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Central Point museum back on steady ground

CENTRAL POINT — A popular rock and artifact museum was in danger of penalties and loss of nonprofit status because of lapsed business registration and lack of financial records, but board members say they are complying with state mandates.

The Crater Rock Museum on Scenic Avenue in Central Point was notified in February that it had not filed two years of financial records. Also, the organization had not renewed its registered name with the Secretary of State's office, putting its nonprofit status in jeopardy.

But that's all behind them, say board members. "We want to do everything right," said Jan Paul, board treasurer.

The Crater Rock Museum is owned and operated by the Roxy Ann Gem & Mineral Society. Founded in 1954 by Frieda and Delmar Smith, the museum has vast collections and displays of rocks, minerals, fossils and artifacts, as well as a library and gift shop. The organization also offers classes and field trips.

The museum hosts approximately 5,000 visitors annually. Information provided by the state Department of Justice showed in 2004 the organization took in $103,000 in contributions, gifts and grants, about half of its total revenue, $192,000. The records listed its total assets in 2004 as $282,000 and total expenses as $79,000.

Victoria Cox, public information officer with the Oregon Department of Justice, said the department had not received a financial report from the nonprofit organization in two years.

She said the department notified the museum in February, and while nine months is a long time lag, the department's approach is to seek voluntary compliance.

"We just want them to get current," she said. "Potentially we can litigate against them, but really we want to help them."

Also in February the Secretary of State's office notified the organization that its registration went inactive because it did not renew its registered name. A spokesman from the Secretary of State's office said the registration was reinstated two weeks ago. He said his office does not penalize people who do not renew their registration.

Paul said the necessary financial records for the Department of Justice were to be sent on Tuesday.

The problem, she said, was that all the donations had not been listed in last year's taxes, and the organization needed to go back through its records and amend its taxes.

"We had to go back and amend three years of taxes," she said.

She said all the donations had not been included, because there had not been a good system of tracking receipts in place.

Board President Jack Benedict said some of the unkempt records were inherited, but everything is in order now with both the organization's financial records and its nonprofit status.

Paul said the organization is in very good financial shape. She said the record-keeping had been done entirely by volunteers, but that's changed.

"We've hired a full-time accounting firm so this will never happen again," she said.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail mlanders@mailtribune.com.