Last September 5 I wrote an article about Amy Sterling Casil. Casil — probably for the purpose of self-promotion — was quoted in several media outlets. This was just after some nitwit decided that SPLC was on the margins of propriety for maintaining an offshore account. The same paragraph appears in more than three-dozen right wing (hard right) outlets:
“I’ve never known a U.S.-based nonprofit dealing in human rights or
social services to have any foreign bank accounts,” said Amy Sterling
Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California based nonprofit
What I pointed out at the time is that many charities with endowments have foreign accounts. Moreover there is no evidence that SPLC had foreign bank accounts (it is an investment account). I maintain a local database of the IRS extract and, as of 2016, 4,320 charities (not including foundations and houses of worship) reported to the IRS that they have foreign accounts. There is nothing unusual at all about foreign assets. The larger an organization’s endowment, the more likely it is to have offshore accounts.
In September I traded some email with Casil. She tends to resort to childish name-calling. My September 5 response to a diatribe accusing me of not being able to read was as follows:
Neither “Human Rights” nor “Social Services” are identified by NTEE taxonomy. United Way is T700 where “T” is “Public, Societal Benefit.” I maintain a local database of the BMF and can find these all day long. National Philanthropic Trust, for example, is also a “T” and it has unrelated business income and foreign investment accounts per part V of the 990. Furthermore, in addition to those marked as international they have nearly $200 million invested in hedge funds. Most, of those are based in the Cayman Islands. Check out Knights of Columbus too.
Forget the minutiae. The greater issue is that there is absolutely nothing nefarious about a limited partnership interest in the Cayman Islands. USC has the same Part V answers: Unrelated Business Income + Interest in a foreign account. They list 2 billion in hedge funds and private equity.
Although I am retired and require more vision correction, I still read quite well – than you very much.
I presumed that I made my point. Casil never responded — that is until nearly three months later, Nov. 30, retaining the subject line:
You’d better look at your “blog.”
This isn’t “me vs you” and I expect a retraction and apology from your libelous statements.
I did NOT make an incorrect statement about that organization I made a correct one and your finding a large university or hospital or worldwide church (the Catholic Church – really?) is not only not applicable, whatever personal issue you have is going to cost you unless you immediately issue a retraction and apology for the professional libel you made against me.
You are completely incorrect in all your statements about my employment and experience and I expect a correction and apology to be posted on your blog within one day or I will pursue legal action.
In spite of the threat to sue I was exceedingly polite. I told her that I would be happy to correct any factual errors. I needed to know specifically what was wrong and why. I nicely explained my obligations in accordance with New York Times v. Sullivan and told her to stop threatening me. I concluded:
I do not want any inaccuracy on the blog. I am happy to work with you to correct anything that is wrong. I do not – and will not – respond well to threats and demands.
The next email I received included her resume and:
Here’s my resume for you to use. As I stated on your totally libelous blog, I have hired and fired many people and I have never misstated nor exaggerated one word of my resume or CV. Here’s the most recent version.
I do not know what her resume has to do with anything. However it states that her employment with Pacific Human Capital ended in March, 2016 which is at odds with the statement to the media.
The next email I received from Casil was on December 1:
Send me the name and address of your attorney. Mine will be contacting him or her.
Sent from my iPad
I should not have responded. Yet I did:
This is the very last email that you will receive from me unless you wish to challenge a specific statement that I have made along with a coherent argument supporting the challenge. I want to be accurate but I will not withdraw something simply because you do not like it. Even your CV is at odds with prior statements. You are not exactly helping your cause.
If you wish to sue me – have at it. My address is on the website.
I received yet another obnoxious email from Ms. Casil today:
Hart, I know that you’re not mentally sound, but I do not have time to do a complete asset search and follow the legal process.
I have not read any other articles on your website except the one I found the other day while searching for information to provide a client. I responded because I work 10-12 hours a day to support my sick husband and help my daughter and other family members.
That said – you really are factually wrong about the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is very poor practice to invest significant amounts of charitable reserve funds (much less something they believe to be an endowment) outside of the country in a hedge fund.
Your belief that you would pursue such a concept with completely bizarre efforts to categorize and compare large international churches or fraternal organizations to a regional nonprofit with the mission of aiding poor, oppressed people, initially African-Americans who could not vote and were even beaten and killed for attempting to vote – is at cross-purposes if you wish to SUPPORT, not harm, the organization.
I did glean from some of the comments and titles of your articles that you believe you are defending the civil rights organization against a conservative attack. I know you have trouble understanding the difference between religious organizations, large private universities, and small regional or civil rights-based organizations. You also apparently believe that because I gave an interview and a professional opinion to a reporter for a conservative newspaper, that I, too, agree with this white supremacist view and approach.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I was reluctant to talk to Joe and gave him a strict factual opinion because I had been assisted by the Southern Poverty Law Center 10 years ago when a white supremacist left a negative review – which is still there despite the publisher requesting its removal. The pseudonym of the review was Randolph Calverhall, the author of the Serpent’s Path, a white supremacist book.
I have spoken with Mark Potok who assisted me at the SPLC all that long time ago. You are PUNCHING LEFT. We have been doing nothing but fighting Nazis for the past 18 months and will continue to do so. You could see this by my dozens of progressive, socialist, pro-human rights articles as a Medium Partner writer and my social media timelines, but instead you did what you did –
BECAUSE YOU ARE ???.
So if you want to help the SPLC you will simply delete the article you wrote. And you will reflect on why it would be a problem for poor African-Americans and others who can only rely upon the center’s help if a large amount of funds are invested overseas in hedge funds which are by definition, a 100% risk and unable to be recovered or insured in case of total losses. They also can be invested in human rights violating countries or, as in the case of the CLINTON FOUNDATION WHICH IS WHY JOE CALLED ME – invested in funds that benefit wealthy foreign nationals such as Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim and remove the scarce assets of impoverished people in countries like Colombia and Peru. That is why I told Joe what I did. I wasn’t asked about the Catholic Church. I was asked about morals and ethical best practices in the nonprofit organization meant for community benefit, especially those who are impoverished and have no other resources or recourse.
I don’t develop affordable housing any more because it is impossible. No funds are available. It has all been stolen or diverted by corrupt, rich people and banks. All the people I worked with at the banks have been fired. I switched from US to Canada business development because Canada was providing funding for start ups and small business expansions. That ceased in 2015. Now we see Congress has passed a law that will likely stop any remaining positive activity for business growth, jobs, or human rights advancement.
Whether or not investing in hedge funds is sound practice is irrelevant. The issue of fact has nothing to do with investment decisions. Her quote never mentioned hedge funds. What I believe is explicitly stated in the piece that I wrote. Ms. Casil was wrong. I would write the same thing again today. My position is supported by the data and I am a firm believer in judging things based upon evidence.
I haven’t a clue who Joe is. Nor do I know what “BECAUSE YOU ARE ???” refers to. Indeed none of this has anything to do with the controversy of her own making. She implied that SPLC was doing something inappropriate by having offshore accounts. Then thousands of charities including the largest university endowment on the planet (Harvard) should be sanctioned.
The bottom line is this: In my opinion this woman’s only interest was getting her name in quotes. She is financially unsophisticated and was spouting nonsense. Now she is unable to cope with being wrong which creates a tirade of legal threats and insults. Needless to say, I am not deleting anything. I would have been happy to include a paragraph explaining her explanation if she provided me with one that is coherent. She has not.