Monday, June 20, 2011

Isleton Cajun Festival a success in spite of Contra Costa Times Yellow Journalism

Isleton Cajun Festival a success in spite of Contra Costa Times 
                               Yellow Journalism

The Isleton Crawdad Cajun Festival was a successful event this 2011 Fathers day weekend, in spite of all the naysayers  and some who even tried to sabotage the event with reporting false news reports, and advertising with the name The Great Isleton Crawdad Festival held in Red Bluff Ca.

However, even though the attendance was good, any media expert will agree that perhaps at least 10,000-20,000 people more would have attended if  the conflicting and false media would not have taken place. The Contra Costa Times released an article by reporter Roman Gokhman, (and I use reporter lightly) that accused the Isleton newly formed Chamber of Commerce of operating illegally, and that the festival itself was not legal.

Even up to the day before the event, many Isleton residents themselves when interviewed were in doubt that the festival would take place. Most major media stayed out of the controversy in regards to Contra Costa Times as their Parent Company is the "Bay Area Media Group" which is one of the largest media groups in Northern California, and without all the facts (rightly so) did not weigh in on the Contra Costa Times poor and possibly libelous and defamatory yellow Journalism.

The River News Herald and Isleton Journal reporter, Galen Kusic are applauded for their Wednesday 6-15 article reporting how the Contra Costa Times "Slammed the Cajun Festival." Galen Kusic of the River-News Herald in his interview with Times article writer Roman Gokhman, reported Gokhman saying " The state did not agree with Isleton's statement that they were already in good standing. Nothing was officially filed until June 2nd."

Gokhman just keeps digging the pit deeper and deeper.Investigative reporter Edward Stevens, in a phone interview with John Bartlett of the Franchise Tax Board, discovered that Bartlett did not speak to Gokhman on behalf of the Secretary of State's Office, only what his files showed which were not updated. Had Gokhman done a thorough check with the Secretary of State's Office, he would have had  "The Rest of The Story." However he decided drama would garner more readership, and that is Yellow Journalism.


The rest of the story involves the former Isleton Chamber head Charli Hand, who convinced ( some say strong armed ) the other chamber members into selling the rights to the festival along with the name. Supposedly, the sale was to pay off debts of the previous years festival that allegedly lost money.

The sale was made to the R Wild Horse Ranch in Red Bluff for only a percentage of future gross profits. The R Wild Horse Ranch is a quasi-time share resort development that Charli Hands husband Ralph Hand is currently manager, and she sells real estate for the ranch. So, she gets chamber to sell the festival to her next enterprise at reduced prices, and dissolves the Isleton chamber which was organized as a 501-C 6 non-profit.

 501(c)(6) organizations include Business Leagues, Home Builders Association, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc. such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce political action committee and the National Football League.


Under Section 511, a 501(c) organization is subject to tax on its "unrelated business income," whether or not the organization actually makes a profit, but not including selling donated merchandise or other business or trade carried on by volunteers, or certain bingo games.[2]Disposal of donated goods valued over $2,500, or acceptance of goods worth over $5,000 may also trigger special filing and record-keeping requirements.
Note that "tax exempt" also does not excuse an organization from maintaining proper records and filing any required annual or special-purpose tax returns.[3] Previously, annual returns were not generally required from an exempt organization accruing less than $25,000 in gross income yearly.[4] However, from 2008 onwards, many such organizations must file a yearly "e-Postcard" known as Form 990-N, or risk losing their exemption.[5]



Chamber of commerce.   A chamber of commerce usually is composed of the merchants and traders of a city.
Board of trade.   A board of trade often consists of persons engaged in similar lines of business. For example, a nonprofit organization formed to regulate the sale of a specified agricultural commodity to assure equal treatment of producers, warehouse workers, and buyers is a board of trade.
  Chambers of commerce and boards of trade usually promote the common economic interests of all the commercial enterprises in a given trade community.

Private benefit prohibited.   No part of the organization's net earnings can inure to the benefit of any person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization. For purposes of this requirement, it is not necessary that net earnings be actually distributed. Even undistributed earnings can benefit members. Examples of this include a decrease in membership dues or an increase in the services the club provides to its members without a corresponding increase in dues or other fees paid for club support. However, fixed-fee payments to members who bring new members into the club are not an inurement of the club's net earnings, if the payments are reasonable compensation for performance of a necessary administrative service.


Upon the dissolution of the corporation, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all of the assets of the corporation to such organization or organizations that are organized and operated for non-profit purposes as closely aligned as possible to the purposes and objectives of this Corporation which shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations organized and operated under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Superior Court of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.


The R Wild Ranch has a big problem...they are privately owned. It is alleged that equipment and other hard assets were sold to R Wild, and that Charli Hand was already a share holder in that private company.


So anything of value that belonged to the former chamber 501 (c) (6 )...by law had to be distributed to another 501 organization upon dissolution, without any profit or remuneration of any sort to any members of the 501 (c) (6 )that dissolved.


The saga will continue as to will the new Chamber sue for the return of assets and get an order that R Wild cease and desist from using their name? 

Sources tell the Delta News and Review that The Bay Area Media Group who also owns the Red Bluff Daily News, is feeling a little heat over the rumor that some of it's "associates" may have a piece of the action at R Wild Horse Ranch. 




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