- Last Updated: 12:52 PM, July 1, 2012
- Posted: 1:47 AM, July 1, 2012
These athletes are fumbling the ball when it comes to their charities.
Jet All-Pro offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson says he passes his foundation’s cash to needy students for college, but his mother gets more than he gives out in scholarships.
Gang Green linebacker Aaron Maybin claims on his Web site that he has a nonprofit to help poor kids and that donations are tax-deductible. But his charity is registered as a for-profit company.
Yankee hurler CC Sabathia is raking in $23 million this year, yet the charity he created to help inner-city kids had to take out a $32,000 loan to buy a truck.
The Web site for Giant defensive end Osi Umenyiora promotes his “Strike 4 A Cure” foundation, describing it as a nonprofit devoted to finding cures for AIDS and Alzheimer’s. Yet the charity has been defunct for years.
These missteps surfaced in a Post review of more than two dozen charities started by local professional athletes.
The organizations were set up to provide scholarships, run sports camps, promote medical research, aid religious groups or push other causes.
But they also provide a vehicle for athletes to expand their brands, generate favorable publicity and get tax breaks — if they actually make a donation.
Ferguson donated $1 million to start the D'Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation in 2007. A year earlier, he had signed a $35 million contract with the Jets. In 2010, he inked a contract for $73.6 million.
Ferguson’s mother, Rhunette, was paid $85,000, plus $6,400 in benefits, to run the charity in 2011.
The group, meanwhile, doled out just $32,501 in scholarships to Long Island high-school students and $3,000 to church food pantries, according to tax filings.
“That’s not a reason to start a foundation,” said one charity expert. “Your mother should be donating her services to her wealthy son to help him do philanthropy.”
Ferguson’s father, Edwin, who is on the charity’s board, said they paid her because they needed someone in charge “who knew what they were doing.”
The foundation’s accountant said the group in 2011 also gave $25,247 to churches and donated bicycles to kids.
Maybin started Project Mayhem in 2010, and it has held an annual “Celebration of the Arts” week in Baltimore. Maybin, whose 2012 salary and bonuses total $1 million, touts the foundation on his Web site, where donations can be made electronically. The site promises that donations are tax deductible, but the money is directed to Aaron Maybin LLC, a for-profit company.
Rob Wilson, a spokesman for Maybin, said the group had raised $96,000. He insisted the money did not go to the for-profit company but was under the management of another nonprofit.
As for Maybin’s Web site, Wilson said he “would look into it.”
Sabathia started his PitCCh In Foundation to focus on helping people in the New York City area and in his hometown of Vallejo, Calif., where it renovated his high-school baseball field.
The group started in 2010 with just $242,000 in contributions. Sabathia’s wife, Amber, who runs the foundation as a volunteer, said she did not know how much her husband contributed and referred questions to the group’s accountant.
The accountant said the Sabathias kicked in $180,000 in 2010.