So in part one of the multi part rant, we saw the 'public' defleption and even attempt to cover up legitimate questions concerning the imfamous auction. From ignored questions, to locked threads.
So there was little choice but to contact the Spin Master directly and ask the questions that needed to be asked. After just a little research of Foundations, 3rd party charity fund raising, and even Virginia State Law, the following email was sent to WEBMASTER of the Sadler Fan Club as per Brett's instructions.
The following email was sent on Tue, 21 Mar 2006:
There are always easy ways to do things, and there are hard ways. Your decision to ignore and deflect attention to questions posted and via email have left no other choice but to pursue the matter further concerning the Ebay auction of item 8770898404 and its anomalies. The questions previously asked were not abnormal questions and in fact came from a Federal Trade Commission’s report concerning their warnings of potential charity scams by third parties.
Concerning the auction itself.
Pursuant to Ebay policy with items where a portion of the proceeds will go directly to a charitable organization and pursuant to Virginia State Law, the following questions are posed.
1) Since we all now know the final selling price the item ($820) what is the exact ‘portion’ of this amount going to the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation? I site Ebay’s policy and guidelines concerning fundraising:
Guidelines for non-eBay Giving Works charity listings
Sellers may only list items for charity without eBay Giving Works if they:
· Are soliciting on behalf of recognized tax-deductible charitable organizations (for example, 501(c)(3) status or equivalent with the IRS).
· Receive advance written consent for the solicitation from the benefiting nonprofit.
To verify you received permission, you must include a scanned copy of the consent in your listing. It must appear with the nonprofit’s letterhead, signed by an officer and include the nonprofit’s tax-deductibility status as well as your name or eBay User ID, dates of event/listings, and donation amount (percentage of the final sale price).
2) Because the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation is a registered 501(c) 3 organization with a NTEE Code of T-30, what did you as the seller place as the ‘reasonable value’ of the item 8770898404 before the auction was made public?
3) “Shill bidding” is a very serious crime, especially in the Sports Memorabilia Industry and has been prosecuted by State Attorney Generals on numerous occasions. The identity of bidder ID “spotter38” has been traced and connected to the seller’s ID. This is a blatant and obvious violation of Ebay policy as well as Federal law. Are you prepared to compensate the amounts shill bided to the eventual winner of the auction? This becomes a credibility issue and buyer confidence issue and something that should not be taken lightly.
4) Virginia State Law requires that all "Charitable sales promotions" (see § 57-48. Definitions of Virginia State Code) and a “Commercial co-venturer” (in this case “Driver’s Sports Motorsports Marketing”) that contract and agreement information is to be filed and become public record to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of the State of Virginia. Has this been completed? And what is the official IRS status of “Driver’s Sports Motorsports Marketing”? (a Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Limited Liability Company/Partnership (LLC/LLP), Corporation, Subchapter S Corporation)
Concerning the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation
It was previously asked and ignored (in spite of the remark concerning 'fan support') concerning the Mission Statement, the Foundation’s 501(c)3 status, and other serious and legal questions, the following is formally being asked to be made available.
1) A list of the Board of Directors or officials and their contact information and future scheduled meeting dates.
2) The Foundation’s Mission Statement and the specific programs the foundation has supported in the past 3 fiscal years
3) As pursuant to Federal Statue section 6104(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, please provide the most recent ‘Form 990’ including the Schedule “A” attachment along with any other supporting documentation for the past three years filed, specific disclosure of support documentation of line ‘14 of the Form 990’. This will also be asked after the filing deadline of May 15, 2006 for the 2005 taxable year, if not included in this request.
4) A copy of the Foundation’s latest annual report.
If the requested information can’t be returned electronically, a physical address of an organization/watchdog group that monitors activities such as this will be provided.
It is unfortunate that because of the actions of the powers that be this had to come to such an extreme situation. In this day an age with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is the vehicle, state governments are holding even nonprofits to higher accounting standards. Compounding the fact that this is not the first time this foundation has benefited from Ebay Auctions over the past 3 years, it appears that you simply are wanting potential bidders/buyers of items offered by Driver’s Sports Motorsports Marketing to simply take your word and turn a blind eye to potential legal issues and implications that may arise. It is foolish to donate any amount of money or bid on a charity item without having questions directly answered in a forth coming and open manner. Not only have you failed to do this, you have opened up possible suspicion and skepticism of the motives of Driver’s Sports Motorsports Marketing as a whole.
In accordance with Federal Statue section 6104(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, and the Federal Trade Commissions guidelines, your response is pending.
Thank you for your time.
While on the surface this lengthly information request might seem un-needed, but when people use the ruse of 'a portion while go to charity' in order to profit from it, then questions like this will be asked. What is sad, is that I know that the Sadler's don't need the money, and neither does Brett, and we are only talking about a few hundred dollars. And the majority of the questions I asked, with just a little research, I already knew the answers, (for instance, electronic copies of the Foundations Federal tax forms, the Form 990 are public record) the real test was to see if Brett would answer them. Brett's direct response speaks volumes.
To be continued......