Franklin running suspended “charity”

Council Member Debbie Franklin engaged in illegal fundraising for suspended and unregistered  “Charity”


6/25/11 – “Pass Area Supporting Soldiers” run by its President, Banning City Council Member Debbie Franklin, is the latest addition to a growing list of highly questionable “charities” operated throughout the Pass Area, many of which are fully endorsed by our elected officials.



Suspended by Secretary of State - click to enlarge

Debbie Franklin’s charity,  “Pass Area Supporting Soldiers” has not only been suspended by the California Secretary of State, they are also unregistered as a charitable organization with the California State Attorney General (view). As a consequence,  the organization does not have charitable status in the State of California and is not allowed to solicit any donations.

It is a violation of California law, for an organization to publicly misrepresent their charitable status and to engage in fundraising. According to one of its members, Dorothy McLean , the organization had previously received two warning letters from the Secretary of State threatening suspension. McLean said she responded to the letters.




In a June 23 article (view), PRESS ENTERPRISE’s Erin Waldner reports on a “donation drive”, therewith confirming

President of suspended "Charity": Council member Debbie Franklin illegally solicits donations

that the organization is actively engaged in the solicitation of charitable donations.

Additionally, the PE  article falsely refers to the organization as a “nonprofit group”, therewith leading the reader to believe that “Pass Area Supporting Soldiers” is in effect properly authorized to solicit donations. As we have pointed out above, nothing could be further from the truth.

It takes less than five minutes to verify the legal status of any charity with the Secretary of State’s and the California Attorney General’s websites. Why did the reporter not do proper research before publishing the article ? If she would have, she would have found that the organization is illegitimate. This makes you wonder : why does the Press Enterprise not live up to their obligation to correctly inform the public  ? The above facts make it clear that the public can no longer rely upon PRESS ENTERPRISE’s reporting.

In our opinion, PE’s coverage of “Pass Area Supporting Soldiers” is the latest example of increasingly worthless reporting, conducted through their clueless Pass Area reporter, Erin Waldner.



Hanna and Robinson attending illegal fundraiser

As we had mentioned recently, Mayor Barbara Hanna and Council Don Robinson, openly came out in support of an illegal fundraiser for an unregistered Charity , “Operation Kidz Komfort”, (story). Both have yet to withdraw their support for the (as of the date of this article) still unregistered organization (view).

Now, joining the club, we have a third Banning Council Member essentially doing the same thing – only worse : Council Member Debbie Franklin is not just supporting, but acting as the President of an organization that is not registered and even is suspended.
Why is Debbie Franklin soliciting chartible contributions in violation of the law ?  And what does this tell us about the accountability and professionalism of Council Member Franklin ? Can we really trust someone like her with millions of dollars in taxpayer funds ?  Debbie Franklin could not be reached for comment.

With that said, is it any wonder that Banning continues to be run into the ground, without accountability and with special interests getting handed millions of dollars ( view All Star Dodge story or the million dollar Haven Coffee disaster) ?

It appears that the City of Banning is run in the same illegitimate fashion as the questionable “charities” that its Council Members support.



According to recent reports, there is an alarming increase in the number of Pass Area charities which raise more questions than they provide answers :


Record Gazette's front page article on Carol's Kitchen scandal

  • “Carol’s Kitchen”’s Director, Jim McConnell, is accused of embezzling tens of thousand of dollars from the charity, leading to the resignations of four board members. The Record Gazette made this their front page article, however, Press Enterprise never reported on this story  – apparently they felt their readers had no need to know.
  • The “Boys and Girls Club of the San Gorgonio Pass” pays its executive Director and School Board member, Amy Herr, an exorbitant $ 63,000 a year – for what ? (click here for more). Neither Press Enterprise nor the Record Gazette ever covered this truly outrageous story. To this day, The Banning Informer remains the only source of information on this matter.
  • The “Beaumont Charitable Foundation”, intended to be a 501 c ,3,  has been illegally soliciting charitable donations for over a year, as it was never registered with the IRS nor the Attorney General. The Record Gazette delayed their reporting on the matter, while Press Enterprise never covered it at all. Credit for breaking this story goes to watchful Beaumont Council Member Nancy Gall, who turned over her information to for coverage (view), as well as to the IRS for enforcement.
  • As mentioned above, “Operation Kidz Komfort” has been engaging in solicitation of donations while not being registered with the Attorney General, a clear violation of California Government Code Section 12599.6, (f), (1). The illegal solicitation was endorsed by two sitting Banning City Council members. Once again, this was never reported by any news outlet – other than The Banning Informer (story).


Will the day ever come when the rule of law returns to Banning ?

One thing is for sure : as long as the Banning public is asleep at the wheel, politicians like Debbie Franklin will be able to run the City  in  the same irresponsible way as she runs the charity she presides over.