In and out of the motorcycle industry, more and more charities bring more than dollars to support a cause, a lot of controversy about how the raised funds are used… For the past three months, WESH 2 News, an NBC-affiliate television station serving Orlando, is Investigating BADD (Bikers Against Drunk Drivers), digging into the charity claiming to provide assistance to those who are hurt by drunken drivers. Reporter Matt Grant followed the money all the way to Miami to find out how Daytona-based BADD is spending your donations. Below, I list his findings:
According to state records, in 2012 BADD took in about $879,000, but gave less than one percent — about $8,700 — to victims. Instead, the organization spent about $200,000 on rent, nearly $32,000 on bank charges, about $28,000 on a prize display, nearly $7,000 on supplies, about $6,600 on postage and shipping and approximately $13,000 on advertising, state records show. The year before, BADD reported revenue of nearly a million dollars but gave only about $9,200 to victims, while spending nearly half a million on professional fund raisers.
“I think that’s completely pathetic,” said president of Charity Navigator, Ken Berger. Officials from two of the largest non-profit charity watch dogs in the United States reviewed BADD’s returns and said they don’t add up. Berger says he would give BADD a zero rating. “A miniscule amount of the money is going to meet the mission. Any time we see that happening we get very concerned,” Berger said. In 2010, BADD reported about $912,000 in total revenue while giving only 0.2 percent — just $2,400 — to victims. “I think it really causes people to question whether they can trust an organization like this and quite frankly, we don’t think that they should,” Berger said.
BADD has been around for 28 years and is known for its motorcycle giveaways. WESH 2 News wanted to hear directly from the charity’s founder, Danny Perkins, but after more than a month of trying it didn’t happen. Despite showing his face on a $1,600-a-month billboard, Perkins would not meet with WESH 2 News in person, citing health and legal reasons. When asked how donations are spent, Perkins told WESH in an email “the charity speaks for itself,”claiming BADD has sent out 5 million flyers and used Facebook posts to encourage people not to drink and drive. “That’s our mandate,” Perkins said. “Exposure and awareness — period.”
While state filings do indicate that outreach is part of their mission, so is helping victims, which is where experts say BADD is falling short. Perkins would not reveal how much money he’s making from BADD. On state returns, he lists his address as a UPS mailbox in Ormond Beach, Florida but it turns out he actually lives a little farther south. Towering above the Miami Beach skyline, in the shadow of South Beach is the Portofino Tower. Records show Perkins lives in this “ultra luxury” high rise with a woman named Wahida Benferhat, who coincidentally is listed as the charity’s director. Records show Benferhat bought the condo worth about $950,000 in March. According to the property appraiser, there is no mortgage, which suggests the nearly $1 million condo was paid for in cash.
Records show Perkins also owns a 27-foot pleasure boat similar to one that, according to the state, is registered under the charity’s name. Despite traveling to Miami to speak with Perkins, he declined WESH 2’s interview requests… I am not sure that the BADD’s Sponsors are aware of BADD’s official record regarding the very poor amount provided to those who are hurt by drunken drivers. (thank you to faithful reader Rogue for pointing out to me this ongoing investigation)