Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Audit a minus for Gospel Outreach

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A Winnipeg organization that distributes Bibles had its charity status revoked after an audit found its treasurer and his family were improperly receiving benefits from it.

The Canada Revenue Agency said many of the funds raised by Gospel Outreach were used for the personal benefit of treasurer Harold Reeve, his family, friends and business associates.

The CRA formally revoked Gospel Outreach's charitable status earlier this month.

The audit of Gospel Outreach's 2009 operations found:

-- two trips to Punta Cana, Mexico, totalling $3,471;

-- a ski trip to Big Sky/Moonlight Basin, in Montana, totalling $4,403;

-- payment of property taxes for a lakefront cabin at Traverse Bay, purchase of a hot tub and other cabin-related expenses, totalling $6,997;

-- purchase of boat fuel, $1,215;

-- purchase of fuel for three vehicles owned by Gospel Outreach, but used by Reeve's spouse and children, $4,760.

In response to the CRA audit's findings, Reeve wrote to the CRA in May 2012 and explained the expenses on behalf of himself and his family: "What I have done and do is for the charitable benefit of others... I used (Gospel Outreach) to pay for the expenses as I deemed them to be part of the service of (Gospel Outreach)."

Gospel Outreach has an office in St. James at 303 Linwood St.

Gospel Outreach's most recent financial records, available online at the CRA website, show the organization raised $106,300 in charitable donations in 2010 and $96,600 in 2011. The organization listed no administrative expenses but listed annual salaried expenses of $33,500 for one individual. It stated it spent most of the money it raised for its charitable programs.

The CRA audit found Gospel Outreach failed to maintain adequate books and records and provided grocery gift cards, intended for needy inner-city residents to people with incomes between $60,000 and $150,000.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 15, 2013 A4

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