Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Reynolds "Charity" Empire in Decline

A few years ago I wrote a post entitled, "Is The Breast Cancer Society a Worthy Charity", to which the answer was "No". The comments to that thread are extensive, and include a defense of the organization from Kristina Hixson, which avoided answering any of the tough questions or giving an honest explanation of the organization's operations. She went so far as to post a series of fake endorsements to the thread, trying to bury valid criticism behind fictitious praise.

Oh yes, and she went on to marry the man who ran that "charity", James T. Reynolds II.

Over time, the Reynolds' family of "charities" started to receive press scrutiny. The Tampa Bay Times published an article, "Intricate family connections bind several of America's worst charities". It opens
Carol Smith still gets angry when she remembers the box that arrived by mail for her dying husband.

Cancer Fund of America sent it when he was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago.

Smith had called the charity for help. "It was filled with paper plates, cups, napkins and kids' toys," the 67-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident said.

"My husband looked like somebody slapped him in the face. "I just threw it in the trash."
The story continues,
In the past three years alone, Cancer Fund and its associated charities raised $110 million. The charities paid more than $75 million of that to solicitors. Cancer Fund ranks second on the Times/CIR list of America's worst charities. (Florida's Kids Wish Network placed first.)

Salaries in 2011 topped $8 million — 13 times more than patients received in cash. Nearly $1 million went to Reynolds family members.

The network's programs are overstated at best. Some have been fabricated.
The Federal Government has finally managed to partially shut down the Reynolds empire:
In reality, officials say, millions of dollars raised by four “sham charities” [Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society] lined the pockets of the groups’ founders and their family members, paying for cars, luxury cruises, and all-expense paid trips to Disney World for charity board members.

The 148-page fraud lawsuit accuses the charities of ripping off donors nationwide to the tune of $187 million from 2008 to 2012 in a scheme one federal official called “egregious” and “appalling.”...

Among the allegations is that [Reynolds' ex-wife, Rose] Perkins gave 10% across-the-board bonuses twice a year to employees [of the Children’s Cancer Fund of America], regardless of performance, and was allowed to set her own salary and bonuses up to a limit without the approval of board members. In 2010, when donations to the Breast Cancer Society were declining, Reynolds II’s salary ballooned from $257,642 to $370,951, according to the complaint.
What can a grifter do, but grift? Even having been shut down, the Breast Cancer Society promises to come back to leach off of the good intentions of people who want to help cancer survivors:
The silver lining in all of this is that the organization has the ability to continue operating our most valued and popular program, the Hope Supply. Our Board will work tirelessly to maintain the Hope Supply program services that have benefitted our many patients for years – initially under the TBCS banner as it transitions under a different organization – all with the goal of seamlessly providing services to you. I take solace in the fact that this wonderful program has the chance to continue operating.
There is a note of honesty, "I have loved leading TBCS...." Why wouldn't James love working in a job that paid him royally for performing little work, despite his indifference to the needs of the people his charity was supposed to help? It's a gravy train he's eager to re-board, so watch out for his next "charity", coming soon to a list of the nation's worst charities near you.

If you want a good measure of James Reynolds II's character, watch him on video.