August 3, 2011; Source: Mercury News | The head of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club called it an “extremely minor incident” that the organization sent a check for $250 to Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore’s fundraiser to help retire her campaign debt. The Boys & Girls club CEO, George Phillips, called the issuance of the check “an accident,” unrelated to Gilmore’s having voted in 2009 to award the organization $1 million in park bond funds and an additional $1 million loan to complete its new facility. Phillips said that he might have been carrying a pre-signed (and co-signed by the board president) Boys & Girls Club check when he attended the fundraiser and inadvertently handed in that check rather than a personal check at the Mayor’s fundraiser (he says he carries pre-signed checks to pay for club supplies). When the mayor saw the donation, unfortunately after the check had been cashed, she returned the money to the Boys & Girls Club and Phillips promised to write a personal check for the same amount. It seems like Phillips might have had a brain freeze while attending the Mayor’s event. Given the risk, not just of writing an inadvertent check to politicians, but getting mugged, one might be reconsider walking around with pre-signed nonprofit organization checks.—Rick Cohen
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