Gift of Closed Foundation's Remaining Assets Triggers Investigation

The office of Minnesota attorney general Lori Swanson is investigating philanthropist Caroline Amplatz's decision to dissolve her foundation and give its remaining assets to her father's company, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports.

Amplatz closed the Caroline's Kids Foundation in July and soon after transferred its $1.77 million in assets to a new medical device company started by her father, Kurt Amplatz. The Minnesota attorney general's office has asked Amplatz to retrieve the foundation's assets pending a review of the legality of the move. Amplatz told the Pioneer Press she had returned the funds to the foundation's bank account to comply with a mandatory waiting period. Amplatz, an attorney, said the transfer is "not illegal" and the issue is "about determining how to pay the taxes going forward, which I intend to do."

Established in 2008, the Caroline's Kids Foundation has awarded a total of about $1.76 million to nonprofits and charities, according to annual reports filed with the attorney general's office. In addition to the giving of her foundation, Amplatz, who owes her wealth to the medical inventions of her father, a pioneering radiologist at the University of Minnesota, has given to a variety of organizations in the Twin Cities, including $50 million toward construction of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and $3 million to the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts.

Amplatz told the Pioneer Press she intends to pursue her philanthropy as a private individual, rather than through the vehicle of a private foundation. She dissolved the foundation, she said, because "[i]t didn't benefit me and it slowed down my philanthropy. It required accounting and lawyers and board meetings and the funds weren't invested the way I wanted them to be."

Maja Beckstrom. "Caroline Amplatz Dissolves Her Foundation, Raises Legal Suspicion." Twin Cities Pioneer Press 08/08/2016.