Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has known as for an investigation into the Los Angeles County Fireplace Division Basis after studying that the charity, created to financially help the county Fireplace Division, could have collected donations months after the state barred it from fundraising.
On March 10, the California Division of Justice, which regulates charities, knowledgeable the muse by mail that it had not submitted a routine annual monetary type for 2021. 4 months later, the division despatched one other letter informing the muse that it was now thought of “delinquent,” that means it couldn’t increase funds or dole out donations, per state rules.
The nonprofit, which has its personal volunteer board of administrators, was shaped in 2016 to help the Fireplace Division, internet hosting ceremonies for company personnel and shopping for tools. The inspiration’s web site asks for donations for wildfire help, mechanical CPR gadgets and new ropes, amongst different wants.
“Your donations save lives that taxes can not,” the web site reads.
Hahn in a press release she was “outraged and upset” that the muse stored taking in these donations months after being notified by the state it was behind on its paperwork.
“Whether or not it was malicious or unintended, there isn’t a excuse for jeopardizing this group that has turn out to be so essential to our firefighters or for deceptive donors who thought they have been contributing to a nonprofit in good standing,” she stated. “I’m calling for a full investigation into precisely what occurred and why it took so lengthy for the fireplace chief and the Board of Supervisors to be instructed.”
Stacy Mungo Flanigan, the muse’s president, stated she didn’t know till final month that the group was delinquent.
Flanigan stated she acquired the March letter from the Division of Justice informing the muse it was lacking paperwork solely in mid-October when it confirmed up in her mailbox — already opened. She stated the mailbox is situated on the county Fireplace Division headquarters, and he or she checks it solely about as soon as a month.
“The ethical of the story is, I didn’t know,” she stated. “The second I knew we have been delinquent, we took it critically.”
The Division of Justice despatched out extra letters to the muse on July 21 and Sept. 29, informing it of its delinquent standing and warning that it may lose its tax-exempt standing if the right paperwork wasn’t filed. Flanigan stated she by no means acquired both of these letters.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors assembly, Hahn plans to ask her colleagues to affix her in a movement that asks the county’s legal professionals to research the muse and discover out if “any deliberate or unintentional wrongdoing has occurred.” The movement additionally asks for an audit of the cash the charity has acquired and spent because it was shaped within the spring of 2016.
Flanigan stated the muse performs a crucial function for the division. Since 2019, she stated, it has given roughly $5 million to the division for objects together with Pelotons, jaws of life, fridges and mechanical CPR gadgets.
She additionally famous a number of charitable organizations that help county workers have, at one level, been positioned on delinquent standing by the Division of Justice.
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After the March letter turned up this fall, she stated she instantly despatched the lacking paperwork to the Division of Justice and expects the muse to be again in good standing, although it’s unclear when. She stated she was instructed it may take as much as three months for the state company to course of the paperwork.
Fireplace Chief Anthony Marrone stated the division will ”absolutely cooperate” with an investigation into the muse.
On Wednesday, Marrone instructed the muse’s board of administrators in a letter that the division would cease taking donations from the muse. He additionally ordered the muse to take away the division “identify, likeness and emblem” from its web site and postpone an upcoming celebration it had deliberate in honor of the division’s one hundredth anniversary.
The identical day, he despatched out a memo barring employees from requesting donations from the muse and shopping for objects from the muse retailer, which sells T-shirts, keychains and pins.
Flanigan stated Marrone’s determination has floor the muse’s gift-giving to a halt.
She’s going to cease paying the cellphone payments for the 585 iPads the muse purchased for firefighters, and is now storing 36 washers and dryers meant for the county’s hearth stations.