For once some Kardashian news I actually feel sad reporting on!
Earlier this week ESPN released a report investigating popular athletes' charities and how they help those in need. According to their findings Lamar Odom's charity Cathy's Kids, started in 2004 after his mom passed away from cancer, has given approximately $0 (yes ZERO) dollars to cancer causes despite raising an estimated millions!
This led ESPN's "Outside The Lines" to wonder where exactly the Keeping Up With The Kardashian star's charity is donating their money?
ESPN "found after conducting interviews and examining documents: NBA forward Lamar Odom's charity that promised money for cancer research has not given a dime in grant money to any cancer entity in its eight-year history."
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The charity has raised over $2M since its inception according to tax records and spent approximately $1.3M funding two elite youth basketball leagues. The remainder of the money has gone to pay for the charity's expenses, including payroll. Interestingly there is only one paid executive listed on the payroll, Lamar's high school basketball coach Jerry DeGregorio.
Jerry acted as secretary for the non-profit from 2004-2011 and earned about $72,000 per year. "Its 2011 tax returns show it $256,000 in debt, mostly stemming from a loan Odom made to the charity, according to his business manager Lester Knispel, also the charity's treasurer," ESPN further reveals. The IRS audited the charity and determined to uphold its "exempt status" as a non-profit a lawyer for both Lamar and the organization argued.
Lamar's agent, Jeff Schwartz, acknowledged that despite the charity raising money through an eBay store (which advertises a "portion of the proceeds" go towards Cathy's Kids) and seeking donations through Khloe Kardashian and Lamar's websites; the charity has mainly been "dormant" for years.
Interestingly on the heels of ESPN's investigation, the eBay store for Cathy's Kids "khlomar" is no longer active. Auctioning off everything from Khloe's used sportsbras (HOT!) to shoes, clothes, and jewelry; khlomar had a ton of auctions end April 1, raising $1,425.06, and has not listed any new items for sale.
khlomar advertises that 15% of the profits raised go towards "ensuring that funds are available for under-privileged youth that live in the inner cities of New York and Los Angeles." No mention of any cancer-related endeavors.
This is not the first time the Kardashin eBay stores have been questioned. Kim Kardashian's own eBay auctions were advertised as donating to The Dream Foundation and the Life Community Church founded by Kris Jenner. An investigation uncovered that less than 10% of proceeds actually went towards the charities!
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" confronted Lamar about Cathy's Kid's activities and reports Lamar "became visibly upset." He later apologized but still refused to answer questions about Cathy's Kids expenses and donations. Lamar told ESPN "A lot through AAU basketball in my neighborhood where I come from in South Jamaica, Queens."
Outside The Lines published tax documentation stating that Cathy's House had given money to AAU teams "sponsorship."
Khloe defended her husband's involvement in the charity and its work in a recent blog on her website. "It is unfortunate that my husband has been the target of an attack on athletes’ charities, although he has personally contributed approximately $2.2 million to his foundation, Cathy’s Kids, to fulfill its charitable purposes that include helping underprivileged inner-city youth."
"The millions of dollars personally contributed by Lamar constituted more than 90% of the money raised by the foundation," Khloe insisted.
"All of the funds donated by Lamar and the other contributions to Cathy’s Kids were used for one of the foundation’s intended charitable purposes," Khloe's statement continued. "Not one penny went to help Lamar personally or any member of his family. No charitable funds were misused, and the IRS has repeatedly given Cathy’s Kids a clean bill of health, confirming that there were no improprieties."
Khloe's statement says that although Cathy's Kids purported to raise money for cancer research, that was not its only goal. "Cathy’s Kids was formed with several purposes in mind, including benefitting underprivileged youth and cancer research. A decision was ultimately made that the charity should focus on one of those purposes — to help enrich the lives of underprivileged inner-city youth. It accomplished that goal."
"Cathy’s Kids helped fund multiple AAU basketball teams providing underprivileged youth with opportunities enriching their lives, providing financial support for coaching and travel to tournaments, helping inner-city youth on a path toward success and leading many participants to go on to college," her statement concludes.
In another twist, the AAU basketball league denies receiving any money from Cathy's Kids! "Cathy’s Kids has never donated to us. They have never, ever contributed to us," Henry Forrest the league's president told TMZ. "On Sunday morning it was mentioned that Cathy’s Kids has contributed to AAU Basketball teams … that is an incorrect statement."
“It is possible that Cathy’s Kids sponsored [an independent] team that registered to play in an AAU event. But teams like this only register to play in our events, they are not affiliated with AAU," Forrest's statement continued.
"AAU doesn’t have anything to do with local organizations that put together independent teams. We don’t manage those teams or deal with those local teams put together. They only register to play." WOW! More shocking by the hour. Lamar's rep has not commented on the latest. Yet…
Update: A source "close to Lamar" tells TMZ, “Lamar had teams he funded for their expenses for AAU sanctioned events. Money did not go directly to the AAU, it went directly to the teams for their expenses.”
[Photo Credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com]
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION INTO CATHY'S KIDS? IS LAMAR INVOLVED IN ANY MISMANAGEMENT?