[At-Large] ICANN financials
karl at cavebear.com
Thu Apr 14 19:37:31 UTC 2011
On 04/14/2011 01:21 AM, Christian de Larrinaga wrote:
>> From a $9m conceivable ceiling to $66m in receipts within eight
>> years? That really needs looking into. Does At Large have the
>> wherewithal to lead on that?
A bit of history - back in 2000 when I was elected to the board one of
the first things I did was to ask to review ICANN's financial ledgers.
The result was 18 months of ICANN resistance, which required me to being
legal action against ICANN, which despite ICANN's attempts to portray it
to the contrary, I won, hands down.
(And certain board members and board chairmen have not spoken to me
since - which is to me a sign that many of ICANN's board members never
really understood - and still do not understand - the oversight duty of
a board member and, instead, view ICANN's board as a honorific gathering
of worthies rather than a body that holds the plenary responsibility and
power to "direct" ICANN.)
ICANN, much to its credit, responded to the court order with a positive
and cooperative spirit and immediately opened the ledgers.
I found exactly what I had hoped and expected to find - nothing more
than the typical operations of a small, new organization. Yes there
were some problems - too much was being spent without proper
authorization trails, the law firm was charging too much, etc etc.
ICANN did fix many of these things.
There was nothing nefarious in the ledgers. And I personally do not
expect that a similar inquiry today would find anything worse than the
typical unintended errors and mistakes of any organization.
Nevertheless, the California legislature created that "absolute right"
(yes the legislature used the word "absolute") of inspection for a good
It would make sense for an ALAC director to pull in an outside
accountant to periodically take a look. The ALAC might need to come up
with some $$ to pay that accountant.
Again, don't expect to find anything terrible - but knowing that eyes
are looking does tend to create more careful use of ICANN money.
(And there were other things that I found - For instance ICANN did not
have a body of employee policies, an employee handbook. As a result of
my findings they did put one into effect - using their most expensive
law firm to write something that they could have done for a few hundred
dollars. The point of this is that ICANN when faced with multiple
roads, it does have a history of taking the vastly most expensive one.)
Had ICANN not tried to dance around the California law that defines a
"member" form of a public-benefit/non-profit corporation than those of
use who are members would have had greater powers of inspection than we
obtain today from ICANN - see
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