Sunk: Idaho AG Blasts Now-Defunct Idaho Aquarium

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A blistering report from the Idaho Attorney General's Office says not enough people were keeping an eye on the books while people were watching the fish at the Idaho Aquarium and, as a result, the nonprofit's assets weren't properly protected.

In his report, Wasden pointed to:
  • "Inadequate record-keeping practices," including incomplete and accurate tax, inventory and board records.
  • "Excessive" compensation and benefits to top executives, including $140,000 to Ammon Covino, who spent a bulk of his time in Oregon.
  • Inadequate supervision by the aquarium's board of directors, failing to protect charitable assets and a "laissez-faire approach."
  • Failure to remove executives even after the federal government indicted the top honchos of the aquarium.
"In this case, the former members of the board didn’t understand or fulfill their responsibilities, and, as a result, the aquarium and its mission suffered," Wasden wrote.

Separate federal indictments slapped aquarium co-founders Christopher Conk and Ammon Covino, and Idaho Aquarium ceased operations in the fall of 2014. Both were sent to federal prison.  Meanwhile the newly-founded Aquarium of Boise, with no relationship to Idaho Aquarium, owns and operates the facility. The new corporation's leadership team has voluntarily adopted most of the recommendations from the attorney general's report.