Tell the truth, Joe Elmore!
On Tuesday, August 28th, 94.3 radio host Kelly Golden had Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore on her show to discuss his organization’s ongoing opposition to the local carriage industry.
During the interview, Elmore made several misleading and untrue statements regarding our friends at L.E.A.R.N Horse Rescue that we would like to clear up.
But first, let’s remind folks how we got here.
On June 9th, ABC News 4 featured a story about L.E.A.R.N.’s request for funding assistance from the Charleston Animal Society to help save two malnourished horses, Spirit and Bailey. When their request was denied by CAS, the member companies of Charleston C.A.R.E.S. stepped up and donated $3,000 to help save the two horses.During his August 28th interview with Kelly Golden, Elmore was asked about his organization’s refusal to help L.E.A.R.N.
Elmore previously told the media that the Charleston Animal Society could not help because its funds covered “veterinary outreach for dogs and cats,” but that’s not what he told Kelly Golden.
Here is a clip from the interview when Elmore speaks about L.E.A.R.N’s request.
Kelly Golden: When [LEARN] reached out for help [for funds for Spirit and Bailey], you were ready to assist?
Joe Elmore: Right…but then when you don’t respond to “what are your finances?”… they haven’t responded and it’s the due diligence, now if they were accredited, or if their tax forms could explain the 35% of their expenses rather than ‘other’ category, I mean – non-profits just don’t do that… When I find out that, well somebody else, another organization, has paid for that – you know that gets on that slippery slope of double-dipping and you know we can’t – that’s both unethical and illegal.
KG: So basically they had already gotten the funds that they were asking to help, for you to help…
Let’s take this in two parts:
1. Elmore LIED about L.E.A.R.N “double-dipping.”
Double-dipping? Elmore has made this statement about L.E.A.R.N. to the press before. Charleston CARES donated the $3,000 for Spirit and Bailey AFTER the CAS refused L.E.A.R.N's request for the same amount of assistance - not before.
We’re not sure what Elmore meant by those statements to Kelly Golden; however, in no case are our local horse rescues substandard organizations.
2. Tax forms are different based off of financial activity.
First off, publicly available tax forms dispute what Elmore said in the interview.
L.E.A.R.N files a 990EZ form. Charleston Animal Society files a regular 990. Both of these forms include an ‘other expenses’ category.
In 2016 (the last tax year available online), L.E.A.R.N reported ~93% of its expenses in the ‘other expenses’ category and described them in their Schedule O as required:
They did not simply list them as ‘other.’ In fact, L.E.A.R.N detailed every single ‘other’ expense.
In the same tax year, 2016, Charleston Animal Society reported ~47% of its expenses as ‘other.’ It is no surprise that Charleston Animal Society’s percentage is lower because of the categories available on its 990 form. Charleston Animal Society was able to report ~58% of its total expenses as "salaries, other compensation, employee benefits".
L.E.A.R.N's amount of salary and benefits paid was $0. On the 990EZ form, the category ‘total fundraising expenses’ does not exist as it does on the 990 form. So, Charleston Animal Society was also able to report $997,156 as 'total fundraising expenses,’ while L.E.A.R.N had to report its $7,100 as ‘other expenses.’ Charleston Animal Society detailed most of its "other expenses,” however it still reported $502,705 as undefined ‘other.’
So what does reporting expenses as ‘other’ say about L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue, Charleston Animal Society or any other non-profit? Nothing at all – it’s just how the information is submitted on their tax forms.
Elmore’s baseless attacks on L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue, a non-profit committed to saving neglected horses, are shameful. First he refused to help them, now he’s lying about why.
Charleston C.A.R.E.S. stands with L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue because, unlike Joe Elmore and the political activists at the Charleston Animal Society, we are truthful about our commitment to the welfare of local horses.