Koret lawsuit: Widow seeks access to foundations records

Lawyers for Susan Koret, the lifetime chair of the Koret Foundation and the widow of its founder, have filed a motion in San Francisco Superior Court seeking internal records that she claims have been illegally withheld from her by members of the foundation board.

Susan Koret

The filing several weeks ago was the latest step in a lawsuit filed last October that accuses former board president Tad Taube, 83, and other directors of breach of fiduciary responsibility, demands their resignation and asks for unspecified compensatory damages to be paid to the foundation. Taube and six other board members counter-sued, demanding Susan Koret’s removal from the board. A trial is slated for April 2016.

In this latest filing, Koret requests a bench trial to force the board to allow her to “inspect and copy all books and records of the foundation,” something she claims as her right as the foundation’s lifetime director and board chair, and which, according to the filing, the board has denied her. 

Koret officials declined J.’s request for an interview, with vice president and COO Tina Frank stating via email, “We are in litigation. Therefore we are not able to make any comments or provide an update on the case.”

Tad Taube

Koret’s original lawsuit accused board members of conflict of interest, saying several sit on boards and/or serve as officers of institutions and agencies that receive Koret funds, yet vote to grant money to those same institutions.

And though the foundation gives money to educational, Jewish and social services agencies, Susan Koret also claims Taube and the board have “ignored the priorities established by her late husband to help the poor and assist Jewish causes in the Bay Area and Israel,” by making large grants to conservative policy organizations.

The counter-suit called Susan Koret, 70, a “dissident board member” unable to “perform the necessary due diligence to exercise sound business judgment.” It charges she “engaged in behavior for which she would have been fired from any other organization” and seeks to remove her for “incompetence.”

Founded in 1979 by the late sportswear and real estate magnate Joseph Koret, the S.F.-based Koret Foundation has given nearly $500 million in grants and has assets of around $500 million, according to www.koret.org. Upon Joseph Koret’s death in 1982, and according to his wishes, Susan Koret was given the post of “board chair for life.” — dan pine

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Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.