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Home Columns JGL Eye Stirring Up a Hornet’s Nest in Las Vegas, Nevada
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Columns - JGL Eye
Friday, 10 August 2012 09:51

 

JGL Eye Column

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2012 Journal Group Link International)

   

L AS VEGAS, Nevada (jGLi) – My accidental host in my trip to the Aug. 1-4  UNITY Journalists convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, was fuming that I am stirring up a hornet’s nest by listening to complaints by some disgruntled members of a Filipino-American group, advocating for recognition and payment of benefits of some 24,000 surviving Filipino World War II veterans.

 

My host, who welcomed me in his home for an emergency seven-hour overnight stay when my original host failed to fetch me that night, thinks I insulted him when I declined to tell him the identity of my source, who led me to the doorsteps of Jim Castillo and his wife, Rosie Castillo, former officers of the Filipino-American Veterans of Nevada (FAVN).

 

My accidental host does not understand that there are some protocols observed by professional journalists – that journalists ought to protect the identity of their sources, unless the sources waive this confidentiality. Maybe he hasn’t heard of Judith Miller of the New York Times, who spent three months in jail for invoking this privilege and refusing to reveal her sources in the CIA leak.

The Castillos told me that they were arbitrarily removed as officers of the Filipino-American Veterans of Nevada (FAVN) organization when they started to request for a copy of the financial report from the various fund-raising activities conducted by the group since 2010.

 

My accidental host told me that since the non-disclosure of the group’s financial report is “old, old, old, old,” I would only be wasting my time in probing into the mess. He does not know that the statute of limitations for federal fraud, like mail and wire frauds, is five years. This means the federal investigators could still peer into the financial mess that happened less than five years ago.

 

My accidental host does not understand either that a journalist has to get all sides of a story before writing it or before forming his own opinion.

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And if there is nothing wrong because it is an “old, old, old, old” concern, why is he mightily trying put a firewall between me and the Castillos my accidental host accused as publicity seekers? I don’t mind if some people are publicity seekers for as long they are only seeking and speaking the truth.

 

“501(c)(19) ORGANIZATIONS”

 

J im Castillo accepted an invitation to join the Filipino American Veterans of Nevada in May 2010 because as a retired sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps, he is qualified to join a “501(c)(19)” organization of past or present members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

“I wanted to do some volunteer work or community service to the community,” Jim Castillo told me.

 

On June 2010, the founder and acting president of the FAVN appointed him as Membership-and-Meeting coordinator, whose main duties are to recruit new members, to schedule meetings and to correspond to members or call or email blasts the monthly meeting and agenda.

 

Because under Section 511 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a 501(c) organization, like FAVN, is subject to tax on its “unrelated business income,” Mr. Castillo asked for a copy of the by-laws of the FAVN but the president showed him only a rough draft.

 

Instead of first submitting a copy of the by-laws to the Nevada Secretary of State, the president of FAVN went ahead with the first fund-raising of the group on Aug. 29, 2010 at South Point Hotel and Casino called “Bowl-for-Veterans in partnership with ‘Bringing Families Back’ and the ‘Shine Family Foundation.’” Money raised for the event would be used to finance the upcoming Veterans Day “Salute to all Veterans” Dinner Ball & Show that was held at Palace Station Hotel on Nov. 12, 2010.

 

Because there were 240 people, who registered as bowlers, at $25 per bowler, the Aug. 29, 2010 event could have easily generated $6,000.

 

During the “Salute to the Veterans Dinner and Ball” on Nov. 12, 2010, at the Palace Station, 300 people attended. At $30 ticket per person, it should have collected $9,000.

During the Memorial Day Dinner and Dance on Nov. 4, 2011, at Palace Station, about 300 to 400 people attended. At $40 per dinner ticket, the event should have earned between $12,000 and $16,000.

 

NaFFAA TURNED BACK ON ITS PROMISE

 

In another Memorial Day May 2012 fund raising at Bugsy’s at the corner of West Sahara and Jones, dinner tickets were sold at $25 each, plus donations from some sponsors, sales of patriotic scarves, neckties and the book of the late Commander Cedula. But there was no estimate of the number of dinner tickets sold or collections from sponsors and sales of scarves, neckties and the book.

 

There was another event on June 4, 2011, called Fiesta Filipino at Maryland Parkway in front of Sears Department Store parking lot. The NaFFAA President announced at the Memorial Day Dinner that part of the proceeds of Fiesta Filipino would go to FAVN. There were 18,000 to 20,000 people, who attended the Fiesta, but two weeks after the event both presidents of FAVN and NaFFAA thanked the FAVN but were quiet about the monetary pledge to FAVN although Fiesta turned a profit.

 

For the Nov. 12, 2010 Salute to the Veterans Dinner and Ball, the president of FAVN declared a $2,000 profit in a piece of paper that was not distributed to the members. For the Nov. 4, 2011 Second Dinner Ball at Palace Station Hotel and Casino, the FAVN president “read all the event expenses in a piece of paper, but there was no formal profit and loss financial statement distributed to the members.”

 

Jim Castillo said that after the FAVN treasurer resigned in September 2010, the FAVN president appointed him as temporary or “de facto” treasurer  because he did not handle any money, except signing a few checks. But the president’s wife, who handled the group’s money, was the “de jure” treasurer. Yet Jim’s name was submitted as treasurer of the group to the Secretary of State.

 

After the website of the FAVN was constructed, Pay Pal and credit card accounts were opened but only the FAVN president can access or use them.

 

There were sales of shirts at $25 each, vests at $35 each, ball caps, neck ties, books, DVD’s and membership dues at $10 each of 200 members but there was no financial report.

 

Castillo wants the IRS to compel the FAVN president to produce its financial records.

Before 2008, exempt organization may not file annual returns if it grossed an annual income of less than $25,000. But now, such organizations must file a yearly “e-Postcard” known as Form 990-N, or risk losing their exemption.

 

The FAVN president did not respond to email request for comment by this column.

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# # #

 

Watch out for the upcoming media-outlet oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 



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Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 20:56
 
Comments (1)
1 Friday, 14 September 2012 12:41
this situation or events must be investigated by legal authorities for possible fraud and IRS tax audits as income tax evation etc. Jim i suggest that we form our own association and members duly elect its officers to two year term of office and annual financial report of its incoming and outgoing expenses etc.

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