is a "phony non-profit" attempting to raise funds for the tornado recovery in Joplin. The organization is the third charity in just the past week
accused of fraudulently raising money for tornado victims in southwest Missouri.
The BBB said it could find no Internal Revenue Service records indicating Rescue Joplin is a
501(c)(3) organization. Meanwhile, the Florida outfit says it's run by
Faith Ministries International. The BBB found numerous 501(c)(3) organizations named Faith Ministries International, however, they are all either out of businesses or say they are not
affiliated with rescuejoplin.org.
Since the BBB issued its press release
on Monday, the Associated Press
and numerous other news outlet have picked up the story. But, not so fast, says Rev. Lee Terry, of rescuejoplin.org.
In a response on his outfit's website
, Terry calls the BBB warning "slanderous" and the news outlets that covered the story "character assassins." He only discovered the BBB warning after a friend found it on the "world wide web."
"Apparently Google has a thing called "ALERTS" that sends an E-Mail to anyone who follows certain keywords when they are published on the internet, I sure have learned a lot about the internet in the last 24 hours!" writes Terry. "I guess being a Reverend's son for the past 45 some odd years, and a Reverend myself for over 23 years (since the 13th day of November 1987), has left me a little naïve to the ways of the world when it comes to how someone's character, the character of their family, their commitment to The Lord and the dedication of their organization can be destroyed in minutes without a second thought, or an ounce of legitimate research."
The reverend from Wildwood, Florida, goes on to explain how he, himself, is a tornado survivor and felt compelled to help the people of Joplin. In so doing, he teamed up with his cousin, also a man of the cloth, who runs Faith Ministries International. Terry provides a link to the organization's IRS status as a non-profit and says he's ready to a answer any and all questions from investigators. Oh, and those who reported that his charity is a fraud need to look out. Vengeance will be his and the Lord's.
"If you are one of the parties to the concocting or disseminating of the libelous information that has been so flagrantly and recklessly spewed around the media in the last week or so I suggest that you seek legal counsel, you will need it!," warns Terry. "To the Attorney General "spokesperson", Nanci Gonder, and the Attorney General, Chris Koster, I welcome any questions that you may have for me, about anything, or anyone and I will answer them without advice from legal counsel, for I have already sought my advice from The Lord."
Yesterday Daily RFT
talked to Jim Judge of the St. Louis BBB, which first handled the investigation of rescuejoplin.org before handing it off to the agency's Sprinfield bureau. Judge urges those who want to help Joplin survivors fully research a charity before making a donation. "Give with your head, not with your heart," is his advice.
The Better Business Bureau says