Pride South Florida Refuses to Release Tax Records

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Board Chair Hansen stonewalls SFGN as IRS threatens to revoke tax exempt status

Each year Pride One of Broward County, better known as Pride South Florida (PSF), doles out grants to local charities. Last year, according to their website, they gave out 10 grants to such non-profits as SAGE of South Florida, Pride Wind Ensemble and the Lambda Men’s Brotherhood.

But this year those grants appear to be shrouded in secrecy and, during a routine request from SFGN, PSF’s Co-Chair Marc Hansen not only denied SFGN a list of the grantees but also refused to turn over an IRS letter that threatens to revoke the organization’s tax-exempt status.

According to the board’s minutes, on May 28 they voted on whom to award this year’s grants to. But they didn’t actually name any charities in the minutes, instead only naming the organization that did not receive a grant this year, which is Red Hispania.

On June 5, SFGN reached out to Hansen to get a list of this year’s grant recipients. And that’s when Pride South Florida started to block SFGN’s repeated attempts and efforts to get anything from Hansen and the board.

“I am very sorry, right after last meeting, which was our elections, we went right out to Gay Days & Kew West Pride,” Hansen wrote to SFGN.  “I’ll get the list from the Secretary and get it to you.” Except he never turned over the list.

Two days later SFGN followed up again where Hansen abruptly changed course.

“I can’t tell you about the recipients before I tell the actual organizations,” Hansen wrote. Hansen gave SFGN no date on when Pride South Florida would actually inform the recipients.

After another two days passed SFGN questioned Hansen yet again about the list of recipients, this time over the phone, where he said he couldn’t remember who they were and told SFGN to refer back to the minutes. The minutes, however, as noted above, didn’t clarify who was awarded, only who wasn’t. When told of this, Hansen promised to send over the list, as well as the IRS letter, that evening on Friday, June 14.

After not receiving the list, or tax letter, SFGN again reached out to Hansen who responded with “As for the grant recipients for 2013, we are expecting to get the notifications out by next Friday June 21.”

In that same email, Hansen threatened SFGN and copied local attorney and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis.

“There has been no attempt to conceal the IRS documents. After consultation with the attorney we handed the documents to and discussing the IRS situation with, we were informed by him, not to give you the documents. Any reporting that is not factual could cause us to seek further legal consultation,” Hansen wrote.

SFGN also reached out to PSF’s accountant Chad DiFalco, who promised to email the newspaper the IRS letter, but Hansen intervened, and ended up replying instead.

“All communication with our accountant, any persons and or organizations outside of the Executive Board of directors of Pride One of Broward County, Inc. is to cease and desist,” Hansen wrote. “Any further attempted to contact will be constructed as harassment and / or bullying and any nonfactual reporting can and will be seen as libel and or defamation. All correspondence from you will be forwarded to our legal representation for any legal action that will be needed.”

Hansen sent an email Tuesday to the board asking them to refrain from speaking to SFGN about the IRS situation.

“Please do not speak to Norm Kent and ask per our By Laws and SOP, that is only the duty of the Co-Chairs,” Hansen wrote.

Hansen also said that someone has been giving out incorrect information to SFGN about what the IRS intends to do.

“It appears that someone has been speaking incorrectly to Norm Kent & SFGN and giving out improper or incorrect information.  It appears that incorrect words have been used in discussion if the IRS Documents,” Hansen wrote. “After speaking to the IRS Agent, we have been told this is not a revocation, but proposal and they are not at this time or in the immediate future revoking our 501 c 3 status.”

SFGN first learned of the IRS letter not from a board member, but from PSF’s board minutes from its May 28 meeting.

Here’s what they say:

“IRS Report- reminded everyone that we were audited since we mentioned Michael Curz’ theft in our taxes a few Years ago. A document that was mailed to us by the IRS was shown. The IRS is submitted a statement that the IRS is planning on revoking our 501C3 status. We may appeal.”

Beyond the IRS, it appears at least one former board member doesn’t think PSF is following state and/or federal guidelines in another area. Recently the organization held their annual elections where Marc Hansen and Rocky Bowell were voted in as co-chairs. But that vote is questionable.

Roger Handevidt, a former co-chair of the organization, sent this email to the board before the vote:

“However, Marc Hansen did point out to us this year that either the state or federal government instructed us that we had to have President and Vice President,” Handevidt wrote. “I am asking that the ballots be made up to show the voting being done on President and Vice President and that should make the vote conform to state and Federal rules and regulations.”

Handevidt told SFGN the ballots were never changed and the organization instead went ahead and voted for two co-chairs as they’ve done in the past.

In this week’s SFGN editorial, Publisher Norm Kent censures Marc Hansen and calls for his immediate removal from the board of Pride South Florida. CLICK HERE!

Jason Parsley

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