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November 11, 2015

Millions Given to Calif. Youth Charity Goes to Telemarketers

A California youth nonprofit that has raised some $6.9 million since 2011 with the help of celebrities and major-league sports teams has paid 83 percent of the money to professional fundraisers, the Los Angeles Post-Examiner writes. California Police Youth Charities paid $5.7 million to two for-profit solicitation firms while earmarking less than 1 percent of its revenue for programs supporting at-risk youths, according to tax filings.

The charity advertises affiliations with the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Sacramento Kings, and Oakland Athletics and lists singer Eddie Money, 2001 Playboy Playmate of the Year Brande Roderick, and several retired athletes on its board of celebrity advisers. It was named in a 2009 state lawsuit that grew out of a crackdown on fundraising practices.

Officials said at the time that most of the money donated to the group went to the telemarketers National Consultants  and Public Appeals, which it still uses. Under a 2010 settlement the charity admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to obtain state permission before engaging in fundraising. A $700,000 fine was stayed as long as the group complied with the deal terms, which the state attorney general's office said it has done.

Chris Eaton, the charity's executive director, said its tax returns don't show the full extent of its giving. "I can go on and on about what our organization has been able to do through contacts we have made in the past 10 years," he said. "None of which is shown on a 990 form."