Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Silence of the Lame: SF Pride & IRS 990s

(Gavin Newsom, California lieutenant governor, signed a photo of himself and Bradley Manning in 2009. Credit:

Let's follow the money at SF Pride committee, but first I must note that as I write it is five days (like five weeks in web-time) since the committee put forth any message to the community they purport to represent and work on behalf of.

Silence of the lame for this long, and no indication that the Pride board has a plan for respectful and regular engagement with the public, is a clear sign that if a significant number of pissed off queers got their act together and waged a sustain campaign against the bullshit of Pride, it should not be that hard to effect fundamental change.

Regarding Pride's fiscal transparency on their site, it does not exist. There are no IRS 990 filings posted, a serious sunshine deficit and alone raises grave concerns about their longstanding problems of being accountable to us.

You can read their three latest IRS 990s at GuideStar and just because the filings are there is no excuse for Pride or any nonprofit to not post at least three of their most current 990s.

I've looked at Pride's 2009, 2010 and 2011 filings and here is what most intrigued me, a disclosure to the IRS about governance made each year:

Currently the agency is not strictly monitoring conflicts of interest and relies on officers, directors and key employees to voluntarily disclose possible conflicts. The board of directors is currently in the process of developing an annual monitoring/compliance checklist to be completed and signed by appropriate individuals.

Pretty amazing Pride does not have such a policy in place and in three years' worth of 990s, they say it's in development. Ha!

Since there is no strict, or any I imagine in reality, monitoring of conflicts of interests I wonder if there are any  with the board president Lisa Williams, the executive director Earl Plante (remember him?), other board members and executives and the many corporate sponsors.

Williams owns and operates the One Source Public Affairs, a boutique consulting firm, and treasurer David Currie is a managing partner at Match Point Global and identifies as "a serial entrepreneur", and may or may not have interests with the banking, alcohol and other industries trying to hook new clients up to their services and buy their products.

I don't know if vice president of the board Davace Chin also owns a consulting firm or other may have reason to have a relationship with Pride sponsors because his bio at their site says it's coming soon. Yep, and so is that conflicts of interest checklist.

Do any Pride leaders have conflicts of interests with sponsor that ought to be revealed to us? When Pride gets around to holding a public meeting, I'll ask this question.

Last point about Pride's IRS 990s. They are filed by the middle of May, which means their 2012 filing will soon be available for public inspection and hope by then that Pride has revised its web site to include that filing and the previous three. I'll post an alert when folks should start to ask to see the new filing. Remember this important point about IRS law.

The day a nonprofit accepts their IRS 990 from their accounting firm and files it with the Treasury Department is the day it must be made available for public inspection. Pride should emulate the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which posts their latest filing to their site with days of sending it to the IRS and make five years of filing available on their site.

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