich co-founded that brings a taste of the engineering field to bright high-schoolers.

The action that Charitable Leadership Foundation filed in court Nov. 16 also names state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as a respondent. In early August before Liebich’s death, Schneiderman ordered an investigatory subpoena into the foundation.

Liebich’s family made its fortune in food services company Sysco Corp.

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