Thursday, March 21, 2013

Careful Who You Hang Out With In The Charity World

by Gary Snyder

Former president of the Jacksonville Bar Association is reflecting upon his relationship with a charity. He was the attorney accused of masterminding a $300 million gambling ring disguised as a veterans charity. He is one of about 60 people charged in Seminole County, Fla., with running the now-shuttered Allied Veterans of the World, which operated 49 Internet parlors with computerized slot machine-style games. 

Prosecutors say that only 2 percent of the nearly $300 million earned by Allied went to charity.

Kelly Mathis  became the registered agent for several Internet cafes owned by the organization. Under Florida law, a company must have a registered agent to be responsible for receiving important legal and tax documents; many companies use lawyers.

Mathis is also a registered lobbyist and said he met with Jennifer Carroll several years ago while she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives.  Now former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned a day after she was questioned by investigators – though she isn't among those charged.
Mathis said he didn't know anything about the public relations firm she co-owned or work that it did for Allied.

Mathis said he is being targeted by Seminole County officials because he sued the county over its stance on Internet cafes.

Some believe that it is an uphill fight for Mathis with the case turning on .."a key for both the state attorney and for ultimately, the Florida Bar, is whether an objectively reasonable and prudent lawyer should have known better and that's the case he's going to have to make." (here)

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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