Ore. AG asks IRS to investigate Evergreen aviation museum

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says the state won't take enforcement action against the McMinnville-based Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

But Rosenblum said Thursday an investigation revealed significant concerns regarding the governance of the museum, and she will ask the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether its operations comply with its tax-exempt status.

Rosenblum says her agency is also concerned about the "significant interrelationships" between the museum and for-profit Evergreen companies.

The state investigation began after a whistleblower reported that the museum transferred more than $700,000 to an Evergreen company. The money was repaid shortly after the state Justice Department began its investigation.

The for-profit Evergreen International Airlines filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 31 in Delaware.

The museum sent KATU the following statement Thursday afternoon:

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is pleased that the DOJ review has been concluded with the release of its report today. The Museum has worked amicably with the DOJ for the past years to provide documents and testimony during this review. The review has helped the Museum evaluate governance and procedures. Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2014, the board implemented new guidelines, best practices and training initiatives to benefit the Museum Campus, our 300,000 annual visitors, 165 employees and more than 300 volunteers. We are pleased that the DOJ will not be taking legal action and concludes that no commingling of funds occurred. We are additionally encouraged that the DOJ feels that the Museum's board has taken appropriate and definitive action to improve governance and that the DOJ believes the current board of directors is the appropriate board to move the Museum forward. The Museum Campus is open and will continue to educate and inspire as many visitors as we can - come visit!

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