Here’s where cancer fund of america donations went while dying kids got little debbie snack cakes gas yourself in car


Meanwhile, the family behind Cancer Fund built a network of "sham charities” that were designed to enrich officers at the expense of sick women and children, as alleged in a complaint filed Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission, attorneys general and secretaries of state of all of 50 states.

Named in the complaint are Cancer Fund and two affiliated charities, Breast Cancer Society and Children’s Cancer Fund of America. Combined, those charities raised $187 million over four years, yet spent almost 90 percent of the contributions on for-profit telemarketers and the "steady lucrative employment” of Cancer Fund founder James Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, his son and dozens of members of their extended family.

Details in the 148-page complaint mirror what the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered in a yearlong investigation published in 2013. Their report ranked Cancer Fund of America as No. 2 of America’s 50 Worst Charities.

A former Army medic without a college degree, Reynolds worked his way up to head the Knoxville chapter of the prestigious American Cancer Society before being fired for, among other things, sloppy bookkeeping. He founded the Cancer Fund in the mid-1980s and his family began spinning off new cancer charities, each with a relative or close associate in control.

"The corporate defendants operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest and excessive insider compensation, with none of the financial and governance controls that any bona fide charity would have adopted,” the complaint says.

• At Cancer Fund of America, the elder Reynolds employed at least 12 members of his extended family regardless of where in the country they lived. When his son Michael moved to Montana, the Cancer Fund opened a "chapter” there to keep him on the payroll. The chapter was not successful and later closed.

• At Children’s Cancer Fund, Reynold’s ex-wife, Perkins, hired 11 friends and relatives including her two daughters and her sister. Between 2008 and 2012, the charity paid those employees more than twice what it provided in financial assistance to young cancer patients. Twice a year, Perkins doled out across-the-board bonuses of up to 10 percent of salary, regardless of employee performance.

• At Breast Cancer Society, Reynolds II, promoted his wife, Kristina, to the new, second-in-command and unadvertised position of "operations and public relations manager.” She hired several of her relatives including her two sisters and her mother, a caterer who was put to work writing grants. The Arizona-based society also opened a branch in Pennsylvania near the home of its then-board chairman, who hired his wife and mother-in-law to work there.

• All three cancer charities allowed employees to use corporate credit cards for personal expenses and did not require payment until the end of each year, effectively giving them interest-free loans. Credit cards were used to buy food, gas, movie tickets, Jet Ski rentals, video games, meals at Hooter’s and purchases at Victoria’s Secret — "all ultimately paid for by donors,” the complaint says.

The Cancer Fund approved one script saying it never wanted to have to tell a family that it couldn’t provide a wig for a child with hair loss because fund-raising goals had fallen short. In fact, the fund did not have a program to provide wigs for children in chemotherapy.

And in touting the purported good works of the Breast Cancer Society, telemarketers said contributions supported a "Hope Supply Program" that provided thousands of cancer patients access to local warehouses where they could get baby and women’s clothing, toiletries and other items free of charge.