Courts will have to decide whether Oscar Pistorious is guilty or innocent of murder. But the celebrated Paralympic athlete’s tearful testimony is already showing how easy it is for even the most supportive Paralympic fans to be guilty of overlooking the many ways in which Paralympic athletes can be exploited and left defenseless. 2014 Paralympics host Russia is helping to focus attention on these issues; RT.com has featured the plight of U.S. Army Sergeant Joseph Smith, a forty-two year old Paralympics athlete tormented with urine.
Some organizations presenting themselves as supporters of the Paralympics and Special Olympics are not even certified by the Internal Revenue Service as genuine charitable organizations. The philanthropy.com website has published a list at this link.
The text pictured above illustrates the ways in which the Academy of Special Needs Planners has crafted means for trustees to convert the well intentioned tax exemptions for Americans who are genuinely physically disabled into schemes to take control of the assets of Paralympic athletes without fairly compensating them. For the most successful Paralympic athletes, contacts including sponsors, television talk show hosts and world leaders are among their most valuable assets. Paralympic star Jessica Long secured a lucrative modeling and endorsement contract from Ralph Lauren Polo with terms similar to her USA Swimming teammate, Ryan Lochte. Yet paragraph 3 of standard documents from the Academy of Special Needs Planners pictured above gives those contacts away for free to an unspecified “Next Friend” who can turn around and sell the contact information for profit. The Academy of Special Needs Planners also indemnifies the “Next Friend” and allows corporations from foreign countries which keep owners’ identities secret to serve as “Next Friend” in ways that make a mockery of the United States Constitution.
This type of abuse played a major role in the housing bubble and financial meltdown of autumn 2008. The clauses explaining weak oversight that trustees using Academy of Special Needs Planners documents have are also copied above. Section G permits the private sale of any real or personal property without court approval. These sales do not have to take place in the United States and are an open invitation to money laundering. The money that well intentioned American benefactors have made available to Paralympic athlete beneficiaries of these Special Needs Trusts can be used to buy foreign assets at a high price and sell them outside the United States at a low price, without U.S. court approval or any capital gains tax being paid in the United States. There is no effective way to monitor whether anti-American organizations are getting the benefits of these capital gain profits.
In some American states, this can also take place with very little risk of the profiteers being caught. Diane M. Hathaway, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, pleaded guilty to committing bank fraud last month after investigators found that she had purchased a luxury property in Windemere, Florida for $10 and did not report the difference as income when filing an affidavit of financial hardship. Some local governments use computer programs to generate alerts about these kinds of deep discount property sales, but Windemere, Florida obviously does not.
Recent news has shown that this type of abuse is all about money and has nothing to do with compassion for Paralympic athletes. Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor is now claiming that she lost over $ 1 billion gambling because a brain tumor impacted her reasoning ability. This would make her a textbook example of someone who should be covered by Academy of Special Needs Planners programs for Americans whose disabilities are considered to be an impediment to their ability to manage their own finances. Of course, the Academy of Special Needs Planners paid no attention to O’Connor’s needs and did not notice when she divertied funds from a charitable foundation near a Paralympic training facility .
The media from 2014 Paralympics host Russia are exposing how such schemes are heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. There is a small consolation. Curbing exploitation of Paralympic athletes is emerging as a rare bi-partisan issue that both compassionate liberals and Tea Party taxpayer advocates can agree about.
Read more sports business features at these links:
Olympic medalist Tim Morehouse launches new sports business broadcasts