Nonprofit no-no

In 2005, Demarcus Bolton learned that he was one of 20 Atlanta high-schoolers who would receive a $1,000 scholarship from City Councilman H. Lamar Willis's charitable foundation. Two years later, Bolton remains scholarship-less. After calling Willis's office repeatedly, he finally gave up. "I just let it go because I was tired of being lied to," he said. Bolton is also waiting on a Palm hand-held computer he was supposed to receive. Nikita Head, one of the 2005 winners, said, "It was like Oprah. ‘Everyone's getting a Palm Pilot!' We never got a Palm Pilot." Willis may have his hands full with more than angry 20-year-olds, though; he never registered his foundation as a charity, and the IRS never gave his organization a nonprofit designation. Investigations are underway. Willis's public relations manager quit last week, too, and issued a statement saying his boss "misrepresented facts." Which is flack-speak for "lied." Meanwhile, Bolton is doing fine, about to enter his third year at Savannah State University. Were he only able to check his email while talking to his girlfriend while planning a road trip to Poughkeepsie, he'd probably have already graduated.  

"Student never received scholarship from city councilman's charity," by Cameron McWhirter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 10, 2007

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