The James Beard Foundation, the nationally recognized nonprofit concern named after the late chef and prolific cookbook author, said that its 11-member board will resign effective Jan. 6, on the heels of an internal audit that revealed that more than $1 million of the foundation 's money had been misused.

An audit by the foundation conducted earlier this year found that former Beard Foundation president Leonard F. Pickell had "engaged in inappropriate practices and improper use" of the organization's funds.

The 50-year-old Picknel pleaded innocent in Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of second-degree grand larceny. He resigned from the foundation in September.

Three interim board members will be appointed prior to the wholesale exit of the board in January.

The Beard Foundation grants scholarships to students in culinary arts, in addition to sponsoring various food and wine events.

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