Ridgeland-based charity may lose license - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Ridgeland-based charity may lose license

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RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - The Ridgeland-based charity Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi could find out as soon as next week whether its license will be revoked by the secretary of state.

The charity and its executive director, Billy Murphy, have been under scrutiny for questionable spending and practices that violate the state's charities act.

In a special hearing Tuesday, representatives of the secretary of state questioned Murphy and made their case for revoking FAIM's license.

Eric Hamer represents Murphy and FAIM.

"We don't think any of these issues rise to statutory violation that would require the secretary of state to revoke the charitable registration for FAIM," said Hamer.

Hamer accused the government of being bent on putting FAIM out of business.

Melanie Thomas, an attorney for the secretary of state's office, said the law is clear; charity money can't be spent on non-charitable expenses.

"The division suggests that their collective failure was caused by losing sight of one rule: charity serves the people, not the person," said Melanie Thomas, an attorney for the secretary of state's office.

James Holland, who presided over the hearing, is expected to offer his recommendation next Wednesday.

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