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Friday, February 09, 2007

Scammed!

White-collar crimes, especially those pulled by scam artists, are somehow considered less serious than other offenses. Don't tell that to the folks at Ocean County College, the United Way of Ocean County and the Berkeley Little League. Each of these nonprofits was pledged big bucks by an anonymous donor, Edward Devine, who, it turns out, doesn't have the money to give. Is reneging on a pledge a crime? Probably not. It's just a promise to pay, not a contractual obligation. But the organizations all took actions based on his supposed generosity. There should be some recourse.

In OCC's case, Devine's $2.5 million pledge helped keep the planetarium open. His $500,000 donation put the United Way one third closer to its fundraising goal. And the Little League was ready to complete its ballfield complex with the $350,000 the donor promised. Now, they're all back to ground zero. And what about the two scholarships the league gave out based on the donation? Or any OCC personnel who gave up outside job offers to stay with the planetarium? Or any other donations made to these groups inspired by the anonymous giver?

Robert Everett, president of the Little League, undoubtedly spoke for many others when he said: "When someone comes and offers you that kind of money, you don't run a credit report on him. You say 'Thank you.''' Have we reached the point where nonprofits have to check on the creditworthiness of their donors? Afraid so, to guard against the Edward Devines of this world. Have these nonprofits lost their faith in generous donors? Let's hope not.

2 Comments:

Anonymous ralph said...

I think this guy should most definitly be appointed by Czar Corzine to the new comptroller posititon or perhaps the new special legislative counsel he is looking for

10:09 AM, February 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a no-brainer: Hold off on having the press conference until the check clears the bank.

3:58 PM, February 12, 2007  

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