Extra Extra : Nonprofit

Audit shows Miss. rural water association plagued by financial problems

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the ...

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A campaign inquiry in Utah is the watchdogs’ worst case

Investigators say former Utah Attorney General John Swallow “exploited a web of vaguely named nonprofit organizations in several states to mask hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders,” The New York Times reports.

“Public records, affidavits and a special legislative report released last week offer a strikingly candid view inside the world of political nonprofits, where big money sluices into campaigns behind a veil of secrecy.”

Read the entire story.

Charity Checker

The Tampa Bay Times, in partnership with The Center for Investigative Reporting, has built an online tool to make charity research a little easier. Our “Charity Checker” website, for the first time, aggregates the ratings and reviews already offered by several of the nation’s most prominent watchdog organizations. With a simple search, you can see their results, all in one place, then click through to dig deeper into a charity through GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits and the Better Business Bureau. The idea for Charity Checker grew out of our reporting on America’s Worst Charities, a yearlong investigation into ...

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Banks making money off charitable donations

Banks are reaping significant financial rewards as they give to charities hundreds of distressed properties in communities still suffering the effects of the foreclosure crisis. But a Chicago Tribune investigation looked at the outcomes for hundreds of donated homes and revealed a pattern of profiteering, mismanagement and failure to help some of the city's hardest-hit communities. This is another installment in the Poverty & Profit series, which probes how a once-stable African-American community has been devastated by corruption and City Hall neglect. 

Extra Extra Monday: Prosecutorial misconduct, Hollywood sting, nuclear waste lands, private prisons

Prosecutorial misconduct alleged in half of capital cases |  The Arizona Republic
In half of all capital cases in Arizona since 2002, prosecutorial misconduct was alleged by appellate attorneys. Those allegations ranged in seriousness from being over emotional to encouraging perjury. Nearly half those allegations were validated by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hollywood Sting | Al Jazeera America
FBI investigation of a California political dynasty uncovers alleged bribery and corruption in the shadows of Tinseltown

Special report: Addicted nurses keep licenses | The Star Tribune
Some nurses continue to steal narcotics or practice while impaired under state monitoring that’s supposed to stop ...

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Some non-profits found to keep significant losses quiet

Charities and other non-profits often try to keep their losses quiet to avoid spooking donors, but a Washington Post investigation by Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty used a new IRS tax return checkbox to find more than 1,000 organizations that reported significant diversions of assets. The Post’s online database is being used by news organizations around the country (and abroad) to report on charities in their area that were victimized.

Extra Extra Monday: Poverty and profits, innocent drivers arrested, asbestos lawsuits and neglected abuse fatalities

Facing Foreclosure: Oklahoma's mortgage settlement program benefits attorneys | Tulsa World
"So far, the largest financial beneficiary of Oklahoma's mortgage settlement program is a young attorney who used a system of vouchers and possibly a family connection to acquire dozens of clients."

Shocking cost investigation: Utility middle men charge renters inflated prices | Columbus Dispatch
"A 10-month investigation by The Dispatch found that residents pay markups of 5 percent to 40 percent when their landlords enter into contracts with certain submeter companies. If the customer fails to pay, the companies sometimes resort to collection tactics that would be illegal ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Child sex trafficking, cigarette money and sweatshop workers

The Stolen Ones | The Sarasota Herald Tribune
Child sex trafficking is an underground economy that thrives here, and everywhere. How can we help those who have been ignored for so long?

Some N.J. private schools for disabled students cashing in on taxpayers | New Jersey Star-Ledger
A two-month Star-Ledger investigation found Somerset Hills and schools like it operate in a twilight zone of the state education system, under a unique set of rules that allows them to spend taxpayer money in ways few would tolerate of public schools.

15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go? | NPR
Fifteen ...

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Carolinas HealthCare’s planes used for business, personal trips

A Charlotte Observer story published Sunday revealed that the CEO of one of the nation's largest nonprofit hospital systems enjoys a rare perk: the freedom to fly hospital planes for both business and pleasure. Flight logs provided by Carolinas HealthCare System show that chief executive Michael Tarwater took at least 29 personal flights on the system’s planes from 2008 through 2012. Tarwater, an accomplished pilot, often flew hospital planes on business trips as well. Some experts believe the practice is rare – and questionable. “It seems inappropriate for them to use (planes) for personal purposes, given that they are ...

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Meet the lawyer who keeps some of America's worst charities in business

“The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting spent a year identifying the 50 worst charities in America based on the money they paid to professional solicitation companies over the past decade. Copilevitz & Canter has represented nearly three-quarters of them, as well as most of their for-profit telemarketers and direct mail companies.”