By Kristen M. Clark
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
WELLINGTON — The state is looking into why Wellington Village Councilman John Greene hasn’t registered as a professional fundraising consultant despite working for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Foundation in that capacity since January 2013.
Neither Greene nor the foundation disclosed their contractual relationship to the state agency that monitors charitable organizations, a Palm Beach Post investigation found.
This lack of disclosure is among several reasons The Post is seeking to unseal financial records in Greene’s divorce case in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
In a court motion filed Wednesday, attorneys for The Post argue Greene’s failure to register with the state means the financial records in his divorce could “shed light on the nature of the payments he is receiving from the foundation.”
Those payments are supposed to be public; however, registration documents and annual tax returns filed by the foundation conflict over how exactly Greene works for the foundation — “an issue” state officials said Wednesday needs to be rectified.
Greene and foundation Chairman Rick Seymour did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.
In its most recent tax return to the IRS, the foundation acknowledges spending $30,750 on professional fundraising services in 2012-13. That’s the same amount Greene is listed as receiving for his work as an “independent contractor” during the first six months of 2013.
However, on the foundation’s annual renewal form to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the foundation said it does not employ a professional fundraising consultant.
In the interest of “full public disclosure” regarding charities, Florida state law requires professional fundraising consultants to register annually with the state before engaging in any fundraising activities. Registration includes submitting signed copies of contract agreements between the consultant and the foundation they work for.
State officials confirmed this week that they have no record of Greene, nor his company Bari Limerick Corp., ever registering with the state, and the foundation never disclosed any fundraising consultant in its paperwork to them.
FDACS spokeswoman Erin Gillespie said the agency’s “first goal is to educate organizations and bring them into compliance with the law,” so state officials first plan to send an official inquiry to Greene regarding his registration.
He and the foundation will then be given 30 days to shore up the issue and reflect their contractual relationship in public filings with the agency, Gillespie said.
The foundation is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is “to help meet unbudgeted needs” of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Between July 2012 and June 2013 — the most recent information available — the foundation reported raising nearly $385,000, including $13,200 from fundraising events. It reported spending about $294,000, of which $258,500 went toward program expenses supplementing the work of the sheriff’s office.
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