Monday, December 8, 2014

Questions about fundraiser for deputies

An article in the Northwest Herald provoked .many comments and numerous attacks on two people who had the courage to ask a couple of questions. I guess that's how the mob attempts to squash questions that might result in the "wrong" answers.

The fundraiser was for MCSD Deputies Maness and Satiewicz, who were injured in an on-duty shooting incident when they responded to what was initially called a "well-being check" by then Undersheriff Andy Zinke. Later, if memory serves me correctly, it was referred to as a "domestic" call.

A fundraiser was held recently for the two deputies. A December 6th online article described the fundraiser, which was sponsored by the Iron Justice Motorcycle Club and McHenry County Police Charities. State Rep Barb Wheeler sent out a broadcast e-mail about it.

The opening comment (by "GringoDaddy1963") questioned the need for the fundraiser, and the increasingly-personal attacks began shortly thereafter. A relative of one deputy acknowledged that, indeed, all medical bills were being paid.

This comment addressed to me by "macg4" read, in part, "Care to share your source on what the police charities does with the money?  You know sooo much, lets share it" That comment followed my remark that McHenry County Police Charities (MCPC) keeps a significant amount of donations made through it.

The question to me caused me to do a little homework on, which is a popular resource for financial information on charities, and on the website of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

The Mission of the MCPC is "To create an opportunity for 300+ children to work and socialize with 100+ police officers in uniform, in a positive, image building event. To raise funds with which needy children can purchase Back to School supplies in August and Christmas gifts for their family in December." This is locally known as the Shop with a Cop program.

Now, just where does fundraising for two deputies fit in its Mission? It doesn't.

Furthermore, I believe you cannot donate tax-deductible funds to a non-profit, tax-exempt charity, understanding that those funds will be distributed to specific individuals, such as the two MCSD deputies. Were donors told that their donations would be tax-deductible? Did they receive receipts? What was the wording on the receipts?

Did MCPC endanger its registration with the Internal Revenue Service by participating in this fundraiser? It might just have done so.

Any money given or "donated" to Deputies Maness and Satkiewicz was, I'm sure, freely given from the heart. Just don't try to claim it on your tax return by running it through MCPC.

The latest financial data on Guidestar from MCPC is for 2003, when MCPC's income was $50,240 and its expenses were $62,520. Let's hope they figured out how to do business.

What does the Illinois Attorney General have on file? The Form 990-EZ for the calendar year 2013, Part III, carries this statement: "Primary Exempt Purpose - To provide positive police interaction and a Christmas to those children in McHenry County that are less fortunate and may not have a Christmas otherwise."

MCPC started the year (2013) with $66,401 and took in $25,304. Then they spent $47,568. Walmarts in Crystal Lake and Johnsburg got $40,346 (what about Walmarts in Harvard, Woodstock, Huntley, Algonquin?). Office expense was $710, and insurance was $459. That's $41.515. $47,568 - $41.515 = $6,053. Where did the other $6,053 go?

Professional fees and payments to independent contractors totaled $2,290 (included in the $47,568 spent). Were those the commissions to raise $25,304? But there is still $6,053 that doesn't seem to be accounted for in the 2013 financial report to the State of Illinois.

MCPC's Mission is the "Shop with a Cop" program. So, was MCPC operating outside its legal authority, when it was a co-sponsor of the fundraiser?

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