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Tonight on AC360: Another charity linked to direct mail company
June 13th, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Another charity linked to direct mail company

If you look at the dogs and cats being so well cared for by the Montreal SPCA, you’d think it’s a charity in solid shape.

But the executive director of the charity told CNN that the organization is still in significant debt to a U.S. direct mail fund raising company after signing a seven year contract.

Nicholas Gilman, the Montreal SPCA’s Executive Director, told CNN’s Drew Griffin that his charity once owed a little more than $4 million to a company called Quadriga Art, headquartered in New York City. Quadriga Art is the same direct mail company still owed more than $15 million by a Washington-based veterans charity, now under investigation by the Senate Finance Committee. That $4 million debt has now been whittled down to around $1.7 million but Quadriga Art, Gilman said, also has a lien on the charity’s shelter in Montreal.

Tonight’s report is the first in a two part investigative series. Tomorrow night, Keeping Them Honest, we’ll have a story about how the fired president of that Canadian charity became the president of a new U.S. animal charity whose signature program called “Baghdad Pups” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. K. Watt

    Please investigate the supposed non profit HSUS!

    June 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  2. Linda Rappaport

    It would be sooooo cool if you investigated the Humane Society of the United States. The HSUS raised $131 million dollars in 2010 and passed along only ONE PERCENT to animal shelters. The HSUS has net assets of nearly $188 million dollars - expenses included fundraising - $24 million, salaries and benefits - $36 million, pension - nearly $3 million, grants for ballot initiatives - nearly $2 million. I can hardly wait to see this story on the national news!

    June 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  3. E. S. Worthington

    HSUS/PETA certainly deseerve your attention. These 2 organizations have scammed the public for decades and used the monies donated for political campaigns, their salaries (exhorbitant) and retirement funds, and to advance their vegan political agenda. They certainly are not saving the animals (killing over 90% of those surrendered to them) and don't intend to do so.

    June 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  4. Gail Smith

    While you are looking at questionable animal related charities, take a look at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They have those heart-wrenching ads on TV showing abused and neglected dogs & cats asking you to donate $19/month for their care. Yet, HSUS Form 990 returns show that only 9 CENTS of that $19/mo actually goes to direct care of the animals. The remaining $18.91 goes to executive pensions, lawyers' salaries, fund raising and lobbying. And, speaking of lobbying, aren't there restrictions on how much lobbying a non-profit organization can do? Apparently not for HSUS.

    June 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  5. Laurella Desborough

    Hello Anderson. I just loved that program because everyone needs to know the truth. When I get phone calls for donations I always ask: What percentage goes to the project and what percentage to Administration? If the amount for the project is less than 50 percent. I hang up.

    In the US you might find it of interest to investigate the Humane Society of the United States as they donate less than one percent of each dollar to the animals...most goes to fund raising costs, lobbying, lawyers, etc. but not to animals. Check out http://www.humanewatch.org for more details. People need to know they are not helping animals by donating to HSUS. They can provide help to animals by donating to their local shelters.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  6. wendy

    Thank you so much for having this topic on your show!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  7. vet Barnes

    Why don't you investigate the HSUS who gets 150 million a year in donations using a company like this but gives less than 1% of their income to the director care of animals. They spend most of their money on lobbying to prevent pet ownership. They are a cult of animal rights radicals whose goal it is to end all use of animals for any purpose. The IRS has been asked to investigate their charity statua by over 30 thousand people and yet they drag their feet knowing that HSUS is in violation.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  8. Bill

    I'm shocked that you haven't heard of this type of scam before! I thought the way Quadriga Art works was pretty common knowledge. I ran into a fund raiser like Quadriga Art when I was working summers while in college (and that was many, many years ago!). These types of outfits always retain the majority of funds raised. It's not unusual for the charity to receive as little as 10-20 percent of all funds collected, if that! After all, who's going to know exactly how much money has been collected, except the fund raiser, themselves (and they don't normally keep accurate records).

    June 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  9. Terri

    Anderson, first of all, thank you and Drew Griffen for bringing this to America's attention. I wonder if Attorney General Holder (or the proper authority in New York) is looking into possible fraud charges (if not other possible charges combined) against Quadriga Art, not to mention whether or not the IRS is following the money as filed on tax returns for QA as well as its founder/president and his partners. I believe this story to be HUGE and that DG is only touching the tip of it. My mind runs rampant - is this greed, money laundering, filtering funds to organizations that are not acceptable entities on an ethical or security basis and on and on. There is not enough out there yet for me to make an educated guess as to where these milliors of dollars have gone, but I know you and Drew are on the right path. Americans are the most generous people when it comes to sharing their hard earned monies, especially in today's economy, with the charities closes to their hearts. It frustrates and makes me livid to think QA and its owner and partners are benefitting from that very generosity and it saddens me further to know they are not the only ones doing this. PLEASE DO NOT STOP LOOKING - this is huge.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  10. vicky

    Anderson. I worked for the Government for 27 years and each year, we gave to a charity of our choice and I was told to stop giving because only a small percentage went to the charity organization.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  11. lseat1

    Hello. I've been in nonprofit for 10 years now and used to work for a major direct-mail fundraising firm in Los Angeles. I can tell you what Quadriga Art is doing is NOT the norm. Most large, national and int'l nonprofits contract with fundraising firms to manage their direct-mail and other programs, but the costs for this in no way hinder the donations that are raised. It has to make sense in terms of ROI for the nonprofit. I'm very surprised that these charities contracted with Quadriga if the costs cancelled out the donations raised. It makes no sense.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  12. stu corbett

    Dear Mr. Cooper and staff,
    In Canada, it was reported on national news about what you might call unethical conduct by the Montreal SPCA, related to this story. However, it was the aspect of them collecting money as the "national" SPCA. As you said in your own story, rescues look after "local" animals. In this instance, The SPCA misrepresented themselves as a federal rescue. That was the crux of the story. They solicited, across the Canada for a "national SPCA," and deprived local SPCA of donations. Now it sounds as if the Montreal SPCA is crying foul, over them being deceived by the people they hired to deceive others.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  13. Rick

    Anderson I think it is only the tip of the iceburge, and if further investigation was done, We would probably find alot more charrity support organizations, IE call centres, who solicit the pubilc for donations for many many charities, also commiting the same acts. I for one use to work for such an orgaization, making over 12 dollars an hour working the phones and calling the public for donations for charity. over 75 employees doing the same thing full time 40 hrs a week.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |