The Salvation Army exec who stole Christmas

I hate the Salvation Army. First off, they aren’t a charitable organization. They are registered as a church, which means while some of the money and goods people give to them do go to the needy, they still run it like it is a business, buying expensive real estate, and more importantly, being exempt from needing to show where it uses its money and for what. Don’t believe me? Take a look at their mission statement:

“the advancement of the Christian religion… of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.”

It’s that “and other charitable objects” which make us think these guys are a charity, but while they do offer some helpful services, it’s more of combination of a church/business than anything else. For instance, did you know they own a real estate portfolio worth in excess of 4 billion dollars? It’s difficult to know how much of their money goes to charity, since as a registered church, they’re exempt from financial scrutiny. Basically, the Salvation Army is like a gigantic mystery box filled with money, goods, and massive financing from the government.

If you were still thinking of donating money or goods after having been told how shitty they are, consider what happened in Toronto recently. Former CEO of the Toronto branch, David Rennie, recently surrendered to police after investigators found 2 million dollars in stolen merchandise he was hoarding in a warehouse. The search began after an anonymous tipster noticed there were over 100k in toys missing from inventory over the period of two years (I ran a warehouse, and I have to tell you, that’s a ridiculous amount of time for things to go missing, and a ridiculous amount of goods to go unnoticed).

The organization now claims it will work to avoid any further problems with the help of accounting firm KPMG. You might remember them for the brilliant audit they did of Bernie Maddoff’s ponzi scheme. Perhaps the Olympic bribery scandal is more familiar to you. How about something more recent, like their failed due diligence in the Hewlett Packard / Autonomy that cost the company 5 billion dollars in losses?

Yeah, I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job of ensuring an organization that has no real accountability is doing right by us…

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