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Roundtable: Supervisor Horn’s Charity; San Diego Opera Future; Fire Lessons

KPBS Roundtable

Roundtable: Bill Horn's Charity; San Diego Opera Lives; Preparing For More Fires

Aired 5/23/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Brad Racino, inewsource Investigative Reporter

Angela Carone, KPBS Arts and Culture Reporter

Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times


Bill Horn's Basic Faith

San Diego County supervisor Bill Horn ran a charity for more than 30 years, and apparently used it to hold money in escrow from multimillion-dollar real estate deals. And avoid paying taxes. He said the proceeds went to missionaries in Mexico and South America, and he did not profit. inewsource reporter Brad Racino talked to several tax experts who said this violates state and federal laws. Horn is currently seeking re-election.

Opera Update

The show will go on in 2015. The opera announced on Monday that the 50th season of the San Diego Opera will include fully staged versions of “La Boheme,” “Don Giovanni” and “Nixon in China." It was made possible by cutting costs and successful fundraising. But, the state attorney general is investigating the company, asking for records relating to the “transfer of charitable assets” and accounting and billing matters. What is the future of the San Diego Opera?

San Diego Fires

The fires are out and recovery has begun. Officials said San Diego was better prepared to deal with last week's fires than it was in 2003 and 2007. Improvements have been made in inter-agency coordination, equipment, and emergency services. But is San Diego prepared to deal with a longer fire season? And what can agencies and residents do better next time?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 23, 2014 at 5:31 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Let's not sugar-coat things by calling Mr. Horn a "rogue" or "outspoken", let's call him what he is : a criminal.

Only in San Diego County could a politician be this overtly corrupt and sloppy and still remain in power for over 20 years.

It it a sad state of affairs if horrendous scoundrel becomes re-elected and if no investigation by the DA takes place to hold Mr. Horn accountable.

Horn represents the very worst of politics, the most despicable of political hacks.

Anyone who votes for this man is either an idiot or someone on the take from his slush funds.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | May 25, 2014 at 8:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Transparency is the key to good government: Let's be honest, it is not uncommon for rich people (with lawyers) to use the legal systems to avoid tax liability and hide their wealth and influence streams using these kinds of corporate structures.(if you know of a specific problem you can report it: )

There are thousands of non-profit corporations in San Diego County (not including trusts, and political action committees). Until 2010 the state of California and the IRS didn't do much oversight on such organizations, and they still do not question RELIGIOUS non-profits for fear of accusations from the political right of religious persecution.

The money hidden in these 'charities' and 'clubs' is of course peanuts compared to the wealth manipulated in the for-profit corporations, but we like to keep these legal entities obscure and out of the press. It wouldn't be good if the public understood the secret systems of private influence drifting behind our systems of corporate charities, family trusts, and limitations of liability.

The general public should NEVER donate money to a charity without first seeking out a copy of it's 990 IRS tax forms for the last three years, and researching the amount of money used for the intended purpose of the charity via a service like - still it's difficult to see what's going on, look at what the San Diego Foundation does with the money (half-billion in assets, $60-million/yr. operation expenses, $80-million/yr. revenue, highest paid employee $318,000/yr.):

If you look for clear financial reports or IRS-990s for non-profit entities like KPBS, iNews Source, or VOSD, you will not find the latest on the front page of their web sites (where they should be linked) but they are usually published somewhere, even though they claim to deal in investigative news and transparency. The powers that be don't want you to know who is obviously funding them behind the scenes. Transparency is bad for business.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | May 25, 2014 at 8:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Many Non-Profit organizations often use umbrella entities like parent corporations to run programs, creating another layer of oblique obscurity that looks like money laundering if it weren't government funding through public tax dollars -

The last officially published financial disclosure published by KPBS from 2011 ($21-million budget, highest paid employee?, but total employee compensation $8.5-million, it is now 2014, may want to update) -|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not%20provided)&__utmv=-&__utmk=129690188

VOSD 990 2012 ($1.4-million, highest paid employee Scott Lewis $82,000/yr) -

iNewsSource 990 2012 ($400,000, highest paid employee ? $304,000 in total compensation) -

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