• Feb 24, 2010
Every couple of years, a big charity gets in trouble for paying out big monies to executives or cronies. This time it's two German charities, Treberhilfe and Hatun & Can, being dipped in some boiling water not because of money their executives made, but money they spent. On a Maserati and a Land Rover, to be precise.

When it was discovered that Treberhilfe's director drives a Maserati company car, Harald Ehlert said that it's "a car for a gentleman" and that he had to make a good impression on donors. On that latter point, well, he might have a point; as they say in LA, you can't sell million-dollar homes in a Pontiac. And even the director of the Salvation Army makes nearly $200,000 per year. None of that has quelled the baying, although we do find it intriguing that Ehlert's 3-year-old car was only discovered because of a court dispute about a speeding ticket.

The leadership at Hatun & Can, a women's aid group, has not only been called out by donors but is being investigated by the German police for fraud and embezzlement. In this case it is unclear what the financial shenanigans entail, but a Land Rover has been confiscated from the charity's fleet and the non-profit's bank accounts have been frozen. If you happen to be the head of an aid group and you've had your eye on a 911 for a spell, one word for you: don't.

[Source: Deutsche Welle]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      But big high powered execs with 8 figure salaries are worth it because nobody else on the planet could ever to the super fantastic job they're doing and they work 200 hours a week and make jillions for their orgs and...and, oh, nevermind.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      They're all a bunch of frauds.
      • 4 Years Ago
      James.

      Well said. The heads of non-profits that I've done business with really didn't need the money and were ex-CEOs or independently wealthy from other ventures. They got involved because it was a cause that was personal and yes, the pressures are all the same as running any company so they weren't doing it for the money or the perks.

      However, I do agree with Boxer. Something as ostentatious as a $100K+ automobile on the charity's dime isn't going to sit too well with donors both large and small. A more modest automobile wouldn't have caused all this furor. There would be no uproar if he had purchased said automobile(s) with his own funds.

      Some non-profits are the most profitable ventures around so fraud/embezzlement is always going to be rampant. In this case it may just be bad judgement.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I prefer to give my money directly to the bums that way I know it gets to them. Now after that it's on them to do what they want with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come on! With all that good work they do, surely they deserve to drive a Maserati....
        • 4 Years Ago
        This isn't right of course, but I don't think singling out the Salvation Army leader making nearly $200k is worth mentioning. Where I live, in Santa Monica, people who make less than $200,000 can't afford single family homes. People a few years out of college make over $100k here.

        If you want good administrative talent, even for a charity, you still have to pay a bit.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Salvation Army -- $200,000 a year isn't a big deal at all nowadays! You can't even buy a home in San Francisco or LA without a household income of at least that much. Anyone who runs a charity as big as the Salvation Army certainly deserves it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That was the same attitude the Deutschers had in 1939...Ya! Image ist everything!! Content ist nicht You must - YOU VILL - believe vat vee say!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      If these people want these expensive things... let them buy them with their own money.

      But then, working for a non-profit charitable organization, their salaries should be required to be published public knowledge, for the sake of disclosure to avoid fraud.

      Charities are private enterprises, but they have the special conditions that they are tax exempt, and that they ask for money with nothing returned.

      Those special conditions warrant that people who want to know where their charitable giving goes, should be able to look it up, and see the public record.

      Then, choose to give to organizations that you know and trust, and let the others wither.

      But I don't think I would want to give to an organization that spends a significant portion on lifestyle and image for the people employed to run the charity. People shouldn't be wanting to run a charity for the perks of the job... but rather the purpose of the job. not that they shouldn't make some kind of living... but running a charity should be almost as charitable as giving to that charity. Running a charity should not be a lucrative profession, it kind of defeats the point.

      And if anyone can look and see how the charity is being run, they can decide to give or not, based on their own estimation of that premise.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The difference is in the executives using the charities monies to pay for the luxury rides instead of their own salary.

        They can spent that $200K/year on whatever the hell they want. If they want a harem Thai strippers and a mountain of coke, I could care less if it's their salary they are using to acquire them. But when they are using the organizations funds to buy extreme luxury items or using the Charity to launder funds, well that's another story.

        The problem isn't the luxury items, it's that these execs are putting these items on the companies books instead of their own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        James,

        Meant to reply to your comment here (it's down below)
        • 4 Years Ago
        (Not specifically @BoxerFanatic, but his post brought the topic up most concisely)

        It takes a lot of expertise, education, and experience to successfully run any organization, especially a charity so fast to respond, mobile, and effective in time of need on an international scale. You can't hire someone that's qualified for that kind of position unless you pay them a competitive salary, otherwise what incentive do they have to take the job and perform it well.

        If I were good at my job, why would I choose to work for a non-profit as opposed to being a CxO of GM, earn $2+ million a year and get a hefty golden parachute when I retire in 5 years? This infatuation with the salaries of chief officers is asinine. They do a horribly complex and demanding job in the public spotlight, but apparently a janitor or school teacher is qualified to know what kind of pay is appropriate for these positions they've never even encountered nor have the least inkling about the entailments of the tasks!

        If you (general "you", not @BoxerFanatic) want to sit and judge a CxO or want to earn the same kind of money they are paid, then why don't you try to become one or look more deeply into the tasks required of them and see how far you could go? And who cares about what kind of car they drive? Like a Maserati is ontically superior to an Audi? So it has more sound deadening, more leather prepared slightly differently, and a different heritage. Big deal. Stop being obsessed with the little things. In the grand scheme of things, who cares if some executive, regardless of the international corporation they lead, drives a $200,000 or a $20,000 vehicle? The difference is a pittance. It might not be to a janitor, but that's because they have a narrow perspective.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If they are soliciting donations from public for charitable causes then they must spend it on charitable causes and not on luxury items for themselves.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The top person in the Salvation Army makes around $80K for managing a worldwide operation. I just reviewed the financials a couple of weeks ago. True, his wife also makes around $80k...but still short of $200k combined. By comparison, I make right under $150k (my last bonus was $45k) and I don't have a college degree, nor manage a worldwide organization. This is the reason this is the only charity I will give to when I'm not able to give directly.
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