Sacramento-based McGeorge School of Law Dean Elizabeth Parker, as
well as faculty-members Paul Paton and Robert Hawley have been publicly
asked by TLR to opine on events relating to Judy Johnson and the
California Consumer Protection Foundation ("CCPF").
Johnson, who until recently served as the Executive Director of the
State Bar of California, secretly headed CCPF for the past 7-8 years,
and used her "clout" as the head of the agency to arrange for "cy pres"
from class action settlements as well as fines and settlements
imposed by the CPUC on utility companies totaling close to $30 million
to be funneled to CCPF, which then forwarded those funds to various
other non-profits, and mostly questionable ACORN-like entities located
in South Los Angeles.
In 2010 Johnson left the State Bar of California in disgrace after a
prolonged embezzlement of close to $800,000 by employee Sharon Pearl
was discovered, and after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
vetoed State Bar related legislation as a result.
Johnson was recently also the subject of a complaint to the IRS for alleged noncompliance with various laws and regulations.
The complaint alleges CCPF and Johnson defrauded and mislead the
public by intentionally omitting various data from CCPF's web-site.
Specifically, data concerting financial transactions between CCPF and an
entity known as Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety ("CARS").
In addition, the complaint also point to various alleged
inconsistencies in the reporting of grants from CCPF to CARS.
CARS is a non-profit entity located in Sacramento, California. It
was established and is headed by Rosemary Shahan. In addition to heading
her own non-profit entity (CARS), Shahan also serves as an "adviser"
to CCPF. See http://consumerfdn.org/advisors.php
According to sources familiar with the situation, CCPF professes and
declares that it lists on its website all the grants it has issued
and all the corresponding grantees going back to 2001. When visiting
CCPF's website, one is given the option to search by year or the
name of the grantee. A search for grants funneled to CARS yields
only 2 results – a grant in 2006 in the amount of $60,000, and
another in 2009 in the amount of $7,400.
One can also visit http://consumerfdn.org/granteesList.php for a list of all the grantees. (See also here.)
Each of the above search options yields the same result – to wit,
only 2 grants are listed that were made to CARS. Unfortunately,
however, this allegedly is not the case, as CCPF's own tax returns
provide otherwise. For example, page 28 of CCPF's IRS Form 990 for 2004 lists a $60,000 grant.
This misrepresentation is allegedly the fruit of an unlawful
conspiracy between Judy Johnson and Rosemary Shahan, and is very
troubling on its face. This is particularly true given that Ms. Shahan,
who serves as an adviser to CCPF, and presumably is familiar with
the content of the website, should have alerted CCPF that the
information presented is inaccurate and false, by omission and
In addition, sources allege that various inconsistencies were
discovered in connection with two types of grants from CCPF to CARS: the
first is the Consumer Auto Advertising Fund ("CAAF") grant and the
second is the Bank of America ("BA1") grant.
In 2004, CARS reported to the IRS revenues from all sources in the amount of $91,009. (See page 28 of CARS 2004 IRS 990 return.) By comparison, CCPF reported that it had funneled to CARS $60,000 from the CAAF grant, and $61,215 from the BA1 grant.
Also in 2004, CCPF reported a leftover "payable" of $61,212 from
the BA1 grant which it holds in reserve for future payment to CARS.
In 2005, CARS reported to the IRS revenues from ALL SOURCES in the amount of only $58,212. (See CARS 2005 IRS 990 returns.)
By comparison, in 2005 CCPF reported funneling $60,000
to CARS out of the CAAF grant. This, according to the sources, already
raises a red flag as it shows that CARS under-reported its revenues
for 2005 by the difference of $1,788. (See here on page 22.)
Most importantly, however, in 2005 CCPF also reported an additional $48,970 distributed to CARS from the BA1 fund, leaving only $12,242 in reserve as "payable." (See entry on page 22.)
Unfortunately, the sources maintain, no corresponding reference to the $48,970 was found on CARS' 2005 tax returns.
TLR is closely monitoring the situation and will keep readers
apprised of the opinions, if any, of Dean Elizabeth Parker and
faculty-members Paul Paton and Robert Hawley.
In: Other News
Tags: CARS, IRS, State Bar of California, Judy Johnson, Joe Dunn, Gwen Moore, CCPF, California Consumer Protection Foundation, Gilmur Murray, Consumers for Auto Reliability Safety, Rosemary Shahan, Michael Shames, Stewart Kwoh
Location: Sacramento, California, United States (load item map)
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