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November 3, 2018 Press Releases

New Scandal: Tarkanian Uses Law Firm to Take Money from Children’s Charity


by Nevada Democrats

There is new evidence that Danny Tarkanian has taken more money for the children’s charity he runs than was previously known. Copies of checks from Tarkanian Basketball Academy (TBA), made out to Danny Tarkanian’s personal law firm, Tarkanian & Knight LLC, show that Danny has been funneling money from the children’s charity to his law firm, without making required disclosures in TBA’s 990 tax forms.

The checks from TBA to Tarkanian & Knight appear to disprove statements in TBA’s tax forms. In the 2014 and 2015 990 forms, Tarkanian claims that TBA was not a “party to a business transaction” involving “an entity of which a current or former officer, director, trustee [...] was a direct or indirect owner.” Danny owns his law firm, and these checks appear to show that TBA engaged in a number of business transactions with his law firm.

Danny regularly pays himself an annual salary in excess of $100,000 to be the President of TBA; from 2012-2016 Tarkanian paid himself an average annual salary of $133,000. At the same time, Danny appears to have been paying himself untold sums through his law firm. The exact amounts are impossible to independently confirm, as the payments to the law firm are not disclosed in TBA’s 990 forms. Tarkanian has repeatedly stated, falsely, that he has not taken $700,000 from the children’s charity. These checks throw into question whether the real amount could be much higher.

Yesterday Tarkanian ignored a legal deadline to make his 2016 or 2017 990 forms publicly available for inspection, despite repeated requests from members of the public to view the public documents. Tarkanian has posted a single redacted page from what he claims is each year’s 900 form, but refused to make the full documents publicly available. Withholding these documents violates federal law. The forms would show his salary from 2016 and 2017.

Tarkanian and Knight law firm closed its doors in 2017 when Danny’s law partner left the practice and initiated legal proceedings against Tarkanian over a financial dispute.

Tarkanian’s mismanagement of TBA was criticized by the Dean Heller campaign:

“[Tarkanian] paid his mortgage with money from a children’s charity. And that’s not all Danny Tarkanian has taken from his children’s charity. Documents show he has paid himself over $660,000 in salary from his children’s charity since 2005, and his salary has been as high as 25 percent of the charity’s annual budget – even when the charity ran major budget deficits – Danny took six figure paychecks.”

Last week the Review Journal published a letter from a former employee of Tarkanian Basketball Academy who laid out Danny’s exorbitant salary and charged that “Danny Tarkanian is not being honest about the charity that he has abused for personal gain.”

The FDIC, a federal agency, summed up Danny’s salary practices, pointing out that Danny “has elected to pay himself between $100,000 and $120,000 per year, based solely on his subjective judgment [...] he simply writes himself a check whenever cash flow permits." The FDIC concluded, “Upon information and belief, such distribution of profits violates applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.”

Nevada State Democratic Party Spokesperson Michael Soneff released the following statement:

“Everything Danny touches turns into a scandal. We are now learning that Danny Tarkanian may have not only funneled money from his children’s charity to his campaign, but may have been doing the same to his law firm. The extent to which Danny has abused this children’s charity for his personal benefit strains credulity. Danny’s apparent misstatements on these 990 forms raise serious legal issues both for the charity and for Danny Tarkanian personally. Danny has proven, again and again, that his is unfit for public office. This is yet more proof.”

 

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