Children’s Cancer Cooperative reported to the IRS giving away more than $2.5 million between 2009 and 2011. The organization’s 2012 return is not yet available, but the charity’s web site says it donated another $338,000 last year.
During its initial 2011 investigation into Allied Veterans, records show officials at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reviewed Internet casinos affiliated with Children’s Cancer Cooperative after concerns were raised that customers were being told money spent on the games was being provided to charity. Windows at the cafes featured the Children’s Cancer logo and large photos showing charity checks being presented to hospitals were prominently displayed inside.
Erin Gillespie, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department, said the agency ordered the cafes to remove the charity’s logo and no longer represent that the funds spent there were going to help sick kids. A lobbyist for the cafes said they would comply, and the agency closed its investigation.
Gillespie said regulators were surprised to hear of the glossy Children’s Cancer brochure provided to an AP reporter visiting Old City Sweepstakes, which records show a lawyer from Mathis’ firm registered with the state in August as a new affiliate of the charity.
Six more new affiliates were registered March 11, days before authorities began issuing arrest warrants in the Allied Veterans case.
Mathis said this week he remembers meeting Dukes when the charity president visited his Jacksonville law office years ago to hire him.
"Mr. Dukes did tell me that they want to give money for children and children’s cancer," Mathis said, "which I thought was pretty obvious, given their name."
Associated Press writers Mitch Weiss in Greenville, S.C., Tamara Lush in Jacksonville, Fla., Bruce Smith in Ravenel, S.C., and Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Fla., and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Judith Ausuebel in New York contributed to this report.