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Westlake Legal Group > Philanthropy

Jeffrey Epstein Gave $850,000 to M.I.T., and Administrators Knew

Westlake Legal Group 10mit2-facebookJumbo Jeffrey Epstein Gave $850,000 to M.I.T., and Administrators Knew Sex Crimes Philanthropy Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ito, Joi Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- )

The convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein donated a total of $850,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and top administrators were aware of the gifts for years, according to a report released on Friday by a law firm hired by the university to investigate its ties to the disgraced financier.

The firm, Goodwin Procter, found that Mr. Epstein made 10 donations from 2002 to 2017, and also visited the school nine times from 2013 to 2017. The school said last year that it had received roughly $800,000 over the past two decades from Mr. Epstein, who killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

The university placed Seth Lloyd, a mechanical engineering professor who previously acknowledged a relationship with Mr. Epstein, on paid leave after the report found that he “purposefully failed” to inform M.I.T. of multiple donations from Mr. Epstein, including a $60,000 gift that was deposited into a personal bank account and not reported to the school.

Mr. Lloyd did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We must fix what needs fixing and improve what needs improving,” L. Rafael Reif, M.I.T.’s president, said in a statement on Friday. Mr. Reif acknowledged last year that he had signed a letter thanking Mr. Epstein for a donation in 2012, four years after the financier pleaded guilty to a sex charge involving a minor in Florida.

The 61-page report cleared Mr. Reif of wrongdoing, saying that he was unaware that the school’s prestigious Media Lab was accepting donations and “had no role in approving” the funds, according to the university.

After Mr. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in July, the Media Lab became ensnared in the public reckoning over the vast network of academic, business and political leaders who rubbed shoulders with the financier or accepted money from him.

The lab’s director, Joichi Ito, stepped down in September after acknowledging taking money from Mr. Epstein. He also stepped down from The New York Times Company’s board, as well as several other boards and a visiting professorship at Harvard.

The report found that three M.I.T. administrators learned of Mr. Epstein’s donations to the Media Lab in 2013, but “in the absence of any M.I.T. policy regarding controversial gifts,” other donations were approved under “an informal framework” that the administrators developed.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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N.A.A.C.P. Tells Local Chapters: Don’t Let Energy Industry Manipulate You

Westlake Legal Group 00naacp1-facebookJumbo N.A.A.C.P. Tells Local Chapters: Don’t Let Energy Industry Manipulate You Politics and Government Philanthropy National Assn for the Advancement of Colored People Lobbying and Lobbyists Florida Power&Light Co Florida Electric Light and Power Blacks Alternative and Renewable Energy

When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In 2014, the top officials of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Florida division threw their organization’s weight behind an effort to stymie the spread of solar panels on residential rooftops and cut energy efficiency standards at the behest of the energy industry. The group’s Illinois chapter joined a similar industry effort in 2017. And in January 2018, the N.A.A.C.P.’s top executive in California signed a letter opposing a government program that encourages the use of renewable energy.

Most Americans know the N.A.A.C.P. as a storied civil rights organization that has fought for equal access to public facilities, fairness in housing and equality in education. But on energy policy, many of its chapters have for years advanced the interests of energy companies that are big donors to their programs. Often this advocacy has come at the expense of the black neighborhoods, which are more likely to have polluting power plants and are less able to adapt to climate change.

The activities of the N.A.A.C.P. chapters, which operate with significant autonomy, have so unnerved the group’s national office that it published a report titled the “Top 10 Manipulation Tactics of the Fossil Fuel Industry” in April. It is also sending its staff to state and local chapters to persuade them to fight for policies that reduce pollution and improve public health even at the risk of losing donations from utilities and fossil fuel companies.

From New Orleans to San Diego, consumer and environmental groups have criticized power companies for using their largess in minority communities to get church pastors, nonprofit groups and organizations like the N.A.A.C.P. to back industry objectives.

“The utilities have essentially asked communities of color to be props for them,” said William Funderburk Jr., an environmental lawyer and former board member of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. “It appears utilities are turning back the clock a hundred years.”

From 2013 to 2017, 10 of the country’s largest utilities gave about $1 billion in donations. Those contributions often went to groups representing minority communities, and many of the recipients promoted the interests of utilities in front of government regulators, according to the Energy Policy Institute, an environmental group.

The N.A.A.C.P. has a long record on environmental issues, including fighting to reduce the health threats posed by lead paint and asbestos. But its national office has been slower to stake a clear position on climate change and the pollution caused by power plants. It established a group dedicated to environmental justice only a decade ago.

Derrick Johnson, the N.A.A.C.P.’s president, said the group had established a department dedicated to that work that is larger than any of its other programs, with 11 full-time staff members and three consultants.

“We care about the education of our children,” Mr. Johnson said. “But if the children are in unhealthy environments, we know that it impedes their learning. We care about health and access to health care, so we must care about the decisions that create mega health impacts.”

As solar panels and other renewable energy sources tumbled in price in recent years, making them attractive alternatives to coal and natural gas in power plants, electric utilities in Florida began pressing regulators and lawmakers to limit their growth.

Rooftop solar in particular posed a threat to the utilities. When the electric grid was designed, engineers did not foresee that consumers would generate their own power and even sell it to the utilities. That could reduce revenue for the companies.

Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy and other utilities argued that as more affluent homeowners installed solar panels and reduced their reliance on the electric grid, lower-income residents would be forced to pay higher rates to maintain power lines. Many energy experts have disputed that argument, saying energy-efficiency programs and increasingly affordable solar panels can reduce electricity costs for low-income households. But utilities have successfully made their case around the country, often with the help of the N.A.A.C.P. and other nonprofit groups that are advocates for communities of color.

In Florida, utilities found a ready partner — for a time — in Adora Nweze, the president of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Florida conference. She and her staff repeated industry talking points in newspaper opinion articles, written comments to state regulators and testimony in public hearings.

Utilities often sought the group’s support around the time that the state conference was in the middle of raising money for programs and its annual gathering, held in September, Ms. Nweze said.

Invoices obtained by The New York Times show that Florida Power & Light gave the N.A.A.C.P. at least $225,000 from 2013 to 2017 and that Duke Energy gave $25,000. Florida Power & Light’s annual donations doubled in 2014 just as the utility was pressing state regulators to restrict rooftop solar power and weaken the state’s energy efficiency goals.

For example, the N.A.A.C.P.’s Florida conference issued a $50,000 invoice to the utility on Sept. 11, 2014, a couple of months after Ms. Nweze wrote an essay in The Tallahassee Democrat opposing a solar-energy rebate program and in support of a utility-backed change to state efficiency goals.

“In many cases, nonparticipants tend to be the poor, creating a shockingly inequitable situation in which high-income households capture all of the benefits while low-income households shoulder all of the costs,” the essay said. Ms. Nweze said her staff wrote that article and similar ones, often copying verbatim from text sent by Florida Power & Light and other utilities.

In addition to the article, the conference filed comments with the state Public Service Commission. The commission later cited those comments in ruling for the utilities. The commission reduced the state’s energy-efficiency goals by about 90 percent.

The utilities’ policy victory in the 2014 case has had a lasting impact.

Florida utilities have some of the country’s least ambitious energy-efficiency goals. The Sunshine State also trails several states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, in how much electricity it gets from solar panels.

Florida Power & Light declined to answer questions about its work with the N.A.A.C.P.’s state conference and other civil rights organizations. The utility said its primary focus had been to keep electricity rates as low as possible.

“We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the N.A.A.C.P. and of our ability to constructively work together on issues that benefit customers,” said Alys Daly, a company spokeswoman.

In an interview, Ms. Nweze said she had signed on because of the utilities’ financial support to her group, and because she believed what executives had told her about solar panels and energy efficiency.

“I felt that if we wanted the money, we had to do it,” she said. “The shortcoming on my part was that I didn’t have the necessary knowledge to know that it was a problem.”

Ms. Nweze, 77, said she decided about two years ago that her advocacy for the utilities was wrong. That was when the N.A.A.C.P.’s national office worked with her conference on a report about the impact that climate change and pollution have on low-income families. The report concluded that seven power plants had a disproportionate impact on people of color. It also found that Latino adults in Florida had the highest prevalence of asthma at some time in their lives and that African-American adolescents were the most likely to have ongoing asthma.

Jacqueline Patterson played an important role in Ms. Nweze’s conversion. Once focused on becoming a teacher, Ms. Patterson, 51, became interested in environmental issues while in Jamaica as a Peace Corps volunteer, in New Orleans as a relief worker after Hurricane Katrina and in sub-Saharan Africa as an official of a nonprofit group that works on health issues.

She often found that local residents were not involved in the discussions when officials debated and decided environmental and energy policy — white men frequently had the final say.

“What struck me after all of that was the number of rooms I went into where I was the only person of color,” Ms. Patterson said. “Too often, we’re just completely not there.”

As Ms. Patterson began recognizing the need for more African-Americans in the climate-change debate, so did the N.A.A.C.P.

The organization saw a growing need to address climate change and clean energy when it was drawn into a debate over a climate bill in Congress in 2009.

A lobbying firm working for the coal industry, Bonner & Associates, had sent out letters opposing the measure that seemed to be from the N.A.A.C.P.’s chapter in Charlottesville, Va. The group’s national office, in Baltimore, felt it had to make clear that it supported the legislation, which would have established a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Jack Bonner, the founder of Bonner & Associates, declined to comment.

Then the organization began digging deeper, creating an environmental justice program and appointing Ms. Patterson to lead it.

Under her leadership, the group began connecting the dots between climate change and the impact of disasters like Katrina on African-American communities. The group also took a closer look at how rising sea levels and more intense storms might affect low-income, minority neighborhoods. And it started examining how air pollution from power plants affected nearby residents, many of them black.

“Seeing all of those intersections and more, we really saw this as a civil rights issue,” Ms. Patterson said. “The N.A.A.C.P. is now engaging around pushing for policies and pushing for access to clean energy.”

One of her priorities, Ms. Patterson said, is to educate state conferences and chapters. A milestone was the 2017 report with its Florida conference, which got the state organization to reverse its position on solar panels, energy efficiency and other clean-energy programs.

“I looked at it differently than I do now,” Ms. Nweze said. “The more you look at the issue, you realize this isn’t really working.”

But the national N.A.A.C.P. message has not found traction in every state.

The president of the group’s Illinois conference, Teresa Haley, said that her group typically got $5,000 to $10,000 a year from the energy industry and that the money did not influence the group’s activities. “They do have their lobbyist who contacts us and says, ‘We need your support.’”

Ms. Haley added that her group’s local branches held votes on which initiatives they support, sometimes backing utilities and sometimes opposing them. In 2012, for example, the Chicago branch successfully fought to close two coal-fired power plants in minority neighborhoods.

In California, the N.A.A.C.P. conference has more consistently taken positions that align with those of the state’s largest utilities.

Alice Huffman, the president of that state conference, has signed letters opposing government-run electricity providers known as Community Choice Aggregation, which allow consumers to choose solar power and wind with lower rates while leaving billing and transmission in the hands of investor-owned utilities. Ms. Huffman and the heads of other nonprofit organizations joined the utilities in sending a letter to state regulators contending that those programs could shift more of the grid’s cost to those who could least afford it. Studies have found that those in community choice programs typically have lower electric bills, but that state fees charged for grid maintenance could hurt low-income customers.

California’s three investor-owned utilities have donated about $180,000 to the N.A.A.C.P.’s state conference and its local chapters over the last five years, the companies said. Ms. Huffman and her conference did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Funderburk, the environmental lawyer, said the utility donations pressured nonprofit organizations to support the industry in ways undisclosed to members and the public.

“The only way to get real equity is to make things much more transparent,” he said.

Ms. Patterson said the N.A.A.C.P. was working on alternative revenue sources for chapters that stood to lose financial support from utilities.

In Florida, Ms. Nweze said that she realized that reversing support for fossil-fuel interests could jeopardize the state conference’s funding, but that she could no longer ignore the effect of climate change on her members.

“I’m not naïve,” she said. “I’m concerned, but I’m more concerned about the impact on the lives of the people throughout the country and this state in particular.”

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Chill out for a good cause at these 7 polar bear plunges

Westlake Legal Group mosaic-distrcit-polar-plunge Chill out for a good cause at these 7 polar bear plunges Things to Do Features Things to Do special olympics polar plunges polar bear plunges Philanthropy Events dmv events charity
Photo courtesy of Polar Plunge

Grab your swimsuit and brave chilly temperatures as you plunge into icy-cold water in the middle of winter at these DMV polar bear plunge events, benefiting the Special Olympics, CCAN and more nonprofit organizations.

The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge
Saturday, Jan. 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
One of the most well-known polar bear plunges in the DMV, The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge benefits Special Olympics Maryland and encourages participants to tip their toes (and then some) into the Chesapeake Bay. Plungers must raise a minimum of $75 and will receive a 2020 Plunge sweatshirt. For this event, there are multiple plunge times to choose from. // Sandy Point State Park: 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis; $75

Polar Plunge Mosaic District
Saturday, Jan. 25, time TBA
Hop into the chilly pool set up within Fairfax’s Mosaic District for this annual event benefiting Special Olympics Virginia. There will also be live music, a costume contest with a prize for the best-dressed plunger and prizes for fundraisers. It’s $100 to participate, but the more money an individual raises, the more chances they receive to win prizes. // Mosaic District: 2910 District Ave., Fairfax; $100

15th Annual “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge
Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.
The temperature outside may be cold, but the overall climate continues to warm. Want to fight climate change? Walk or run your way into the icy Potomac River as part of the 15th annual “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge, held at the National Harbor, benefiting the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. // National Harbor: 141 National Harbor Blvd., Oxon Hill, Maryland; donations required

DC Polar Plunge
Saturday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m.
At this annual event supporting Special Olympics DC, two above-ground swimming pools are erected at The Yards Park for participants to take the cold plunge in front of friends and families. Participants must raise at least $100 and will receive a commemorative 2020 Polar Plunge T-shirt. Those who raise more than $100 will receive other prizes as well. The event will also include an ice bar, live music, interactive ice activities, food vendors and more. // The Yard Park: 355 Water St. SE, Washington, DC; $100

2020 Virginia Polar Dip
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2 p.m.
It’s “freezin’ for a reason,” at this polar bear plunge that supports Camp Sunshine, a camp and support program in Maine that helps families affected by life-threatening childhood illnesses. All participants who raise at least $100 will receive a “I did it!” event T-shirt. // Reston Community Center Lake Anne: 1609-A Washington Plaza N., Reston; donations required

Polar Bear Plunge – EOD Warrior Foundation
Saturday, Feb. 8, time TBA
Jump into Lake Anna’s frosty water for the 2020 Polar Bear Plunge benefiting the EOD Warrior Foundation, which provides financial assistance and support to active-duty, retired and veteran explosive ordnance disposal techs and their families. Want to participate but can’t make it to Lake Anna? This year, you can register as a virtual participant and plunge in a local lake, pond or (why not) your own bathtub. // Lake Anna State Park: 6800 Lawyers Road, Spotsylvania Courthouse; $30

Polar Plunge Prince William County
Saturday, Feb. 22, 1:15 p.m.
A new location for the Polar Plunge event (which takes place in Virginia Beach, Richmond, New River and Fairfax too) this year is Leesylvania State Park. Dip into the Potomac River as you help support Special Olympics Virginia with live bands, prizes and a costume contest for the fanciest plungers. // Leesylvania State Park: 2001 Daniel K Ludgwig Drive, Woodbridge; $100

For more fun, subscribe to our Things to Do e-newsletter.

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‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network

STOCKTON, Calif. — Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton seemed like an improbable political duo on Wednesday as they heaped praise on each other. Mr. Tubbs, a 29-year-old liberal who is Stockton’s first black mayor, hailed Mr. Bloomberg as a leader “with the resources, with the record and with the relationships” to defeat President Trump in 2020. Mr. Bloomberg, a 77-year-old centrist billionaire, called the younger man “my kind of mayor.”

Mr. Tubbs had reason to feel kinship with Mr. Bloomberg. Last year, he graduated from a mayoral training program that Mr. Bloomberg sponsors at Harvard University. Mr. Tubbs had attended a conference co-sponsored by Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation in Paris in 2017, and was featured in its 2018 annual report. And this past June, Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation donated $500,000 to an education reform group based in Stockton, a struggling inland city in Northern California.

As Mr. Bloomberg traverses the country as a presidential candidate, he is drawing on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as an elder statesman of municipal politics. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs worth a combined $350 million. Now, leaders in some of those cities are forming the spine of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign: He has been endorsed so far by eight mayors — from larger cities like San Jose, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., and smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans.

For all of those endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All have attended his prestigious boot camp at Harvard that gives the mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from Bloomberg-funded experts. More than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support packages from Mr. Bloomberg worth a total of nearly $10 million, according to a review of tax documents and interviews with all eight mayors.

The money he has given to cities underscores the extraordinary nature of Mr. Bloomberg’s candidacy. More than any presidential candidate in recent history, Mr. Bloomberg has established himself — through philanthropic giving, political endorsements and campaign spending — as a singular ally for a large cross-section of American politicians, many of whom feel a deep sense of loyalty in return. And there is no group to whom he is more tightly bonded with than his fellow mayors.

Westlake Legal Group 2020-presidential-candidates-promo-1548014688187-articleLarge-v50 ‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network Tubbs, Michael Presidential Election of 2020 Philanthropy Mayors Endorsements Bloomberg, Michael R

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

Who’s in, who’s out and who’s still thinking.

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., a co-chairman of the Bloomberg campaign, said Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropy had earned him trust and consideration from mayors.

“It’s given him a great, great deal of credibility with people who, but for his philanthropy or altruism, he never would have interfaced with,” Mr. Benjamin said.

That credibility could be particularly important in the 2020 presidential race, which Mr. Bloomberg entered late last month. After an onslaught of self-funded television ads, he reached 5 percent support in two national polls this week.

Mayors have historically played an influential role in Democratic primary politics, lending their local political organizations to national candidates. And as a former Republican with relatively conservative views on business regulation and law enforcement, Mr. Bloomberg has been eager to demonstrate that mayors and other hands-on leaders in the party, particularly black elected officials, are willing to embrace his candidacy.

His decision last month to apologize for stop-and-frisk policing in New York was informed by feedback from these officials, people familiar with Mr. Bloomberg’s conversations said.

In Stockton, that shift helped earn Mr. Bloomberg a forceful ally in Mr. Tubbs, who this week invoked his own identity as a young black man with an incarcerated parent to vouch for Mr. Bloomberg. He said that Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to use his wealth for public purposes was a strength in the race, pointing to his extensive spending for Democrats in the 2018 elections.

The Stockton mayor said he had urged Mr. Bloomberg to support voter-registration and voting-rights groups, including Fair Fight, the national organization led by Stacey Abrams. Ms. Abrams’s aides were also appealing to Mr. Bloomberg: He has committed to donating $5 million to Fair Fight, according to an Abrams adviser.

“Lots of people have money,” Mr. Tubbs said. “But the way he uses his money speaks to how he’s someone who has a vision for this party.”

Mr. Tubbs and other mayors say they are endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because of his platform and ideas, not because of any pressure, but some acknowledged that his wealth and philanthropy were an unavoidable factor.

Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, N.Y., a city of about 31,000 that won a $100,000 Bloomberg grant for a supervised injection facility, said Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign had swiftly reached out after he entered the race to seek support. Mr. Myrick, who has not endorsed a candidate, said it had not occurred to him to weigh Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation in his thinking.

“Maybe I should be thinking about: If I endorse Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies will give us more money,” he mused.

Mr. Bloomberg is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth estimated at more than $50 billion. While other politicians often donate small sums to their allies, the breadth and depth of his giving thus far — and the possibility of it in the future — is unmatched in scale.

“When you’re that wealthy you can spread your munificence anywhere that matters,” said Rob Reich, a co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford. “You acquire at a minimum a reserve of good will and more realistically a background capacity for influence.”

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, said that the former mayor was “damn proud” of the work supporting mayors and cities. “Unlike Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg has a real foundation that does real work addressing people’s serious needs with no expectations of anything in return,” Mr. Loeser said.

Mr. Bloomberg and his allies acknowledge that they hope his connections to city leaders will be helpful in the presidential race. This month, at a meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s executive committee, Mr. Bloomberg noted that he had “worked with, and my foundation has supported, a variety of mayors across the state,” including Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and presidential candidate.

Many mayors need no reminding of Mr. Bloomberg’s presence in their areas.

As the mayor of Huntington, W.Va., Steve Williams was not sure initially what to make of Mr. Bloomberg. “I thought he was going to tell me what kind of sugary drinks I could drink and not drink, would shut down the coal mines and tell us whether or not we could own guns and go hunting,” he said, referring to some of Mr. Bloomberg’s priorities and past initiatives.

Like other mayors in the Bloomberg orbit, Mr. Williams has been involved with numerous programs sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, on everything from tackling an obesity epidemic to a love-your-block neighborhood program. The Appalachian city won a $1 million grant to create a wellness program for emergency medical workers.

Victoria Woodards, the mayor of Tacoma, Wash., attended the Harvard program and two CityLab conferences, gatherings focused on urban issues co-sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the most recent one in Washington, she sat next to Mr. Bloomberg at a dinner at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

At a city summit in San Antonio last month she had coffee with James Anderson, formerly the head of government innovation at the Bloomberg foundation. He told her that Mr. Bloomberg had jumped into the presidential race and asked her to join their team; she did weeks later, after her first choice, Senator Kamala Harris, dropped out.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville began working with Mr. Bloomberg’s team within a few months of taking office in 2011, and his city received about $4.7 million in grants during his first three years in office. Now, Mr. Fischer is helping lead Mr. Bloomberg’s outreach to other mayors struggling with their budgets.

“Most city governments — I can tell you ours is — we are super-strapped for financial resources,” Mr. Fischer said. “It’s competitive and so it’s hard to build the relationships and win these things and when we do we celebrate around here.”

Now, some of the same people who aided these mayors from Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation are the ones asking for their political support. Mr. Anderson, who several mayors described as the most vital point of contact at Bloomberg Philanthropies, is now directing the campaign’s “Mayors for Mike” coalition. He and Patricia E. Harris, the foundation’s longtime chief executive, have both moved over to the campaign, changing email addresses and phone numbers but not their relationships with mayors and other leaders.

Mr. Williams, the Huntington mayor, recalled a phone call from Mr. Anderson, “wanting to have a separate conversation from the foundation, asking, ‘Can we switch gears?’” he said.

“He has a separate telephone number from where it was before. He emails me to my personal email address. It’s always very clear. Personal number. Campaign number,” Mr. Williams said. “They understand the lines of demarcation.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a current participant in the Bloomberg Harvard program, said that Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation was “deeply entrenched in Chicago” and that she and her staff had discussed how to keep its work separate from her political considerations.

“We view them as valued partners but that’s got to be separate and apart from any presidential considerations,” said Ms. Lightfoot, who has not endorsed any candidate in the Democratic race.

But Mr. Reich, the Stanford expert, was skeptical about the effect of logistical steps like separating email addresses. “It’s a detail that seems to miss the point of the exercise, which is to erect a wall between the activities of a philanthropist and the political interests of the donor,” he said.

Mr. Anderson, in an email, said local leaders were supporting Mr. Bloomberg because of his record of work helping communities.

“We’ve been working very hard to make our case to each and every mayor — nothing expected, nothing owed,” he said.

So far, only a few of the mayors linked to Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation have actually endorsed his campaign. In most of the country’s biggest cities, mayors have remained neutral in the presidential race; the most prominent city executive to take a side, Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. (Mr. Bloomberg spent $1 million on Mr. Kenney’s re-election earlier this year.)

One graduate of the Bloomberg program at Harvard is a leading opponent in the presidential race — Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., whose city also received $1 million from a Bloomberg program in 2018.

Every week in Mr. Bloomberg’s late-starting campaign has showcased, in one way or another, his donations to cities and the mayoral alliances he has created.

One of Mr. Bloomberg’s first campaign events was in Jackson, Miss., where he appeared with Chokwe Lumumba, the city’s 36-year-old mayor. A progressive Democrat who hosted Mr. Bloomberg but did not endorse him, Mr. Lumumba also attended the Harvard program and received from Bloomberg Philanthropies a $1 million grant to his city as a winner of the Public Art Challenge.

“It’s up to the leaders negotiating those things to be disciplined and principled enough that their decision-making isn’t unduly swayed,” Mr. Lumumba said.

Earlier this month, Mr. Bloomberg flew to Augusta, Ga., to announce the endorsement of the city’s mayor, Hardie Davis Jr., who had graduated from the Harvard program and had traveled to a CityLab conference in London where he met with Mr. Bloomberg. And his city received support from a Bloomberg program, What Works Cities, that deployed experts to Augusta for six months.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Mr. Davis said.

As for the training program outside Boston, Mr. Davis quipped, “As a proud Georgia Tech graduate, it doesn’t hurt to have this Harvard Bloomberg Institute certificate to go with that.”

Before his visit to Stockton, Mr. Bloomberg announced he had also won the endorsement of Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Calif., who had previously supported Ms. Harris. San Jose won a substantial award through Mr. Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge — a package worth about $2.5 million, a city spokeswoman said. Mr. Liccardo said there had been “no string attached” to any of the money.

Ms. Woodards, the Tacoma mayor, described an enduring connection for city leaders inducted into Mr. Bloomberg’s network.

“When you start to engage with Mike,” she said, “you are with Mike forever.”

Astead W. Herndon contributed reporting and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network

STOCKTON, Calif. — Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton seemed like an improbable political duo on Wednesday as they heaped praise on each other. Mr. Tubbs, a 29-year-old liberal who is Stockton’s first black mayor, hailed Mr. Bloomberg as a leader “with the resources, with the record and with the relationships” to defeat President Trump in 2020. Mr. Bloomberg, a 77-year-old centrist billionaire, called the younger man “my kind of mayor.”

Mr. Tubbs had reason to feel kinship with Mr. Bloomberg. Last year, he graduated from a mayoral training program that Mr. Bloomberg sponsors at Harvard University. Mr. Tubbs had attended a conference co-sponsored by Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation in Paris in 2017, and was featured in its 2018 annual report. And this past June, Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation donated $500,000 to an education reform group based in Stockton, a struggling inland city in Northern California.

As Mr. Bloomberg traverses the country as a presidential candidate, he is drawing on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as an elder statesman of municipal politics. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs worth a combined $350 million. Now, leaders in some of those cities are forming the spine of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign: He has been endorsed so far by eight mayors — from larger cities like San Jose, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., and smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans.

For all of those endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All have attended his prestigious boot camp at Harvard that gives the mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from Bloomberg-funded experts. More than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support packages from Mr. Bloomberg worth a total of nearly $10 million, according to a review of tax documents and interviews with all eight mayors.

The money he has given to cities underscores the extraordinary nature of Mr. Bloomberg’s candidacy. More than any presidential candidate in recent history, Mr. Bloomberg has established himself — through philanthropic giving, political endorsements and campaign spending — as a singular ally for a large cross-section of American politicians, many of whom feel a deep sense of loyalty in return. And there is no group to whom he is more tightly bonded with than his fellow mayors.

Westlake Legal Group 2020-presidential-candidates-promo-1548014688187-articleLarge-v50 ‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network Tubbs, Michael Presidential Election of 2020 Philanthropy Mayors Endorsements Bloomberg, Michael R

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

Who’s in, who’s out and who’s still thinking.

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., a co-chairman of the Bloomberg campaign, said Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropy had earned him trust and consideration from mayors.

“It’s given him a great, great deal of credibility with people who, but for his philanthropy or altruism, he never would have interfaced with,” Mr. Benjamin said.

That credibility could be particularly important in the 2020 presidential race, which Mr. Bloomberg entered late last month. After an onslaught of self-funded television ads, he reached 5 percent support in two national polls this week.

Mayors have historically played an influential role in Democratic primary politics, lending their local political organizations to national candidates. And as a former Republican with relatively conservative views on business regulation and law enforcement, Mr. Bloomberg has been eager to demonstrate that mayors and other hands-on leaders in the party, particularly black elected officials, are willing to embrace his candidacy.

His decision last month to apologize for stop-and-frisk policing in New York was informed by feedback from these officials, people familiar with Mr. Bloomberg’s conversations said.

In Stockton, that shift helped earn Mr. Bloomberg a forceful ally in Mr. Tubbs, who this week invoked his own identity as a young black man with an incarcerated parent to vouch for Mr. Bloomberg. He said that Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to use his wealth for public purposes was a strength in the race, pointing to his extensive spending for Democrats in the 2018 elections.

The Stockton mayor said he had urged Mr. Bloomberg to support voter-registration and voting-rights groups, including Fair Fight, the national organization led by Stacey Abrams. Ms. Abrams’s aides were also appealing to Mr. Bloomberg: He has committed to donating $5 million to Fair Fight, according to an Abrams adviser.

“Lots of people have money,” Mr. Tubbs said. “But the way he uses his money speaks to how he’s someone who has a vision for this party.”

Mr. Tubbs and other mayors say they are endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because of his platform and ideas, not because of any pressure, but some acknowledged that his wealth and philanthropy were an unavoidable factor.

Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, N.Y., a city of about 31,000 that won a $100,000 Bloomberg grant for a supervised injection facility, said Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign had swiftly reached out after he entered the race to seek support. Mr. Myrick, who has not endorsed a candidate, said it had not occurred to him to weigh Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation in his thinking.

“Maybe I should be thinking about: If I endorse Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies will give us more money,” he mused.

Mr. Bloomberg is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth estimated at more than $50 billion. While other politicians often donate small sums to their allies, the breadth and depth of his giving thus far — and the possibility of it in the future — is unmatched in scale.

“When you’re that wealthy you can spread your munificence anywhere that matters,” said Rob Reich, a co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford. “You acquire at a minimum a reserve of good will and more realistically a background capacity for influence.”

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, said that the former mayor was “damn proud” of the work supporting mayors and cities. “Unlike Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg has a real foundation that does real work addressing people’s serious needs with no expectations of anything in return,” Mr. Loeser said.

Mr. Bloomberg and his allies acknowledge that they hope his connections to city leaders will be helpful in the presidential race. This month, at a meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s executive committee, Mr. Bloomberg noted that he had “worked with, and my foundation has supported, a variety of mayors across the state,” including Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and presidential candidate.

Many mayors need no reminding of Mr. Bloomberg’s presence in their areas.

As the mayor of Huntington, W.Va., Steve Williams was not sure initially what to make of Mr. Bloomberg. “I thought he was going to tell me what kind of sugary drinks I could drink and not drink, would shut down the coal mines and tell us whether or not we could own guns and go hunting,” he said, referring to some of Mr. Bloomberg’s priorities and past initiatives.

Like other mayors in the Bloomberg orbit, Mr. Williams has been involved with numerous programs sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, on everything from tackling an obesity epidemic to a love-your-block neighborhood program. The Appalachian city won a $1 million grant to create a wellness program for emergency medical workers.

Victoria Woodards, the mayor of Tacoma, Wash., attended the Harvard program and two CityLab conferences, gatherings focused on urban issues co-sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the most recent one in Washington, she sat next to Mr. Bloomberg at a dinner at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

At a city summit in San Antonio last month she had coffee with James Anderson, formerly the head of government innovation at the Bloomberg foundation. He told her that Mr. Bloomberg had jumped into the presidential race and asked her to join their team; she did weeks later, after her first choice, Senator Kamala Harris, dropped out.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville began working with Mr. Bloomberg’s team within a few months of taking office in 2011, and his city received about $4.7 million in grants during his first three years in office. Now, Mr. Fischer is helping lead Mr. Bloomberg’s outreach to other mayors struggling with their budgets.

“Most city governments — I can tell you ours is — we are super-strapped for financial resources,” Mr. Fischer said. “It’s competitive and so it’s hard to build the relationships and win these things and when we do we celebrate around here.”

Now, some of the same people who aided these mayors from Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation are the ones asking for their political support. Mr. Anderson, who several mayors described as the most vital point of contact at Bloomberg Philanthropies, is now directing the campaign’s “Mayors for Mike” coalition. He and Patricia E. Harris, the foundation’s longtime chief executive, have both moved over to the campaign, changing email addresses and phone numbers but not their relationships with mayors and other leaders.

Mr. Williams, the Huntington mayor, recalled a phone call from Mr. Anderson, “wanting to have a separate conversation from the foundation, asking, ‘Can we switch gears?’” he said.

“He has a separate telephone number from where it was before. He emails me to my personal email address. It’s always very clear. Personal number. Campaign number,” Mr. Williams said. “They understand the lines of demarcation.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a current participant in the Bloomberg Harvard program, said that Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation was “deeply entrenched in Chicago” and that she and her staff had discussed how to keep its work separate from her political considerations.

“We view them as valued partners but that’s got to be separate and apart from any presidential considerations,” said Ms. Lightfoot, who has not endorsed any candidate in the Democratic race.

But Mr. Reich, the Stanford expert, was skeptical about the effect of logistical steps like separating email addresses. “It’s a detail that seems to miss the point of the exercise, which is to erect a wall between the activities of a philanthropist and the political interests of the donor,” he said.

Mr. Anderson, in an email, said local leaders were supporting Mr. Bloomberg because of his record of work helping communities.

“We’ve been working very hard to make our case to each and every mayor — nothing expected, nothing owed,” he said.

So far, only a few of the mayors linked to Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation have actually endorsed his campaign. In most of the country’s biggest cities, mayors have remained neutral in the presidential race; the most prominent city executive to take a side, Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. (Mr. Bloomberg spent $1 million on Mr. Kenney’s re-election earlier this year.)

One graduate of the Bloomberg program at Harvard is a leading opponent in the presidential race — Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., whose city also received $1 million from a Bloomberg program in 2018.

Every week in Mr. Bloomberg’s late-starting campaign has showcased, in one way or another, his donations to cities and the mayoral alliances he has created.

One of Mr. Bloomberg’s first campaign events was in Jackson, Miss., where he appeared with Chokwe Lumumba, the city’s 36-year-old mayor. A progressive Democrat who hosted Mr. Bloomberg but did not endorse him, Mr. Lumumba also attended the Harvard program and received from Bloomberg Philanthropies a $1 million grant to his city as a winner of the Public Art Challenge.

“It’s up to the leaders negotiating those things to be disciplined and principled enough that their decision-making isn’t unduly swayed,” Mr. Lumumba said.

Earlier this month, Mr. Bloomberg flew to Augusta, Ga., to announce the endorsement of the city’s mayor, Hardie Davis Jr., who had graduated from the Harvard program and had traveled to a CityLab conference in London where he met with Mr. Bloomberg. And his city received support from a Bloomberg program, What Works Cities, that deployed experts to Augusta for six months.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Mr. Davis said.

As for the training program outside Boston, Mr. Davis quipped, “As a proud Georgia Tech graduate, it doesn’t hurt to have this Harvard Bloomberg Institute certificate to go with that.”

Before his visit to Stockton, Mr. Bloomberg announced he had also won the endorsement of Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Calif., who had previously supported Ms. Harris. San Jose won a substantial award through Mr. Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge — a package worth about $2.5 million, a city spokeswoman said. Mr. Liccardo said there had been “no string attached” to any of the money.

Ms. Woodards, the Tacoma mayor, described an enduring connection for city leaders inducted into Mr. Bloomberg’s network.

“When you start to engage with Mike,” she said, “you are with Mike forever.”

Astead W. Herndon contributed reporting and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network

STOCKTON, Calif. — Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton seemed like an improbable political duo on Wednesday as they heaped praise on each other. Mr. Tubbs, a 29-year-old liberal who is Stockton’s first black mayor, hailed Mr. Bloomberg as a leader “with the resources, with the record and with the relationships” to defeat President Trump in 2020. Mr. Bloomberg, a 77-year-old centrist billionaire, called the younger man “my kind of mayor.”

Mr. Tubbs had reason to feel kinship with Mr. Bloomberg. Last year, he graduated from a mayoral training program that Mr. Bloomberg sponsors at Harvard University. Mr. Tubbs had attended a conference co-sponsored by Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation in Paris in 2017, and was featured in its 2018 annual report. And this past June, Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation donated $500,000 to an education reform group based in Stockton, a struggling inland city in Northern California.

As Mr. Bloomberg traverses the country as a presidential candidate, he is drawing on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as an elder statesman of municipal politics. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs worth a combined $350 million. Now, leaders in some of those cities are forming the spine of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign: He has been endorsed so far by eight mayors — from larger cities like San Jose, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., and smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans.

For all of those endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All have attended his prestigious boot camp at Harvard that gives the mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from Bloomberg-funded experts. More than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support packages from Mr. Bloomberg worth a total of nearly $10 million, according to a review of tax documents and interviews with all eight mayors.

The money he has given to cities underscores the extraordinary nature of Mr. Bloomberg’s candidacy. More than any presidential candidate in recent history, Mr. Bloomberg has established himself — through philanthropic giving, political endorsements and campaign spending — as a singular ally for a large cross-section of American politicians, many of whom feel a deep sense of loyalty in return. And there is no group to whom he is more tightly bonded with than his fellow mayors.

Westlake Legal Group 2020-presidential-candidates-promo-1548014688187-articleLarge-v50 ‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network Tubbs, Michael Presidential Election of 2020 Philanthropy Mayors Endorsements Bloomberg, Michael R

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

Who’s in, who’s out and who’s still thinking.

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., a co-chairman of the Bloomberg campaign, said Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropy had earned him trust and consideration from mayors.

“It’s given him a great, great deal of credibility with people who, but for his philanthropy or altruism, he never would have interfaced with,” Mr. Benjamin said.

That credibility could be particularly important in the 2020 presidential race, which Mr. Bloomberg entered late last month. After an onslaught of self-funded television ads, he reached 5 percent support in two national polls this week.

Mayors have historically played an influential role in Democratic primary politics, lending their local political organizations to national candidates. And as a former Republican with relatively conservative views on business regulation and law enforcement, Mr. Bloomberg has been eager to demonstrate that mayors and other hands-on leaders in the party, particularly black elected officials, are willing to embrace his candidacy.

His decision last month to apologize for stop-and-frisk policing in New York was informed by feedback from these officials, people familiar with Mr. Bloomberg’s conversations said.

In Stockton, that shift helped earn Mr. Bloomberg a forceful ally in Mr. Tubbs, who this week invoked his own identity as a young black man with an incarcerated parent to vouch for Mr. Bloomberg. He said that Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to use his wealth for public purposes was a strength in the race, pointing to his extensive spending for Democrats in the 2018 elections.

The Stockton mayor said he had urged Mr. Bloomberg to support voter-registration and voting-rights groups, including Fair Fight, the national organization led by Stacey Abrams. Ms. Abrams’s aides were also appealing to Mr. Bloomberg: He has committed to donating $5 million to Fair Fight, according to an Abrams adviser.

“Lots of people have money,” Mr. Tubbs said. “But the way he uses his money speaks to how he’s someone who has a vision for this party.”

Mr. Tubbs and other mayors say they are endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because of his platform and ideas, not because of any pressure, but some acknowledged that his wealth and philanthropy were an unavoidable factor.

Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, N.Y., a city of about 31,000 that won a $100,000 Bloomberg grant for a supervised injection facility, said Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign had swiftly reached out after he entered the race to seek support. Mr. Myrick, who has not endorsed a candidate, said it had not occurred to him to weigh Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation in his thinking.

“Maybe I should be thinking about: If I endorse Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies will give us more money,” he mused.

Mr. Bloomberg is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth estimated at more than $50 billion. While other politicians often donate small sums to their allies, the breadth and depth of his giving thus far — and the possibility of it in the future — is unmatched in scale.

“When you’re that wealthy you can spread your munificence anywhere that matters,” said Rob Reich, a co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford. “You acquire at a minimum a reserve of good will and more realistically a background capacity for influence.”

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, said that the former mayor was “damn proud” of the work supporting mayors and cities. “Unlike Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg has a real foundation that does real work addressing people’s serious needs with no expectations of anything in return,” Mr. Loeser said.

Mr. Bloomberg and his allies acknowledge that they hope his connections to city leaders will be helpful in the presidential race. This month, at a meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s executive committee, Mr. Bloomberg noted that he had “worked with, and my foundation has supported, a variety of mayors across the state,” including Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and presidential candidate.

Many mayors need no reminding of Mr. Bloomberg’s presence in their areas.

As the mayor of Huntington, W.Va., Steve Williams was not sure initially what to make of Mr. Bloomberg. “I thought he was going to tell me what kind of sugary drinks I could drink and not drink, would shut down the coal mines and tell us whether or not we could own guns and go hunting,” he said, referring to some of Mr. Bloomberg’s priorities and past initiatives.

Like other mayors in the Bloomberg orbit, Mr. Williams has been involved with numerous programs sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, on everything from tackling an obesity epidemic to a love-your-block neighborhood program. The Appalachian city won a $1 million grant to create a wellness program for emergency medical workers.

Victoria Woodards, the mayor of Tacoma, Wash., attended the Harvard program and two CityLab conferences, gatherings focused on urban issues co-sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the most recent one in Washington, she sat next to Mr. Bloomberg at a dinner at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

At a city summit in San Antonio last month she had coffee with James Anderson, formerly the head of government innovation at the Bloomberg foundation. He told her that Mr. Bloomberg had jumped into the presidential race and asked her to join their team; she did weeks later, after her first choice, Senator Kamala Harris, dropped out.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville began working with Mr. Bloomberg’s team within a few months of taking office in 2011, and his city received about $4.7 million in grants during his first three years in office. Now, Mr. Fischer is helping lead Mr. Bloomberg’s outreach to other mayors struggling with their budgets.

“Most city governments — I can tell you ours is — we are super-strapped for financial resources,” Mr. Fischer said. “It’s competitive and so it’s hard to build the relationships and win these things and when we do we celebrate around here.”

Now, some of the same people who aided these mayors from Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation are the ones asking for their political support. Mr. Anderson, who several mayors described as the most vital point of contact at Bloomberg Philanthropies, is now directing the campaign’s “Mayors for Mike” coalition. He and Patricia E. Harris, the foundation’s longtime chief executive, have both moved over to the campaign, changing email addresses and phone numbers but not their relationships with mayors and other leaders.

Mr. Williams, the Huntington mayor, recalled a phone call from Mr. Anderson, “wanting to have a separate conversation from the foundation, asking, ‘Can we switch gears?’” he said.

“He has a separate telephone number from where it was before. He emails me to my personal email address. It’s always very clear. Personal number. Campaign number,” Mr. Williams said. “They understand the lines of demarcation.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a current participant in the Bloomberg Harvard program, said that Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation was “deeply entrenched in Chicago” and that she and her staff had discussed how to keep its work separate from her political considerations.

“We view them as valued partners but that’s got to be separate and apart from any presidential considerations,” said Ms. Lightfoot, who has not endorsed any candidate in the Democratic race.

But Mr. Reich, the Stanford expert, was skeptical about the effect of logistical steps like separating email addresses. “It’s a detail that seems to miss the point of the exercise, which is to erect a wall between the activities of a philanthropist and the political interests of the donor,” he said.

Mr. Anderson, in an email, said local leaders were supporting Mr. Bloomberg because of his record of work helping communities.

“We’ve been working very hard to make our case to each and every mayor — nothing expected, nothing owed,” he said.

So far, only a few of the mayors linked to Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation have actually endorsed his campaign. In most of the country’s biggest cities, mayors have remained neutral in the presidential race; the most prominent city executive to take a side, Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. (Mr. Bloomberg spent $1 million on Mr. Kenney’s re-election earlier this year.)

One graduate of the Bloomberg program at Harvard is a leading opponent in the presidential race — Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., whose city also received $1 million from a Bloomberg program in 2018.

Every week in Mr. Bloomberg’s late-starting campaign has showcased, in one way or another, his donations to cities and the mayoral alliances he has created.

One of Mr. Bloomberg’s first campaign events was in Jackson, Miss., where he appeared with Chokwe Lumumba, the city’s 36-year-old mayor. A progressive Democrat who hosted Mr. Bloomberg but did not endorse him, Mr. Lumumba also attended the Harvard program and received from Bloomberg Philanthropies a $1 million grant to his city as a winner of the Public Art Challenge.

“It’s up to the leaders negotiating those things to be disciplined and principled enough that their decision-making isn’t unduly swayed,” Mr. Lumumba said.

Earlier this month, Mr. Bloomberg flew to Augusta, Ga., to announce the endorsement of the city’s mayor, Hardie Davis Jr., who had graduated from the Harvard program and had traveled to a CityLab conference in London where he met with Mr. Bloomberg. And his city received support from a Bloomberg program, What Works Cities, that deployed experts to Augusta for six months.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Mr. Davis said.

As for the training program outside Boston, Mr. Davis quipped, “As a proud Georgia Tech graduate, it doesn’t hurt to have this Harvard Bloomberg Institute certificate to go with that.”

Before his visit to Stockton, Mr. Bloomberg announced he had also won the endorsement of Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Calif., who had previously supported Ms. Harris. San Jose won a substantial award through Mr. Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge — a package worth about $2.5 million, a city spokeswoman said. Mr. Liccardo said there had been “no string attached” to any of the money.

Ms. Woodards, the Tacoma mayor, described an enduring connection for city leaders inducted into Mr. Bloomberg’s network.

“When you start to engage with Mike,” she said, “you are with Mike forever.”

Astead W. Herndon contributed reporting and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Charity: An Image Boost Built on Deception

Westlake Legal Group oakImage-1574723106260-facebookJumbo Jeffrey Epstein’s Charity: An Image Boost Built on Deception Sex Crimes Philanthropy High Net Worth Individuals Federal Taxes (US) Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Araoz, Jennifer (1987- )

Jeffrey Epstein’s foundation looked for all the world like a charitable powerhouse: On its websites and in its press releases, the foundation was described as a patron of hospitals, universities and film festivals, run by a global philanthropist.

The organization — known by various names, but usually called the J. Epstein Virgin Islands Foundation — wasn’t officially a charity for much of its existence, having lost its tax-exempt status in 2008.

But it worked to his advantage, helping improve the reputation of Mr. Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

A review of tax documents, government records and information provided by federal officials shows that the foundation lost its tax-exempt status for an unknown reason in the same year Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.

In the years between that case and his suicide in August as he faced federal sex-trafficking charges, Mr. Epstein was unshackled from the rigorous financial disclosures that charities are supposed to file every year with the government — allowing him to exaggerate his philanthropy as he sought to rebuild his reputation.

The foundation’s portrayals of its giving ranged from simple embellishment to staggering overstatement.

One of Mr. Epstein’s websites said the foundation had “helped to underwrite” the Tribeca Film Festival, when in fact it had donated $28,000 to a related organization that offers grants to filmmakers and educational programming to students in New York City. The foundation sent out news releases touting donations to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to restore Mark Rothko murals and teach coding to 5-year-olds, claims that officials at the school later called inaccurate. It also issued a statement in 2013 saying researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital had made a major advance in breast cancer research with the backing of Mr. Epstein, although the health system’s own release makes no mention of him.

But the most glaring exaggeration appeared on Wikipedia. A user name apparently connected to Mr. Epstein edited the page for the foundation and put its annual outlay at $200 million a year — just under the amount the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg contributed to charity in 2018.

In reality, the foundation was worth a small fraction of that amount, according to documents obtained by The New York Times through a public records lawsuit in the Virgin Islands.

Eighteen years of financial statements show that just under $20 million flowed into the foundation since it was founded in 2000. Roughly $16.6 million was spent on donations and grants; most of the rest paid unspecified “general and administrative” expenses and $1.5 million in interest for what appears to be an undisclosed debt.

The documents, which were filed with the Virgin Islands Division of Corporations and Trademarks, do not offer details about where the money came from or ended up. That information would be contained in the public document, Form 990, that charities are required to file each year with the Internal Revenue Service. But there is just one publicly available Form 990 from the foundation — a single-page filing in 2002 — and it does not include any information on grants or donations.

Mr. Epstein’s websites portrayed the foundation as an organization with high standards and high aspirations for changing the world. A page from one site described a multistage grant process that asked applicants to describe how their project was innovative, the “pressing need” it would address and an explanation of how they would evaluate their results.

The page, from 2010, also said it was “vital to understand” that the foundation and another run by Mr. Epstein were not “piggy banks.”

But that is the term that Martin Sheil, a retired supervisory special agent with the criminal investigations division of the I.R.S., used to describe the foundation. Its lack of disclosures, he said, “could be an overt act of concealment.”

It is not clear if such misrepresentations amounted to a crime. False statements meant to fraudulently solicit donations are illegal and generally prosecuted by state attorneys general.

The New York State attorney general’s office began inquiring in 2015 whether the foundation, which said on one of its sites that it had offices in Manhattan and the Virgin Islands, needed to register as a charity in New York. Mr. Epstein’s longtime lawyer, Darren Indyke, replied that the site was inaccurate and that the foundation was operated out of an office in St. Thomas.

Mr. Indyke, who is one of two executors of Mr. Epstein’s $577 million estate, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Before regulators closed their inquiry, Mr. Indyke provided them with a copy of a letter the foundation received from the I.R.S. in 2000 verifying its status as a charitable tax-exempt organization. But he never disclosed that the agency had dropped the foundation from its official roll of tax-exempt organizations.

The foundation was set up as part of Mr. Epstein’s participation in a lucrative program in the Virgin Islands that offered big tax breaks to his businesses — Financial Trust and Southern Trust — in return for a philanthropic commitment to charities in the territory. One of Mr. Epstein’s sales pitches to his wealthy clients was offering tax advantage strategies that sometimes included charitable giving.

Reports from the agency that approved the tax incentive show the foundation made more than $1.8 million in donations to charities, educational scholarships and symposiums there. In an emailed statement, the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority said the foundation was established “primarily for the purpose of making charitable contributions to the Virgin Islands community.”

But public records show it also carried out some unusual transactions.

In 2017, the foundation, also known as Enhanced Education, cut a check for $160,000 to pay fines Mr. Epstein incurred for permit violations at his private islands. Its funds also backed the causes of political officials in the Virgin Islands, including up to $30,000 to support a computer giveaway by an elected official. The foundation also contributed tens of thousands of dollars to other groups, including the territory’s chamber of commerce.

Federal investigators have taken an interest in the foundation. In August, the F.B.I. contacted the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources about the payment to resolve the permit violations. Agents asked whether the department had a policy prohibiting a charitable foundation from paying the penalty, said Jamal Nielsen, a spokesman for the department. He said the contribution did not violate any department rules.

The F.B.I. in New York declined to comment, citing an “ongoing investigation.”

It’s not clear how the foundation lost its tax-exempt status. It could have given it up, or it may have been taken away after an I.R.S. investigation. Eric L. Smith, a spokesman for the I.R.S., said the agency could not comment, citing federal privacy laws.

The I.R.S. can also revoke tax-exempt status if a foundation fails to file a Form 990 for three consecutive years, although that rule took effect in 2010. Steven T. Miller, a former acting I.R.S. commissioner and now the national director of tax at Alliantgroup, said Form 990s “are vital both for regulators and the general public to understand the finances of a given entity.”

The scant filings by Mr. Epstein’s foundation, he said, showed a “lack of transparency.”

And over the years, Mr. Epstein operated at least three other charities, including one based in the Virgin Islands. (Mr. Indyke, his lawyer, long served as an officer for Mr. Epstein’s charities and other businesses.)

Two of Mr. Epstein’s foundations relied on wealthy business titans to provide millions in seed capital. His C.O.U.Q. foundation received about $21 million in stock and cash from charities of Leslie H. Wexner, the billionaire retail magnate whose company owns Victoria’s Secret. Mr. Epstein’s Gratitude America foundation received a $10 million donation in 2015 from a company tied to the private equity billionaire Leon D. Black.

Mr. Epstein’s other foundations complied with federal disclosure rules, making his namesake foundation the outlier.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Mr. Sheil, the retired I.R.S. special agent.

After his 2008 conviction, Mr. Epstein took great pains to burnish his reputation — and the foundation played a key role.

In 2013, a Wikipedia user named Turvill made a number of changes to the page for the foundation. The changes included saying the foundation had given more than $200 million to a long list of notable scientists since its inception, then raised its claim further by describing that sum as its approximate annual outlay.

The user name’s connection to Mr. Epstein is evident from information he disclosed in New Mexico as a result of his 2008 conviction. He provided a list of online user names, including those used by third-party reputation management services he hired. On that list was a Wikipedia handle, Turville, that does not appear anywhere on the website. But the similar name Turvill does — and that user had a particular focus on editing articles about Mr. Epstein.

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Chick-fil-A Stops Giving to 2 Groups Criticized by L.G.B.T.Q. Advocates

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Chick-fil-A said on Monday that it had stopped making charitable donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, groups that have been widely criticized by advocates for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender rights.

The fast-food chain, a longtime target of L.G.B.T.Q. rights groups because of its stance on gay marriage, has met resistance in recent months as it has looked to expand in the United States and other countries.

Chick-fil-A had to cancel the opening of a restaurant at the Buffalo airport in March after local politicians objected to it, and it cut short its plans for a British expansion last month when activists organized a boycott of its first outlet there. In September, the grand opening of Chick-fil-A’s first international location, in Toronto, was met with protesters who chanted, “Shame!”

Equal rights advocates described Chick-fil-A’s decision to stop funding the charities as a positive step but called on the chain to do more.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a nonprofit that encourages stronger Christian faith in athletes, requires student leaders to sign a statement banning “any homosexual act.” The Salvation Army, a Christian charity, has been accused of discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. (The Salvation Army maintains that it serves people of all genders and sexual orientations.)

On Monday, Chick-fil-A released a list of organizations to which its foundation has donated this year. The list did not include either organization, even though the groups had received millions of dollars from the foundation over the years.

Chick-fil-A had made “multiyear commitments” to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that ended in 2018, a company spokeswoman said. Now, she said, the company plans to give to “a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education.”

In an interview with the news website Bisnow, the president of Chick-fil-A, Tim Tassopoulos, appeared to frame the decision as a response to the company’s critics.

“As we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” he said. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

But Chick-fil-A left open the possibility that it might resume donating to those organizations in the future. “No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith based or non-faith based,” Mr. Tassopoulos said in a separate statement.

Chick-fil-A has faced widespread criticism from gay rights advocates since 2012, when Dan T. Cathy, the company’s chairman and chief executive, was quoted saying Chick-fil-A believed in the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Mr. Cathy commented after news reports revealed that the company’s foundation had donated millions of dollars to efforts to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

Chick-fil-A ended nearly all its donations to groups opposed to equal rights for people of different sexual orientations in 2012. But since then, it has given money to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Last year, Chick-fil-A gave $1.65 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and $115,000 to the Salvation Army, according to tax filings.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army said the organization was “saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding.”

“We believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the L.G.B.T.Q.+ population,” said Alex Yap, the Salvation Army spokeswoman. “When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk.”

Advocacy groups said Chick-fil-A should do more to support L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

“While this is an important step for Chick-fil-A, the company still does not have workplace protections and policies that are fully inclusive of L.G.B.T.Q. people,” said Beck Bailey, the director of workplace equality at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, an arm of the largest L.G.B.T.Q. rights group in the United States.

Just days after Chick-fil-A’s first British restaurant opened in October, the chain said it would close the site in six months amid protests led by a group called Reading Pride.

Martin Cooper, the chief executive of Reading Pride, said Chick-fil-A’s decision to stop donating to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes had not changed the group’s position.

“It is only a step,” he said. “It’s not an action that allows us to fully forgive.”

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DC’s Dancing Stars Gala celebrates six years in November

Westlake Legal Group 2019-awards-ceremony-of-dcs-dancing-with-stars DC’s Dancing Stars Gala celebrates six years in November washington D.C. Things to Do Features Things to Do Philanthropy performing arts galas gala fundraiser Events DC events Dancing with the stars Dancing dance
The awards ceremony at the 2018 DC’s Dancing with Stars event. (Photo courtesy of Maria Coackley David)

When you put professional dancers and elite celebrities like athletes, singers and journalists together on a stage, it’s bound to be entertaining. Throw in a grand prize of $10,000 for a nearby charity and it gets even better. 

The participation of notable locals is what makes DC’s Dancing Stars Gala—the annual fundraiser in Tysons Corner inspired by hit TV show Dancing with the Stars—so successful, according to founder Maria Coackley David. 

“It’s so similar to the show and it’s an experience that all our participants say is one of the best things they’ve done in their lifetime,” says Coakley David. “Yet, the best part is that people get to see their community members on stage working so hard for a charity close to their heart, which really resonates.”

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Westlake Legal Group dancers-spinning DC’s Dancing Stars Gala celebrates six years in November washington D.C. Things to Do Features Things to Do Philanthropy performing arts galas gala fundraiser Events DC events Dancing with the stars Dancing dance
Darren Haynes of WUSA9 spins a dancer at last year’s event. (Photo courtesy of Maria Coackley David)

While the inaugural event began just six years ago, Coackley David and her husband Jim were introduced to dance over a decade ago when the pair took ballroom dance lessons for Valentine’s Day. Not long after, the duo decided to start Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which has since grown into an international franchise.

Today, both Jim and Maria are leaders in their respective industries, as well as passionate dance enthusiasts who have worked together to generate over $1 million for local charities from this annual event. 

This year, seven well-known individuals, including United States Olympian Julie Culley, Great Day Washington host Kristen Berset-Harris and Mike Manatos, who serves as chairman of the board of the Mid-Atlantic branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will perform alongside dance professionals in front of hundreds of people.

Leading up to the competition, each participant is encouraged to raise money for their designated charity, which all benefit a variety of causes, such as economically vulnerable mothers, those impacted with breast cancer, leukemia and other critical illnesses, and more.  

Westlake Legal Group judges-with-the-number-10 DC’s Dancing Stars Gala celebrates six years in November washington D.C. Things to Do Features Things to Do Philanthropy performing arts galas gala fundraiser Events DC events Dancing with the stars Dancing dance
Last year’s judges were Monte Durham from Say Yes to the Dress (left), Chelsie Hightower (center) and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (right). (Photo courtesy of Maria Coackley David)

On the evening of the affair, each participant will dance it out with their professional partner, whom they’ve been practicing with over the course of the past few months, for a chance to win the grand prize of $10,000 for their respective charity. Whether they go for ballroom, salsa or a ballet performance, the choice is theirs. 

In addition to the on-stage entertainment, guests will enjoy a sit-down dinner, a silent auction, a live DJ and specialty cocktails throughout the event. Plus, this year’s emcees include Emmy-award winning television personality Will Thomas and founder of media consulting company Laura Evans Media, Laura Evans Manatos. As for who decides the winner? Emmy-nominated ballroom dancer Chelsie Hightower, who has been featured as a regular dance partner, trainer and choreographer on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, will make the final decision.

“Most of these people have zero dance background, which just makes it so much fun,” says Coackley David of this year’s featured participants. “With so many charity events in this town, I think this is really different and stands out.”

For tickets to the DC’s Dancing the Stars Gala or for more information on sponsors, competitors and benefiting charities, click here. // Four Seasons Hotel: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC; $35-$375

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Salvation Army to host 70th anniversary fashion show in Tysons this month

Westlake Legal Group supernova-salvation-army-fashion-show-feature The Salvation Army to host 70th anniversary fashion show in Tysons this month tysons galleria tysons corner Things to Do Features Things to Do The Salvation Army The Ritz Carlton style Philanthropy Fashion Shows Fashion Show fashion Events
A model struts her stuff at The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary annual fashion show at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons last year. (Photo by Rodney Choice of Choice Photography)

Fashion can be fleeting. But on Oct. 25, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary of Washington, DC will host the 70th Anniversary Platinum Celebration Fashion Show Luncheon and Auction at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner.

This post originally appeared in our October 2019 issue. For more style content, events and more, subscribe to our newsletters.

The enduring event raises funds for local charities, like Turning Point Center in DC, which offers transitional housing and life skills courses for young homeless mothers and their children; Camp Happyland in Central Virginia, which hosts 400 children from low-income families each summer; and the Salvation Army’s new Anti-Human Trafficking Program, which provides 24-hour emergency response and housing for women and men.

The fashion show has illustrious roots, with boldface DC names like Marjorie Merriweather Post, Alice Sheets Marriott and Gwendolyn Cafritz all involved with the Women’s Auxiliary throughout its history—along with Bess Truman, who was the first of a long line of first ladies up through Laura Bush to attend or support the fashion show.

This year, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell will emcee the event, which will include a live and silent auction. Look for fashion to be front and center with bags from Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and Tory Burch all up for grabs via a ticketed raffle. Private rounds of golf with several former Redskins players and a weekend for two in NYC will also be on the auction block. And, of course, there will be shopping.

Bloomingdale’s, the fundraiser’s longtime fashion partner, provides all the clothes for the runway models—and the following morning will host a reception for the fashion show’s guests.

“I like the energy. It’s a lot of work,” says Robyne Barth, the fundraiser’s chairwoman. “But it’s exciting to know that you’ve done something that’s going to mean so much to people and help them in their lives. It feels good and you wish you could do even more.”

Now that’s a catwalk we can get behind. // The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner: 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; individual tickets $150, table $1,500

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