Lamar Odom and his wife, Khloe Kardashian, are being accused of the lowest-of-lows: running a questionable cancer charity called Cathy’s Kids, yet not giving ONE DIME to help children in need, according to a new report – and furthermore, when the LA Clippers star was asked about the shocking allegations, he reportedly said, “It’s my money.”
ESPN conducted its “Outside The Lines” investigation of more than a hundred charities attached to top athletes, including Odom. It uncovered 115 of these high-profile charities were not passing out raised profits effectively or properly, with more than 74 percent not operating under standards upheld by the Better Business Bureau and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
According to ESPN, in the case of Odom, 33, eight years of tax records revealed that his charity, Cathy’s Kids – named in honor his late mother who died of stomach cancer – has not given any money to cancer-related causes since its creation in 2004, despite raising an estimated a whopping $2.2 million.
In addition, the investigation says it found the charity primarily existed to finance two elite youth basketball travel teams. Of the $2.2 million raised by the charity, ESPN reports that at least 60 percent -- $1.3 million -- went to those AAU teams.
Shockingly, the charity paid only one executive -- Jerry DeGregorio, Odom’s high school coach and best man in his wedding to Kardashian, says the report. DeGregorio -- now an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors -- was secretary of Cathy's Kids from 2004 through 2011, for which he was paid a median annual salary of about $72,000, while the charity operated at a loss since its creation.
ESPN reports that its 2011 tax returns show Cathy’s Kids is $256,000 in debt, mostly due to a loan Odom made to the charity, according to his business manager Lester Knispel, who is also the charity's treasurer.
When approached in a locker room by “Outside the Lines,” Odom responded to the charity’s spending habits by saying, “It’s my money.”
And the image below shows part of Khloe's involvement raising funds for the controversial charity. Khloe and Lamar set up an eBay account together, selling items from their "personal collection" to benefit the charity, according to their own description.
ESPN notes in its story that if a charity spends money -- including paying someone a salary as in the case of DeGregorio -- on activities not consistent with its stated mission, that could be a violation of tax law that could draw the ire of the IRS or a state attorney general's office. If fraud was found, prosecutors could file charges.
In 2010, Kardashian, 28, blogged about her and Odom’s passion for the cancer charity on her official website, which, ESPN notes, the couple has also used to promote multiple eBay auctions of the reality star's clothes to also raise money for the charity.
“Every time I see him working with Cathy Kids. “I fall more and more in love with him,” Kardashian wrote. “He’s made me a better person and has taught me that anyone can make a difference if you have the desire and passion to do so,” she said.
Neither Odom or Kardashian have yet to publicly comment on the ESPN investigation.