PACA charity back in state's good graces


After having its state charitable registration "preliminarily revoked," Annapolis-based People Against Child Abuse Inc. is again in good standing with the state.

The organization's registration was reinstated Oct. 14.

But PACA Executive Director Gloria Goldfaden said yesterday she is still upset by the state's decision to include her organization on a list of charities that had not filed financial information, as required by state law.

"It was an extremely inappropriate way to get this resolved," she said yesterday. "It's a pretty poor-faith effort when the staff assures you they are working with you, then they turn around and do something as mean-spirited as this."

News that PACA was in danger of losing its state registration broke two weeks ago, after Secretary of State Winfield M. Kelly's office distributed lists of eight charities raising money in Maryland that had not filed financial disclosure forms.

While Mr. Kelly can't close down violators, a decision to revoke registration indicates that a charity has failed to comply with state financial disclosure laws.

Lacking registration, a charity would be concerned about questions being raised in the minds of donors.

Mr. Kelly said at the time that he was making good on a promise to begin cracking down on questionable charities and those that have not fully complied with state reporting laws.

But Ms. Goldfaden said she had contacted his office a month earlier, saying PACA's forms would be late. She was granted an extension and an administrative hearing. She thought PACA was in good shape.

Apparently Mr. Kelly did not.

"PACA has been habitually late for years" in filing its financial information, he said. "These groups were not singled out unfairly."

PACA, the only Maryland-based organization on the list, scrambled to get financial documents together, turning them in less than one week later, Ms. Goldfaden said.

The next day, the office reinstated PACA's registration, said Alicia Moran, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kelly.

Ms. Goldfaden said she hopes the financial flap will not hurt PACA's reputation or ability to raise money. But a fund-raiser held Saturday, which did not go as well as expected, has her wondering what the impact might be.

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