El Paso Humane Society head terminated by board of directors

El Paso News
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The board of directors of the Humane Society of El Paso has terminated the shelter’s executive director, Luke Westerman, according to a spokeswoman.

Westerman, 37, turned himself in to authorities in Columbus, Ohio on Monday. He faces 16 charges of unlawful securities practices and three counts of theft in that state.

Westermana former Wall Street investor and venture capitalistpleaded not guilty and is out on bond. 

In a news release Tuesday evening, the Humane Society board said while its own investigation did not show any evidence that Westerman’s actions compromised the shelter’s finances, board members would be taking a closer look at all the organization’s financial records. 

The board said it would use an independent certified public accounting firm to conduct an audit of the Humane Society’s 2018 financial statements.

Westerman was hired in late 2017. 

Julie Ruledge, longtime Humane Society Director of Operations, was appointed as interim executive director, according to Board Chair Elke Cumming.

“We recognize that the allegations against Mr. Westerman have shaken the community’s trust in the organization,” Cumming said in a statement.

“We are committed to earning back the trust of the El Paso community,” she continued.

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