Mr. David Hackman, Assistant Lake County Prosecutor:
We are still concerned that the Lake County Visitors Bureau is not complying with the IRS rules regarding their 501 (C ) (6) tax exempt filing status.
“To be exempt, a section 501(c)(6) organization must receive meaningful membership support.”
If you review their IRS Form 990 for 2019 and 2020, you will find that their overwhelming financial support is from the Hotel Excise Tax. They could not exist without the Hotel Excise Tax funds.
It would be greatly appreciated if you would review Ohio Revised Code section 309.12 that deals with the responsibility of the Prosecutor’s Office when an entity receiving taxpayer funding is not complying with the law.
***** O.R.C. 309.12
“Upon being satisfied that funds of the county, or public moneys in the hands of the county treasurer or belonging to the county, are about to be or have been misapplied, or that any such public moneys have been illegally drawn or withheld from the county treasury, or that a contract, in contravention of law, has been executed or is about to be entered into, or that such a contract was procured by fraud or corruption, or that any property, real or personal, belonging to the county is being illegally used or occupied, or that such property is being used or occupied in violation of contract, or that the terms of a contract made by or on behalf of the county are being or have been violated, or that money is due the county, the prosecuting attorney may, by civil action in the name of the state, apply to a court of competent jurisdiction, to restrain such contemplated misapplication of funds, or the completion of such illegal contract, or to recover, for the use of the county, all public moneys so misapplied or illegally drawn or withheld from the county treasury, or to recover damages, for the benefit of the county, resulting from the execution of such illegal contract, or to recover, for the benefit of the county, such real or personal property so used or occupied, or to recover for the benefit of the county, damages resulting from the nonperformance of the terms of such contract, or to otherwise enforce it, or to recover such money as is due the county.” (emphasis added by LFC)
It would be greatly appreciated if you can rule on whether or not the Lake County Visitors Bureau is in compliance with the IRS rules regarding 501 (c) (6). If you conclude that they are not in compliance, then we expect the Prosecutor’s office to follow the Ohio Revised Code and have the Commissioners withhold funds until the Visitors Bureau is in compliance with all laws.
On behalf of all concerned citizens, we thank you for looking into this issue.
Lobbyists for Citizens
a 501 (c) (4) Non-Profit