Fetterman’s property and non-profit scam claim should be front-page news

A conservative watchdog group has filed a complaint with Pennsylvania election officials accusing Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman, a Democrat, of partaking in some unscrupulous financial transactions.

Filed late last month by the Center for Accountability and Government Ethics (CAGE), an offshoot of the CPAC Foundation, the complaint specifically accuses Fetterman of buying a piece of property from his own nonprofit at a hefty discount.

View the complaint below:

It states that during his tenure as the mayor of the town of Braddock (2006-2019), Fetterman and his deputy mayor, Jebediah Feldman, established a nonprofit, Braddock Redux, that was “largely funded by taxpayer monies funneled to the organization as government grants.”

Now fast-forward to 2007, when Feldman personally purchased a vacant commercial lot for $75,000. Nothing fishy so far.

But four years later, he suddenly sold the empty lot to Braddock Redux for just $1, thus taking a a $74,999 loss. That was odd. Another three years later, Braddock Redux sold the same property to Fetterman for $1,100. That was even stranger.

According to CAGE, Fetterman “purchased the property for about 8% of the average value of other properties on the same block.”

“The transaction history, the minimal value of the sale price of the property to Mr. Fetterman, and the magnitude of the discount of the property in question when compared to other properties on the same block give rise to the appearance of improper conduct,” its complaint reads.

CAGE argues in its complaint that the transaction violated the law in four specific ways:

It violated the non-profit’s corporate chapter.

“Braddock Redux’s corporate charter is unambiguous in terms of prohibiting self-dealing. Its articles of incorporation make clear that ‘no part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to any contributor, director, officer, or other private individual or person,'” the complaint reads.

It violated the nonprofit’s fiduciary duty.

“Pennsylvania state law creates a fiduciary duty for officers. 15 Pa.C.S. § 5712(c) states that ‘an officer [of a corporation] shall perform his duties as an officer in good faith, in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, skill and diligence, as a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances,'” the complaint continues.

“The president of a non-profit organization directing the organization to sell an asset to the president at a below-market rate would appear to be a clear violation of fiduciary obligations,” it reads.

It violated the state’s non-profit governance law.

The complaint notes that the law in question sets “forth specific duties” that must be completed “before a non-profit corporation may enter into a contract with officers or directors of a corporation that they control”:

  • “The non-profit must give notice to the board of directions of the material facts of the transaction.”
  • “The transaction must be approved by a majority of the board of disinterested directors.”
  • “The nonprofit and its directors must demonstrat[e] that the transaction was ‘fair’ at the time it was authorized.”

 

“The third point is particularly noteworthy, as it puts the burden of explaining the transaction, and demonstrating its fairness, squarely on the organization. This is an affirmative obligation that must be satisfied prior to the transaction. Nowhere in the record, however, does it appear that Braddock Redux or Mr. Fetterman complied with these requirements,” the complaint reads.

It wasn’t properly listed in IRS forms.

The complaint notes that IRS tax forms filled out by non-profits contain a question asking whether the organization in question was “a party to a business transaction with … [a] current or former officer, director, trustee, or owner?”

Both in 2011 and 2014, Braddock Redux answered no, despite the sale of the property first from a board member to the nonprofit, and then from the nonprofit to a board member.

“In its 2011 returns, Braddock Redux answered this question in the negative, despite the Board vice president selling property to the non-profit. It is clear from property records and the organizations tax filings that: 1) Braddock Redux was a party to the real estate transaction; and 2) Mr. Feldman was a board member at the time of the transaction. As president of Braddock Redux, Mr. Fetterman failed in his duty to ensure that its tax filing was complete and accurate,” the complaint reads.

“In its 2014 tax return, Braddock Redux answered a similar question on its 2014 Form 990 (Part IV Question 28(a)) also in the negative. Again, Braddock Redux failed to disclose the sale of the relevant parcel to Board President Fetterman on its Form 990,” it continues.

In a statement issued to The Daily Caller, Fetterman’s campaign spokesperson dismissed the complaint as a “frivolous and ridiculous” stunt being pulled by “a radical, far-right dark money group supporting Dr. Oz.”

“John started Braddock Redux nearly two decades ago to help disadvantaged young people in Braddock and the surrounding area, and to create a community center for them,” the spokesperson said.

“He is tremendously proud of what they accomplished while he was involved in terms of creating opportunities for Braddock youth, combating economic insecurity, helping reduce crime and gun violence, fostering a local arts resurgence, saving and restoring historical properties, and creating the Nyia Page Community Center to serve as a gathering and activity space for Braddock,” the spokesperson added.

Fetterman faces a separate complaint from the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) that was filed in September. Filed with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the complaint accuses Fetterman of not properly reporting that he owns eight homes in Braddock.

Meanwhile, in related news, the Democrat candidate still remains unable to speak clearly:

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