Clothing lines, NBA games, multiple television shows -- it seems the Kardashians are keeping up with everything but their charity work.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Lamar Odom and his reality TV star wife, Khloe Kardashian, 28, are being flamed for allegedly running the fraudulent charity Cathy’s Kids, which claims to raise money for cancer research and improving the lives of underprivileged children.
According to ESPN, the charity, which Odom, 33, founded to honor his late mother, who died of stomach cancer, hasn’t given any profits to related causes since its creation in 2004 despite raising an estimated $2.2 million.
The deception was uncovered by an “Outside the Lines” investigation that found 115 high-profile charities run by athletes were not distributing raised profits effectively, with more than 74 percent failing to operate under standards upheld by the Better Business Bureau and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
Tax records reveal that Cathy’s Kids never gave any grant money to any cancer-related causes in the past eight years, supporting activities inconsistent with the charity’s mission that can violate tax laws. Reports state that the charity used $1.3 million to finance two unidentified elite youth basketball travel teams and paid an annual salary of $72,000 to executives of the charity and Odom’s best man, Jerry DeGregorio.
When approached by “Outside the Lines,” Odom responded to the charity’s spending patterns by saying, “It’s my money.”
Big companies like Yahoo have even teamed up with the Kardashian clan to support the charity. In 2011, Yahoo promised to make a donation for every person who made Yahoo their home page.
President of Charity Navigator Ken Berger called celebrities' effectiveness at raising charitable donations “tremendous” but warned that this type of behavior can damage the credibility of similar future endeavors.
“It’s critical that when these kind of opportunities are available that the celebrities involved realize the profound responsibility that they have to get as much money to support these worthy causes as they can and to make sure they don’t damage the public trust,” Berger said.
In 2010, Kardashian blogged about her and Odom’s passion for the foundation on her official website, which they have also used to promote multiple eBay auctions of the reality star's clothes to also benefit the charity.
“Every time I see him working with his charity, I fall more and more in love with him,” Kardashian said. “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.
Other celebrity charities being flamed are New York Yankee Alex Rodriquez’s charity A-Rod Family Foundation, which allegedly stopped filing taxes five years ago in spite of raising $300,000, and NFL receiver Randy Moss’ charity, which was investigated after the phone number listed for his charity didn't go to a charity head but instead to a residential home in Canada.
Odom and Kardashian have yet to comment on the investigation.