More details on Food for the Poor’s settlement with Michigan Attorney General

October 11, 2019, 9:01 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previous discussion on 10/4/18 provided details on a settlement between Food for the Poor and the Michigan Attorney General.

Prior post provided explanation of the FFP appeal claiming 95% efficiency, the cost of 6 cents to provide a meal, and joint cost allocation of speakers who go out to raise funds.

I have obtained and read a copy of the settlement agreement with the AG.  There are a few more details that are worth describing.

Penalties

The settlement agreement was effective 9/27/18. It was announced the next day.

FFP denies their appeals were misleading and denies any violation of state law. They also deny doing anything wrong.  The charity does recognize

“…that modifying its solicitations would better emphasize its impact, as well as achieve greater transparency. Food For The Poor worked with the Department to modify its solicitation materials and resolve the Department’s concerns.”

FFP agreed to pay $250,000 to two charities in Michigan which feed poor people. The charity also agreed to pay the AG $50,000 as reimbursement for their litigation costs.

Issues and resolutions

Efficiency claims 

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Discussion of possible ramifications and compliance issues for AB 1181.

October 8, 2019, 9:35 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Nicola White has an article at Bloombergtax.com discussing the ripple effects of AB 1181 along with some pondering on compliance issues for charities and auditors:  California Drug Bill Could Hike Accounting Costs for Charities.

Full disclosure:  I am quoted in the article. Scary step for me is this was my first on-the-record interview. This is only the second time I’ve been quoted in an article.

This article is not behind a paywall.

If you have been following the GIK issue, you will want to read the full article.

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Accessible copies of Final Cease and Desist Orders from California AG

October 7, 2019, 5:51 pm

The order may be final but case is not finished. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If you are so interested, you can read for yourself the final cease and desist orders from the California AG against MAP International, Catholic Medical Mission Board, and Food for the Poor. They may be found at:

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Recent articles and comments on GIK valuation

October 2, 2019, 9:22 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

There has been little discussion of the GIK valuation issue, especially regarding AB 1181, that I have noticed over recent weeks. Here are all the public comments I have seen. Let me know anything I missed.

Before getting to five articles, a quick minor comment on AB 1181.  It was officially enrolled on 9/18/19. As of this morning (10/2/19) the exact status of the bill is that on 9/25/19 it was “Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 3:30 p.m.” according to the bill’s history.

I’m still playing catch-up on understanding the legislative process here in California. I now know that a bill must go through ‘engrossing and enrolling’ before going to the Governor for his consideration. Based on looking at some other bills, the next step after presentation to Governor is for him to sign. Then the bill is ‘chaptered’, or given an official location in the state statutes.

All that detail means the bill could not have been signed by the Governor before 9/25/19.

According to the Assembly’s legislative calendar, the governor has through 10/13/19 to either sign or veto bills.

Articles

Bloomberg Tax – 8/21/19 – Crackdown May Stop Charities From Inflating Cost of Donations

Article provides good background on the medical GIK issue. Gives good, brief background on the FTC case against four charities in 2015. Also summarizes the new FASB project.

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Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee agrees with FASB there is no need to change how donated medicine is valued.

September 30, 2019, 9:32 am

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On 9/27/19 FASB sent out a FASB Action Alert. These are sent to people who sign up for various newsletters from FASB. This one is titled Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee Meeting Recap and summarizes their meeting on September 16 & 17, 2019.

This committee is referred to as NAC. They meet twice a year.

Main topic of discussion, based on the notes, was the FASB’s project on Not-for-Profit Reporting of Gifts-in-Kind.  You can keep track of the project by checking that web page.

I will quote several of the key comments in the email and summarize other comments:

NAC generally agreed that additional disclosure might be helpful to readers of financial statements.

Meaning of the following paragraph is that NAC concurs with FASB’s scope decision for this project to address presentation and disclosure and exclude any consideration of valuation:

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What are the legal costs to fight a major cease and desist order from the California Attorney General?

September 27, 2019, 8:51 am

Attorneys talking to judge. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It took a major amount of effort to oppose the cease and desist orders issued by the California Attorney General against three charities.

Various filings in the case and the one day of transcripts I’ve read indicate that each of the charities had a couple of highly experienced trial attorneys representing them.

Have you ever wondered what the tab runs for a major enforcement action? I do. When reading of massive cases against big banks I’ve been curious what the legal costs run.

Normally that information is invisible. Appropriately, there is no way to look inside private companies, massively huge public companies, and checkbooks of individual to see their legal bills.

With not-for-profit organizations, the situation is different. Charities are required to file a 990 with the IRS and send a copy to many state regulators. The majority of charities post the last several years of 990s on their website.

Part IX on page 10 of the 990 shows the detail of expenses. Line 11b discloses legal fees, line 11c shows accounting fees, and line 11g shows other professional fees not listed on one of the previous lines. Pull the 990s and you can see the disclosed information.

 

So, let’s take a look at the 990s for MAP International, Food for the Poor, and Catholic Medical Mission Board to see what their legal fees have been running.

For each of the charities, the legal fees for the last five years are pulled from the 990 and listed. You can visually see where the costs increased.  I will assume the large increases are related to the actions of the AGs from California and other states, with the California effort being the overwhelming majority of the costs.

An average of the earliest 3 years is calculated to provide a baseline, then compared to the legal costs for 2017 and 2018.  The increase over baseline is assumed to be an approximation for the costs to address the CD&O.

I have listed my calculations so you may check them. You may revise any assumptions or amounts as you wish.

 

MAP International

Here is the calculation of increased legal costs for MAP:

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Second and third parent sentenced in “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal.

September 26, 2019, 11:17 am

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Two more parents have been sentenced in the admissions scheming. Also, the judge handling 10 plea deals outlines the rationale for sentencing.

Los Angeles Times – 9/23/19 – Prosecutors in college admissions scandal fighting for prison time for parents. The judge scheduled to sentence 10 more parents in the “Varsity Blues” admissions fiasco decided on the basis for which she will determine sentences.  Prosecutors had sought to use the amount of money paid as guiding the sentence. Judge decided the actions of the parents will guide her sentencing.

Two new sentencings

9/27/19 – Stephen Semprevivo – Sentenced to 4 months in jail, 2 years supervised release, 500 hours community service, $100,000 fine, possible restitution to Georgetown. He allegedly paid $400,000 to the fake charity, which in turn allegedly paid the Georgetown tennis coach. Plan was to present the son as a competitive tennis player.

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