Donor confusion alleged – Attorney general files suit

Illinois donors may have been bilked by three separate charities operating under the name American Deputy Sheriffs Association, according to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jim Ryan.

The suit alleges that each charity solicited funds under the name American Deputy Sheriffs Association, claiming that contributions would assist local law enforcement, families of slain police officers and related community causes.

The suit also names Mitchell Gold, who acted as an agent for all three charities.

None of the charities is based in Illinois. One was denied Illinois registration, and the other two have had their Illinois registrations revoked.

The lawsuit also alleges that the charities did not meet the requirement of having 80 percent of their trustees or voting members be active, retired or disabled law enforcement personnel.

Professional fundraisers Ronald McMenamy and Charitable Resources Inc. also are named in the suit, which alleges that Gold hired them to solicit contributions in Illinois and other states.  Under the state Charitable Solicitation Act, professional fundraisers as well as charities must make a strict accounting of all assets, receipts and disbursements.

Ryan is seeking an injunction, an accounting of assets, fines and damages, removal of all trustees and appointment of a receiver to take control of the charities.

Some of the defendants have previously been sued by the Federal Trade Commission and other state attorneys general, Ryan’s office says.

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