Veterans Charity? or Political PAC!

U.S. Navy Veterans Association. {If you visit that link be prepared, patriotic music, and looks like an real early style website produced by someone who is a lousy pitchman, or grifter, as it screams at you.}

Another scam charity by those who use our military personal and veterans for their own personal wealth and comfort? The cut and links below are the first of two reports on this charity{?} or extension of political PAC{!}. The second part and links follow that.

U.S. Navy Veterans Association: Under the radar  

Is the U.S. Navy Veterans a helpful charity or an illusion? Try finding the leaders and following the money. –>–>–>

Part one

   * Under the radar

     Is the U.S. Navy Veterans a helpful charity or an illusion? Try finding the leaders and following the money.

   * About the USNVA

     Many names, many claims … many dead ends.

   * Letters: The U.S. Navy Veterans Association responds

     Answering questions from the St. Petersburg Times, the group sent hundreds of pages of e-mails that veered into attacks on the reporter, the newspaper and the nonprofit that owns it, the Poynter Institute. Here are nine key responses. –>–>–>

Multimillion-dollar nonprofit charity for Navy veterans steeped in secrecy

Bobby Thompson, left, poses with Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, as Gee accepts a Navy Veterans Association donation to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. With them are association volunteers Blanca Contreras, left, and Karmika Rubin, since named special counsel.

Suppertime on a Sunday evening, a phone rings in suburban Tampa. Some 1,200 miles away, in a call center in Michigan, a cheerful telemarketer starts his pitch for a donation to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan need your help, he says. Any donation, even $20, would help pay for care packages.

He says the Navy Vets group has a long history. “They have a main office right there in Tampa. They really are on the up and up.”

How much of the donation gets to the Navy veterans, the homeowner asks, and how much goes to the telemarketer?

“That’s a good question, I’m glad you asked. Hold the line and I’ll get a supervisor.”

The supervisor says 20 percent goes to the charity. When the home­owner presses for more details, the line goes dead.

Other questions about the nonprofit went unanswered as well. In a six-month investigation, the St. Petersburg Times could find only one officer in the entire organization, and the nonprofit declined to reveal where its millions of dollars of income went. –>–>–>

Second part of this investigative journalist report:

Part two

   * Money and politics

     Bobby Thompson mixed his nonprofit with his personal politics, which are passionately held and backed with cash.

   * Dear Sen. Miller

     Les Miller says the charity’s message was clear: Drop out of the Hillsborough County Commission race.

   * ‘News to me’

     Records lead to a California professor and a phantom voter in Hillsborough County.

   * Political contributions by Bobby C. Thompson (PDF)

   * NAVPAC contributions (PDF)

   * Letter to Les Miller (PDF)

Charity leader’s sideline: politics

The Ybor duplex: Thompson lived in the left side. The right side doubled as offices for the nonprofit Navy Veterans Association and for NAVPAC, a political action committee. After the Times  started asking questions, the PAC shut down and Thompson cleared out. His landlord said he left no forwarding address.

It’s an important rule of thumb for organizations the IRS has certified as tax-exempt nonprofits: They should be nonpartisan and refrain from interfering in political contests.

Bobby Thompson, the voice of the IRS-certified, nonprofit U.S. Navy Veterans Association, made clear he knows it: “It’s simple,” he said in an interview. “We do not make endorsements or political contributions.”

But Thompson has mixed his nonprofit with his personal politics, which are passionately held and backed by cash.

Snip

More than 10 years ago, Thompson helped organize U.S. Navy Veterans for Good Government, later called NAVPAC. That group contributed to dozens of politicians around the country.

Snip

The Navy Veterans Association said Thompson has met personally with political figures from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio to Gov. Charlie Crist to President George W. Bush. Two Christmases ago, he sent friends pictures of himself next to Bush.

A photo of Thompson with Iorio was tacked to the front of the unpretentious duplex in Ybor City where Thompson lived and worked. Half of the duplex was his home, the other half was an office that did double-duty for NAVPAC and for the Navy Veterans nonprofit. Thompson helped found both organizations. –>–>–>

Many names, many claims … many dead ends

The roster at the U.S. Navy Veterans Association’s Washington headquarters includes CEO Jack L. Nimitz, secretary Brian Reagan and compliance officer Patsy Mii. State officers include Saul Sena of Delaware, Gaither Longfellow of Alabama and, from Alaska, Bob “Boats” Rankles.

Their names are among the 85 included in documents the association filed with the IRS.

Is Nimitz a descendant of Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander of Allied forces in the Pacific during World War II? The Navy Veterans Association would not say and provided no help locating him or any of the other officers.

The St. Petersburg Times conducted hundreds of searches of directories, online public records databases and newspaper and broadcast stories going back more than 25 years. In six months searching, the Times could not find any of them. –>–>–>

And this from last year, found while looking for a few other links on the above:

Firm must halt its charity fraud

A telemarketing company has been tagged for deceptive fundraising practices

Community Support Inc. solicited contributions for numerous charities, including the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, the Association for Firefighters and Paramedics Inc., the American Foundation for Disabled Children and the Reserve Police Officers Association.

The telemarketing firm told residents that 100 percent of their donations would go to charitable programs, and the money would be used in Hawaii. In fact, 85 percent to 90 percent of the money collected went to the fundraisers themselves and none supported charities in Hawaii, according to the suit. –>–>–>

The directly above, with not only two occupations ongoing and soliciting for a Veterans Group but also following the attacks on 9/11 doing same as to a Firefighters and Paramedics group then a heart pulling for Disabled Children, tells much about the lengths some will go to not only enrich themselves, as well as networking for political connections looking to reap even more, but use the sacrifices and physical troubles of others, in this country, not caring at all nor having any compassion about those they use!

This is also what this countries economy has developed into, instead of using those highly touted ‘free market’ ideologies of pushing the money to the top thus supposedly creating a ‘trickle down’ of prosperity for All, it’s collecting at the top, not creating or sustaining jobs nor growth, and much being directed towards political policy control by business and personal ideologies and not for the better of this country and it’s citizens!

3 comments

    • jimstaro on March 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm
      Author

    Pottery Barn Rule Should Apply to Iowa’s Senior Senator

    “The funding cap established by Grassley set the stage for the well publicized national health care crisis for veterans. The Bush Administration’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs reacted to this parsimony by triaging hundreds of thousands of older veterans out of the Veterans Administration system. President Obama has now requested the largest increase in history for funding of veterans’ health care.

    “Even so, it does not make up for the years of ‘being cheap’ when Grassley was in charge of funding. I suspect that the appeals process is still being used to financially triage the system to account for the damage to the system under Grassley’s chairmanship. –>–>–>

    Bob Krause, Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate, says Senator Charles Grassley should be subject to “Pottery Barn Rule” regarding veterans’ benefits. Krause chided Grassley for expressing surprise that 50 to 70 percent of veterans’ health care appeals were unjustifiably denied through the V. A. appeals process.

    • jimstaro on March 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm
      Author

    The posts by angelajean on Beck as well as the very recent report Sean Hannity’s charity alleged to be a scam – is anyone surprised?

    Team up a carnival barker like Sean Hannity with an illegal arms merchant like Oliver North, give them a “charity” with a patriotic hook, and entrust them with your money – good plan, right?

    When allegations came out this week – from another conservative, no less – that Hannity’s charity didn’t really meet what a person would consider a reputable level when it comes to how much they actually give, the first question might be – is anyone surprised? –>–>–>

    And the long running pattern becomes clearer and clearer!!

    • jimstaro on March 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm
      Author

    On the elections, any elections, from local to federal if touting Military service and experience.

    In one of the links in the diary we get this:

    Rally for Kevin White, nonprofit’s letter tells Hillsborough opponent

    In White’s campaigns for Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission, he repeatedly boasted about his military service. But the Times obtained discharge papers that showed White enlisted in the Navy “in error” at age 17 and was discharged after 56 days.

    Snip

    Five days later, Thompson sent his letter to Miller, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served 14 years in the Florida Legislature. Now director of the community relations office at the University of South Florida, Miller is trying to unseat White on the County Commission. –>–>–>

    This so called non-political Veterans Group was backing this White and telling Miller to back out in his run against!

    Someone mentions military service tell them you want to see the proof of, don’t just take their word for it. And for some reason, especially those running in republican races, the party? of strong? national? defense?, they seem to still not get how easy it is to ask for records from the DoD that will give the needed information if not family and more if you are a part of the family.

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