city paying itself back

Brent Finnegan -- January 23rd, 2008

Last night, City Council voted to reduce the amount of money the Boys and Girls Club owes the city from $1.5 million to $750,000. This comes two weeks after Council voted to spend over $1.5 million to cover what the B&GC owes the city for improvements to the Simms Center. Council said it would reduce the city’s annual contribution to the B&GC by $50,000; essentially paying itself back.

Part of the outstanding debt comes from paying $261,000 in consulting fees to Diversified Nonprofit Services, a fundraising firm which failed to raise the necessary funds for the B&GC.

16 Responses to “city paying itself back”

  1. cook says:

    We city taxpayers are not only “paying ourselves back,” we are also paying the bill to the clowns at DNS for BGC! Should I be totally outraged or should I try to maneuver the non-profit groups where I volunteer into a position where we can be sloppy (at best) and get a cool million or two??? Either way, it sure makes the BPOL check even more difficult to write this year.

  2. finnegan says:

    I’ve worked for non-profits. At $261k, I’m guessing DNS is not itself a non-profit.

  3. sarah says:

    It’s interesting to me that several of DNS’s “representative” clients are Boys & Girls Clubs across the country – I’m not sure what that says about them and their services.

  4. Even more interesting is that the President of dnsassociates.com, citing a confidentiality agreement in place with out BGC, refused to even confirm that they did anything for our BGC…but yes, they appear to do a lot of “fundraising” activities for BGCs around the country.

  5. Mike says:

    Okay I’m thoroughly confused.

    1. Why does DNS Associates need the confidentiality agreement? Aren’t fundraising figures for non-profits public information?

    2. Boys and Girls Club paid DNS Associates over $250,000 for fundraising services. On their website, DNS says they raised over $400,000,000 through 70 campaigns. How much of that 400 mil did they raise for BGC? $0?

    3. The town council verbally denounced BGC’s actions during that last meeting. Larry Rogers sits on the council, AND is H’burg’s BGC Vice President! So during that meeting, did Mr. Rogers chastise himself for not paying himself back? Why is no one talking about this apparent conflict of interest?

  6. finnegan says:

    Larry Rogers hasn’t been on City Council for years. There are only five members of council, and Rogers is not one of them.

    I’d say someone needs to investigate DNS. What were they getting paid all that money for?

  7. Barb says:

    What I would still like to know is why the BGC waited so long to ‘fess up to the problem? What responsibility does a member of the board of directors of a non-profit have? Who made the decision to go with a company which gobbled up the lion’s share of the money it raised? How many people who gave to the BGC are outraged to think that their money went to line the pockets of this fund-raising company?

    It may not be fair to other area non-profits, but this situation should make it incumbent upon our governmental officials to more closely scrutinize who gets public money, even if they seem to perform a service to the community. The whole BCG situation is an example of a lack of accountability. I have not donated in the past and there is no chance I will in the future.

  8. Mike says:

    “Larry Rogers hasn’t been on City Council for years.”

    Oops. I thought he was back on it.

  9. Susan says:

    Barb – I agree there needs to be accountability for the Club… what they’ve done is outrageous. Please don’t judge all non-profits as bad, though. Many do a wonderful work and are deserving of (public and private) investment.

  10. finnegan says:

    Well, technically the city has known this was coming for at least a year.

  11. finnegan says:

    And, as you can see in today’s DNR, the B&GC still has to repay a separate loan they took from the Housing Authority.

  12. finnegan says:

    The AFP podcast about this issue, as well as a few others, is up on the AFP podcast page.

  13. finnegan says:

    As if the B&GC needed any more bad publicity, there’s a story in today’s DNR about the Curt family yanking $400,000 in pledges to the club, and asking for B&GC Director, Heather Denman’s resignation.

  14. Marcus says:

    Hasn’t the debt been reduced to $750,000? I saw the most recent article quoting it at $1.5 million still. Did that reduction change?

    Barb – Many non-profits share their financial information publicly and welcome people to understand where the funding goes and keep them personally accountable. I think it is also our responsibility as a community to keep them accountable, not just the local government.

    No one questions that BGC is an enormous value to our community, only how they have used funds. I don’t think not donating is the solution. Businesses, individuals and the government (at all levels) miss use funds at times. It doesn’t mean we stop contributing or paying taxes.

  15. finnegan says:

    Technically the debt was cut in half, but only because the city cut its annual contribution to the club in half (from $101,000 to $50,000). So, the $1.5 million deficit is still there.

    At least, that’s the way I understand it.

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