Center for Public Integrity: Fallen officer’s families only see sliver of donations to nonprofit

Only 2.7% of donations to the Law Enforcement Officer Relief Fund went to families of fallen officers.

A Sarasota-based nonprofit for fallen or injured law enforcement officers spends nearly all of its donations on telemarketers, according to a Center for Public Integrity and Tampa Bay Times investigation.

The Law Enforcement Officer Relief Fund (LEORF) sent a combined $72,000 to 11 families in fiscal year 2018 while it raised $2.7 million. An additional $55,665 went toward grants and other organizations, but the nonprofit spent $2.3 million on fundraising.

The relief fund is related to the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO (IUPA), another Sarasota-based nonprofit. Together, the nonprofits doled out $82.3 million of $106.3 million in expenses to fundraising services.

Meanwhile, IUPA paid its officials $1.8 million in fiscal year 2018, including $199,773 to longtime president Sam Cabral. The union paid three other executives more than $100,000 each.

Union dues and services spent on union workers were a wash. But IUPA ranks among the top unions and tax-exempt organizations for spending on professional fundraisers in data collected by the Internal Revenue Service, according to Public Integrity.

IUPA and LEORF contracted telemarketing companies Courtesy Call, Donor Relations and Outreach Calling, among others, to bring in donations. IUPA paid Donor Relations $8.5 million to raise $9.7 million, Outreach Calling $1.9 million to raise $2.1 million and other fundraisers $4 million to raise $4.4 million.

The first two, owned by Las Vegas telemarketer Richard Zeitlin, were the subjects of a prior Public Integrity investigation. So was Outreach Calling and Mark Gelvan, the New Jersey-based driving force behind the company.

While the telemarketers turned a profit for their contractees, Public Integrity has reported these companies keep most of the donations. Past contractees include police officer, firefighter, injured veteran, leukemia, breast cancer and autism groups.

The union made a 2014 Tampa Bay Times list of charities donating a sliver of expenditures to their purported causes. And the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives IUPA a “D-” for failing to respond to 15 complaints.

BBB also alleges one IUPA-associated group, the National Police and Trooper Association (NPTA), uses “high-pressure tactics” and repeatedly calls people who have asked to be removed from call lists in its effort to solicit funds. And the Florida Highway Patrol Command Officers Association lists NPTA and IUPA as organizations claiming to represent state troopers.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

One comment

  • John Kociuba

    December 28, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Brass Azz Corruption

    Police are the best of us! It is the vile brass politixally motivated scum and politicians that nlock them from doing their jobs and kiss the rings of all these Clandestine Communist groups like ACLU, NAACP, ACL, JDL, AFL-CIO that praise criminal behavior at every expense and excuse.

    Yes. PERF in Washington D.C. is another piece of sh#t organization TAX FUNDED to promote SOCIAL JUSTICE to police districts and academy awards. WORTHLESS! Yes. The Florida FDLE is another one….yes…they have a great crime lab in Orlando but so what! Keep the crime lab and give the 750 million in taxation to local police departments that know where to use that money in their individual districts!


    My sincere apologies go out to the families of fallen and injured officers.


Comments are closed.


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