Updated: Animal rescue group Project HALO files complaint with N.C. Secretary of State
Originally published: Sept. 14, 2010, 8:14 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 20, 2010, 11 a.m.
CHARLOTTE — Business owners at the center of fundraising fraud allegations attempted to smooth over controversy Tuesday, Sept. 14 after the president of a non-profit animal rescue group alleged they had misrepresented their intentions in fundraising at an event this summer.
In a complaint to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section, Project Halo’s Rhonda Thomas alleged for-profit WoofTease owners and Club Cub directors Rex Mumea and Dustin Slate fraudulently identified her organization as a beneficiary of their July 29-Aug. 1 “WoofTease Presents Club Cub” party at the Ramada Inn on W. Woodlawn Rd. In the complaint, which Thomas provided to qnotes, she said she had yet to receive any funds raised through the event.
Last Tuesday Mumea and Slate delivered a $100 check to Thomas, and told qnotes the controversy was the result of “drama” created by a former Club Cub organizer. Mumea said he would have rather handled this situation out of the public spotlight, and that he was holding true to his original statements to Thomas.
“We are following through with exactly what we said we’d do in the time frame we said we’d do it in,” Mumea said. “We said we’d get everything done in mid-September. It is September. We are getting everything done. We are following the timeline we set out for them when we had our original conversation with them.”
Eighteen pages of documentation, including transcripts of voicemail messages and email communication, were attached to Thomas’ complaint to the Secretary of State’s office.
In one email dated Aug. 20, Mumea tells Thomas he has yet to complete accounting work for events held in July and August.
“We are in the middle of several weeks of business related travel,” Mumea wrote. “All of this in the middle of moving, running a t-shirt business, planning several future events and fund raisers, and assisting with other events/fund raisers. We’ll have the time to sit and do accounting mid September for July and August events.”
A transcript of an Aug. 21 voicemail message allegedly from Mumea to Thomas was provided with the complaint. In it, Mumea reiterates a forthcoming donation to Project HALO.
“So, once we get a chance to get our accounting done we’ll make a token donation umm to fulfill our obligation,” the transcript reads. “Umm, the remainder of the funds that we had set aside we’ll put towards a good use for a umm for probably a different charity. … Umm, beginning of September you can be looking forward to a token donation from us.”
Slate said he and Mumea have a meeting set up with Thomas for later this week. “Hopefully the matter can be solved,” he said.
Thomas isn’t yet sure how she will handle the official complaint but, like Mumea and Slate, said she hopes the situation will result in an amicable resolution.
In a related concern, qnotes asked Mumea and Slate about the current state of Club Cub’s non-profit status. On its website, Club Cub identifies itself as a 501(c)4 non-profit corporation, but a search of the Secretary of State’s corporations database returned no listing for WoofTease or Club Cub. Neither Mumea nor Slate were found as registered agents for any corporation, either for-profit or non-profit. Mumea and Slate both said their non-profit application had been submitted to the IRS and was pending. Their pending status is not listed on the Club Cub’s website.
Update (Sept. 20, 2010, 11 a.m.): Late last week, qnotes learned that Dustin Slate, Rhonda Thomas and Jeff Enochs, a former Club Cub treasurer, had met and decided to put their disagreement aside. Enochs said the three had come up with a statement, but wasn’t yet willing to release it to the media. However, in comments on this story, Enochs, Slate and Thomas all agree that the controversy was a “misunderstanding.”
“Dustin, Jeff Enochs and I sat down last week,” Thomas writes. “Although I have not received a monetary donation from Club Cub I have agreed to drop this matter. Dustin and I have agreed that a donation will be made to Project HALO but the terms have yet to be finalized.”
Enochs had come under attack by Rex Mumea and anonymous commenters for alleged misappropriation of funds. Thomas writes, “Dustin also agreed that Jeff Enochs stole nothing from Club Cub and Jeff had all the documentation to prove this.”
Echoing her remarks, Enochs writes, “Project Halo, Dustin Slate and myself sat down for a meeting and agreed that we would not escelate [sic] this issue any further. Project Halo and ClubCub have reached an agreement that honors the donation promised, and after reviewing all 2009 finacial [sic] records Dustin has agreed that there were no misappropriation of funds. Any further action is a result of the State of NC and no longer involves Halo or Myself.”
Although Project HALO says it will drop the issue, the official complaint and any pending investigation by the Secretary of State could continue.
“If the parties try to come to some sort of agreement amongst themselves, generally speaking it’s not like there is a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to it,” Secretary of State spokesperson Liz Proctor told qnotes. “It would really just depend on the fact pattern. The question would still come down to whether or not we thought there had been a violation of state statute.”