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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CMPD Blue Hornets "Charity" : $ Hundreds of Thousands Written Off

Citynewswatch would never donate a penny to any organization claiming it’s a charity that won’t disclose Board of Director Members or give a full accounting of their financial practices, even if a relative few dollars went to charity for the effort.  Using the City of Charlotte’s “CMPD” name while the City and the CMPD refuse to answer the same questions is not a good standard to allow.  This is not the only CMPD Charity with an unusual financial profile.

Compound that with the fact PUBLIC MONEY (according to CMPD and the tax returns of the organization) comprises a large component of the donations and operations of the group—total unknown--and a very small amount of money has actually gone to charity (as far as we know).  Only a couple of thousand dollars has been even identified by the CMPD Blue Hornets team as donated to charity.  Donors are unidentified.  There are apparently large amounts of public money funneled into or through this organization, shown to have benefit of tax write-offs for depreciation of hundreds of thousands of dollars against millions in property each year for the President, William David Graham, a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer as well. 

Graham is listed with the Secretary of State as the Incorporator of the company, with two other initial CMPD officer shareholders; however, those shareholders appear to have been removed a few months later, leaving Graham the President and sole Shareholder, which is consistent with tax returns that follow.  See the full form at the NC Secretary of State’s web site:                          
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You can contact the IRS to see the full form 990 submitted each year for the organization, but this section of the 2010 submission is typical of each year’s submissions.  Specific questions to Zinkann, Graham, Monroe, Cunningham, and City officials regarding the $2,000,000 in property referenced on this CMPD Charity report have gone unanswered:
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Chief Monroe, Public Affairs Captain Brian Cunningham, Board of Directors Member and named team leader Captain Paul Zinkann (see team web site), and President of the Great Balls of Fire, Inc. Foundation have kept up a wall of silence for almost two months.  The Foundation accepts all donations on behalf of the CMPD Blue Hornets Team.  Again, the only comment was this woefully inadequate and possibly inaccurate statement from Captain Brian Cunningham:

          “Some local businesses and private citizens have supported the team.  Other than that the players have paid their own way to be members of the team. The only other funding source for the Blue Hornets baseball team was the purchase of their uniforms from the CMPD General Fund operating budget.”

There are some references within limited financial statements just accessed to payments for a “teamcharlo”  with dates of 1/13, 1/14, 1/21, 1/24,  and 2/17.  We could guess that those payments have to do with the baseball team, but maybe not?  They total $62,012.  Of course, even if those are charges related to the team—maybe uniforms, that’s before there was one penny of travel.  Who is paying for Travel and Lodging for the trip to Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY that the team is on now?  Maybe it’s the players, as the site and other published articles had insisted…  but the shattering silence from the numerous CMPD officials causes so many more questions. 

Who are the “local businesses?”  What is the reason for the extreme secrecy regarding their identity and amount of their contributions?  What relationships do they have with the police department, police officers, and the City of Charlotte?  It may be perfectly fine, but the lengths Monroe and others are going to in order to avoid Public Record Act requirements are shocking.  The timing of knowing that the players are currently wrapping up a tour in Philadelphia and New York City is questionable, even if we eventually get some sort of answer or excuse after the fact. 

The fact that City Manager Curt Walton, Mayor Foxx, City Council Members, and City Spokesperson Kim McMillan will not give an answer or investigate any of this is extremely disappointing.  If grant money, asset & forfeiture money, or regular budget money is being used for this purpose, it should be approved in advance.  The details of this organization need to be investigated.

Please send a short note to these City Council Representatives, Mayor Foxx, City Manager Curt Walton, and CMPD representatives expressing that you want an explanation for this and all financial and other issues outlined here in CITYNEWSWATCH.BLOGSPOT.COM .  

Email addresses are listed so you can cut and paste them easily into your own send box.

Anyone who wishes to see the entire exchange of requests which has been denied or ask for the financial information yourself as well, you have a right to do that:  Public Records Law is that you may ask for any public information—there is no right to refuse it in this way.  Please make that message clear to our leaders.   Or citynewswatch will be happy to save the City some time and money and post it here.    

You deserve to know how your money and your name is being used.   THANK YOU. 

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