Here it is the hottest day in recent memory, and I am flashing up a storm anyway today, so hot feels extra hot to me.
Yes, it is 100 degrees down from I don’t want to think about it, and it is dinner time. The phone rings.
BCPF 412-228-4509 is what the caller ID says when I answer.
As soon as I said “hello”, I knew what the call was: another bogus breast cancer charity call.
Janet calling me from a phone solicitor for Breast Cancer Prevention Fund. She was Polly Perky telling me how they were calling all Pennsylvania residents and they were helping women get mammograms and raise awareness. According to her, Pennsylvania had lost all their funding. Her caller ID showed a Pittsburgh area code. Only she was calling from Washington State. From a company I now know is owned by the same man who owns this bogus breast cancer charity!
James Paton, your troll called the wrong survivor.
I asked her how many cents on the dollar actually went to programs. She kept reading her script.
I made a crack about calls at dinner time, and she said that dinner time was at different times everywhere.
I asked her again how many cents on the dollar actually went to programs. And where they were located.
She said Washington State.
Then she said 10 to 12 cents. I asked if that is what the phone solicitors made or what the charity retained.
“I’ll send you a pledge card” she says.
Then she got it. Me in all my Tamoxifen, hot flashing, survivor’s glory.
I told her how dare she call a survivor on a cold call for a bogus charity asking for money.
I told her to put me on the do not call list (this is the 4th or 5th time they have called incidentally.)
Now look what I found on KomoNews.com while I had this woman on the phone – it was like they were listening to my phone call, only this article is months old:
EVERETT, Wash. — There’s no question that breast cancer touches millions. Thousands walk for a cure. An entire month is devoted to breast cancer awareness.
So when Legacy Telemarketing of Everett raises money for the Breast Cancer Prevention Fund, also of Everett, the plea for money inspires people to give.
Insiders with the telemarketer told the Problem Solvers they typically start off by asking for a donation of $180. They tell prospective donors that $180 would help two women, and that they believe the money is for just one thing: “for women to get mammograms.”
That plea touches people like Carl Hu, whose wife and sister both fought hard to survive the disease.
“That one-year period was definitely a very trying time,” he said, remembering their battles.
Well-aware of the value of mammograms, Hu was ready to donate until he took a closer look at the charity.
“What I found was just nothing short of shocking,” he said.
The Breast Cancer Prevention Fund, or the BCPF, was founded in 2004 by James Paton. And that same James Paton is also listed in records from the secretary of state’s office as the owner of Legacy Telemarketing.
“That sounded some huge alarm bells,” said Hu.
According to documents obtained by the Problem Solvers, Legacy and BCPF share the same post office box and the same storefront in Everett. And BCPF has been Legacy’s only nonprofit client since 2007. The relationship has made millions.
“It sounded like a huge conflict of interest when the president of the charity is employing his own telemarketing company,” said Hu.
Hu said the Legacy telemarketer was clear about where his donation would go: “During the phone call, they assured me all the money would go to pay for mammograms.”
That’s what two Legacy employees, one past and one current, confirm they were told to say. One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Problem Solvers she was told to say “that we’re raising money so that uninsured women can receive mammograms.”
And April Calf-Robe, who no longer works for Legacy, said she was told to say “that we were raising money to help women in their area get mammograms.”
And BCPF has paid for mammograms. According to the charity’s IRS filings, since 2005, BCPF has paid out almost $3.5 million for mammograms for uninsured women. But over that same period, the charity, through Legacy telemarketing, raised nearly $17.5 million. After expenses, the charity has paid Legacy nearly $10.5 million. (See IRS filings: Part 1/Part 2) …At the only address for BCPF and Legacy Telemarketing, no one wanted to explain where that $10.5 million went. When the Problem Solvers asked for anyone who could answer questions about BCPF, the staff members said no one at the location could do so. And when we asked to speak to Jim Paton, manager Jeff Cunningham told KOMO News, “He doesn’t particularly work out of this office,” then asked us to leave.
Though Paton owns three businesses including Legacy, his only other address is a waterfront home on the south end of Lopez Island. He purchased the home for $1.5 million three years ago and continues to improve it. He is currently adding a large additional garage structure.
The Problem Solvers went to his island home and asked to speak with him. A woman there said Paton was in Everett. But we found the Legacy headquarters locked up, reporting telephone and computer problems. We found one of the cars registered to Paton parked out back, but no one would come to the door.
When we finally reached Paton by phone, he refused to disclose how much money he makes from Legacy, refused to sit down for an interview and continues to refuse to answer e-mailed questions sent to him at his request.
“Certainly it’s a conflict of interest,” said certified public account Ed Clark. The Problem Solvers asked the CPA firm of Clark, Raymond and Co. to review BCPF and Legacy’s documents. Comparing IRS and state filings, Clark, the firm’s owner, said it appears Paton is not being upfront and disclosing for donors and regulators how much money, if any, he’s making from Legacy.
“I think the Internal Revenue Service would be very interested in looking at this arrangement,” he said.
Legacy’s phone solicitor Perky Janet gave me a phone number 1-877-810-5921 “program services”.
I also checked out what the Better Business Bureau had to say. As soon as I saw “did not disclose” I had read enough.
And does Guidestar seem entralled? Not really. Guidestar put a clue to their financials on their website:
May 9, 2012
March 15, 2012
Moral of the story? The Breast Cancer Prevention Fund is just as bad, if not worse that The Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation. And just like the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, they have been outed by the media.
Screw them and the horse they rode in on. Hang up on them. Report them to your state’s Attorney General’s Office as they ALL have an office within their offices that deal with charities and non-profits.
By all means give to charity, but the legitimate ones don’t call you like this. Check your charities out. If the shoe doesn’t fit, again, it is o.k. to say “no”.