December 17, 2013, - 5:04 pm
When I wrote about my dismay with the excessive hype over Paul Walker upon his death, I received numerous comments and hate e-mails wishing for my death and lecturing me on how much money Paul Walker gave to charity, as well as how much his charity gave to others. Reality check: tax documents show that despite making a reported $15 million for each of the five “Fast & Furious” movie sequels in which he acted, Paul Walker donated little to nothing to his own charity, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). Tax documents also show that ROWW gave very little to charity itself.
Paul Walker Gave Little to His “Charity” Reach Out Worldwide & ROWW Gave Very Little to Charity
DebbieSchlussel.com examined ROWW tax returns for the fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, all posted here (the charity’s fiscal years were the same as the calendar years). Despite making tens of millions from movies and as the spokesmodel for “Cool Water by Davidoff” cologne, the tax forms show that Paul Walker donated less than $32,000–if anything at all–to his charity in 2011 and $20,000 at the most–if anything at all–in 2010(the organization was founded in 2010). In 2012, the most he might have donated is $50,000, but it’s likely he gave much less, if anything at all. The documents also show that out of more than $700,000 raised from 2010-2012, ROWW only donated less than $20,000 to charity, less than five percent of the money taken in.
Documents show that the vast majority of money donated to ROWW was $607,766 donated by the AE Collection, LLC in 2011. AE Collection is the formal name of “Always Evolving,” the auto dealership and racing business owned by Roger Rodas, the late driver of the Porsche in which Walker and Rodas died. The $607,766 isn’t cash. It’s an investment interest in Fairway Global Holdings LLC. Then, there is the $7,085 worth of emergency rescue equipment also donated to ROWW in 2011 by an organization called Vagrant, Inc. And Coty SAS, the parent company for the Cool Water cologne donated $50,000 in cash.
In 2011, Reach Out Worldwide took in $696,220. After subtracting the donations from AE Collection, Vagrant, and Coty, that leaves $31,363 in “other donations,” so the most Walker could have donated was $31,363, and it is doubtful that this entire amount was donated by him. If it was, however, it is a paltry sum relative to his earnings and net worth and not the “ton of money to charity” that Walker-bots claimed in hate-mail to me and that the mainstream media gushed over.
And then there are the actual donations to charity that ROWW actually made to third parties. In 2011, ROWW spent $11,100 in accounting fees and $6,875 in legal fees, which are part of $54,184 in total office and management expenses ROWW spent. That is nearly twice as much as the $29,599 in “program services” that ROWW claims to have spent on charity. The $29,599 includes the $7,085 in rescue equipment donated by Vagrant, Inc. and $7,072 in travel, leaving only $15,442 in money that went to charity.
Perhaps the travel went for Paul Walker and his buddies to show up at disaster areas and take photos with victims (such photos are in abundance on the ROWW website). Some of those whose travel was paid for might even have included doctors and other rescue personnel. But, still this is a very tiny amount that went to charity, after taking in nearly $700,000. And the thousands of dollars in travel that the charity spent indicate that multi-millionaire Paul Walker likely never even sprung for his own plane ticket to take publicity pictures of himself yukking it up with disaster victims.
In 2010, the year the organization was founded, the figures are even more ridiculous. Reach Out Worldwide took in only $20,000. Perhaps Paul Walker donated that entire amount, but that’s the most he donated. And the organization spent it all on legal fees, offices expenses, and travel, ending the year with a debt of nearly $5,000.
In 2012, the latest year for which ROWW filed a 990 tax return, the charity took in $66,797–$55,000 in donations and the balance collected from merchandise sales and admission paid to fundraising events. Of that $66,797, $60,840–or nearly all of it–went to expenses, including $22,800 in rent, $11,120 in accounting fees, and $9,105 in insurance. Only $2,000 went to “program services,” or charity. Again, the amount that went to charity in 2012 was less than 5%.
Paul Walker isn’t here to defend himself, but the other two board members of Reach Out Worldwide–Walker’s accountant, Gary Margolis, who is ROWW’s Chief Financial Officer, and Walker’s attorney, Ronald M. Dorfman, who is ROWW’s sole director–are alive and able to respond to questions. But they declined to do so. DebbieSchlussel.com contacted both Margolis and Dorfman on December 4, 2013, at their Los Angeles area offices. Both were “in a meeting” and “unavailable.” Apparently the meeting stretched on for nearly two weeks.
We also tried to contact ROWW via both an e-mail through its website–which went unanswered–and a telephone call to the phone number given on the charity’s website, (747) 333-8977. Problem is, the number is disconnected and has been for at least the two weeks since we began investigating this “charity.” J.D. Dorfman, who is apparently, the son of Walker’s lawyer and ROWW’s sole director Ronald M. Dorfman, was identified in a People Magazine article as the “Project Director” of ROWW. But we haven’t heard from him in the two weeks since we’ve been contacting ROWW and its board members.
It seems that the Dorfmans and Mr. Margolis are the biggest charity beneficiaries from this “charity.” From 2010-2012, Reach Out Worldwide paid at least $13,756 in legal fees to Ronald M. Dorfman and $22,220 in accounting fees to Gary Margolis. And that’s not counting what was paid to J.D. Dorfman for “running” the charity, which is unknown (I doubt he worked for free).
Yes, Paul Walker was cited in one “act of kindness” when he reportedly secretly paid $9,000 for a wedding ring for an Iraq war veteran whom he spied at a Santa Barbara jewelry store (and who could not afford the ring).
But the charity he founded and headed, contrary to conventional wisdom, gave very little to charity and victims of disasters. And Paul Walker, himself, gave very little to his charity despite being worth tens of millions of dollars from movies and modeling contracts.
The next time you mindless fans of celebrities write me with hatemail and hype about a celebrity’s “huge acts of charity,” look at the tax documents. They usually tell a different story. But while facts are stubborn things, moronic fans of celebrities are more stubborn.
Most celebrity charities are scams designed for PR purposes only. The old Mark Twain quote about “lies, damn lies, and statistics” needs an update. There are lies, damn lies, and celebrity charity “efforts.”
That apparently includes Paul Walker’s Reach Out Worldwide.
Tags: AE Collection, Gary Margolis, J.D. Dorfman, Paul Walker, Paul Walker Charity, Reach Out Worldwide, Roger Rodas, Ronald M. Dorfman, ROWW