September 28, 2012; Source: KRQE-Albuquerque
Earlier this year, NPQ noted that the U.S. Senate Finance Committee has launched an investigation into the nonprofit Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), which, according to its 990 tax forms, spent almost $61 million in contracts with the Dutch direct mail firm Quadriga Art, LLC. Quadriga asserted that it had brought nearly two million donors to the DVNF. As the Senate investigation of DVNF has progressed, more details are coming to light about Quadriga, including its dealings with the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School in Thoreau, N.M., which serves approximately 200 children, the vast majority of them living below the federal poverty line.
According to the NBC affiliate KRQE, “The international company sends mailers to people on the behalf of charities asking for donations. In exchange for doing all the leg work, Quadriga Art keeps a portion of the money but, in St. Bonaventure’s case it was all the money; $9 million to be exact. To top it off, Quadriga Art actually claims the non-profit school owes the company money, approximately $5 million dollars.”
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CNN’s reporting on this situation states that “almost none of the money went to” St. Bonaventure (emphasis ours), and adds that sources say that “in addition to the Senate inquiry, attorneys general for New York and California are investigating Quadriga for possible fraudulent practices.” The CEO of the Los Angeles-based Help the Children told CNN that contracting with Quadriga was a “big mistake” for his organization, saying that Quadriga raised about $800,000 for the charity but only provided Help the Children with approximately $32,000 of that amount.
Quadriga Art CEO responds that his organization has never been fined nor charged with any wrongdoing, but St. Bonaventure has stopped doing business with Quadriga.
InformationArcheology.com speculates that Quadriga Arts could be “the masterminds of a major money laundering operation—using non-profits as fronts.” We’ll continue to keep an eye on this matter. –Mike Keefe-Feldman