Big news: The Attorneys General are taking depositions.
The third part of Tampa Bay Times series on “America’s Worst Charities” discusses a group of five NPOs that are run by family members. Four of them are reportedly formed by or facilitated by the founder of the oldest charity in the group.
A report aired last night on CNN’s AC:360.
Near the end of the Tampa Bay article is this comment:
Cancer Support Services has operated for 11 years, largely under the radar of regulators. Now the charity is under review by a multistate task force, according to the group’s chairwoman, who said she had been recently deposed.
The board chair has been deposed.
In the CNN article at about the 9 minute mark, Drew Griffin reports
…Cancer Fund of America leaders have been deposed …
as part of a multi-state review.
Several people have been under oath.
I’m guessing that would be part of the coordinated effort of several AGs to look at the overall charity issues.
There are two organizations mentioned in the reports. A number of people have been deposed.
Other than quotes from the New Mexico Assistant AG, those are the first published reports I’ve seen of what they are doing.
That means the AGs are working the issue.
Tampa Bay Times article
The Tampa Bay Times article is Intricate family connections bind several of America’s worst charities.
In the last three years, the article says the family of charities has raised $110M from fundraisers and paid them $75M. The fundraising side of the story gets lots of discussion.
The familial relationships are explained at length.
The report is around 3,000 words long.
The GIK issue is present from two directions.
First, items actually processed through the entity’s warehouses are reportedly basic sanitary items and toys. The article quotes some asserted recipients who said they didn’t receive anything and others who didn’t receive much of value.
Second issue is overseas shipments of meds and medical supplies. The article says that in 2011, the five charities reported $61M of those GIK. Of that amount, the article says that two charities who reportedly donated $36M of GIK were not aware of any donation to the charity reporting the income.
One of those who say they haven’t made donations is World Help, which has been discussed before on this blog and a variety of media outlets.
Anderson Cooper had a report last night, which you can find here, on this family of charities,
Amongst the other TV-friendly visuals are a shot of the CNN reporter chasing the CEO of one charity as he gets in his truck and drives away.
The CEO shows his respect for the reporter by voting CNN the number 1 network. At least I think that’s what he meant.
Memo to other charity leaders (and everyone else for that matter): when there’s someone with a camera nearby, don’t make an obscene gesture. You won’t enjoy having the rest of us watch it.
My only problem with the CNN segment
It was interesting listening to the CNN report after having read the Tampa Bay Times articles ,combined with my knowledge of NPOs.
After thinking about it a while, I realized I have a big problem with the CNN report.
My problem? It was only 10 minutes long.
The article was almost a summary of the issues. That is nowhere near enough time to explain the variety of ideas covered. There are many specific sentences in the report that would take many minutes to develop in detail for full understanding.
But, I suppose it isn’t likely the program could expand that 10 minute segment to 30 or 45 minutes.
Keep that in mind if after watching the segment you think there’s ideas that weren’t fully developed or assertions that weren’t backed up with a detailed explanation. Doing so would require a full program.
(Since it isn’t always clear in pixels that lighthearted comments are lighthearted, I’m joking to say I have a big problem with the report.)
If you are following the issues on my blog, you will want to check out both reports.
Update: Also wanted to mention that William Barrett discussed this yesterday in his post Florida newspaper eats my Seattle dust. He mentions that he was discussing a year ago the two issues of GIK and running a telemarketing operation in one charity and giving the net proceeds to a sibling charity.