Kristen M. Clark

By Kristen M. Clark

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

 

 

WELLINGTON — The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Foundation has severed its ties with Wellington Vice Mayor John Greene because of his failure to register with the state as a professional fundraising consultant.

 

The foundation terminated its contract with Greene one week after The Palm Beach Post reported last month that Greene hadn’t registered and that neither Greene nor the foundation had disclosed their contractual relationship to the state agency that monitors charitable organizations, as state law requires.

 

“We have no issues with his work for the foundation,” Chairman Rick Seymour said of Greene. “It was just a matter of this compliance issue coming to our attention and we just wanted to remedy that.”

 

“It was pretty obvious that we had made an error,” Seymour added.

 

The foundation also quickly resolved the disclosure issue, telling the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that it was an “inadvertent” error.

 

Treasurer Juan Cocuy wrote in a Sept. 3 letter to the agency that the foundation accidentally checked the wrong box on its tax return where the not-for-profit was asked whether it employed a professional fundraising consultant.

 

“The answer should have been ‘yes,’” Cocuy wrote.

 

According to an email Cocuy provided to the state, Greene was notified on Aug. 28 that his contract was terminated.

 

In an e-mail statement to The Post, Greene praised the foundation’s work and said his work with the group was “a privilege.”

 

“I will continue to support the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Foundation as an unpaid volunteer,” Greene said.

 

He did not respond to questions about his failure to register, including why he didn’t register when he worked for the foundation and whether he planned to register in the future.

 

In the interest of “full public disclosure” for 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 contractual agreements between the consultant and the foundation they work for, but prior to Cocuy’s response to the state this month, the agency had no record of Greene’s contract with the foundation.

 

Greene, through his company Bari Limerick Corp., had started as an independent contractor for the foundation in January 2013.

 

Records recently filed with the state show Greene’s one-year contract lapsed in December but was renewed for another year in April.

 

The foundation is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is “to help meet unbudgeted needs” of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Seymour said Greene has done a “great job” leading the group’s fund-raising efforts.

 

Records show the April contract gave Greene a raise of $1,000 per month, increasing his base salary nearly 20 percent to $73,500 this year. Under the agreement, Greene was also eligible for bonuses if he met certain benchmarks for the amount of donations he brought in.

 

Seymour said the foundation’s board of directors “would definitely entertain the opportunity” to work with Greene again, so long as he is properly registered with the state.

 

“We’re not quite sure what John’s intentions are at this point in time,” Seymour said. “He understood why the agreement was terminated, and as far as I know, he was looking into making the necessary steps to become registered.”

Sheriff’s Foundation fires Wellington’s John Greene as fund-raiser

Sept. 28, 2014 • News • Pages A1, A9

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