Why does a charity have trade secrets? Are they competing with other charities? That’s the claim of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on the eve of a Friday court fight.
The HLSR claims it can’t show us payments to performers who play concerts at the Rodeo. Apparently, it’s a trade secret.
“I hope the IRS is listening to what the sacred cow is doing,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The Rodeo isn’t worried about embarrassing performers who charge way too much money to play for a charity trying to help kids in school. They don’t want their for-profit competitors knowing what they pay, and that is the problem.”
The Rodeo did agree to let Dolcefino Consulting come and inspect their general ledger but wouldn’t let us see the concert payments. In fact, they didn’t show us who was on their payroll, or any of the records Houstonians deserve to see.
The Rodeo is hiding details about security, possible payments to resolve sexual harassment complaints, details of their foreign investments and payments to entertainers. We know from their website they spent $81 million producing the 2017 event, during which they raised just over $14 million for scholarships.
Friday the Rodeo will ask State District Judge Steve Kirkland for permission to sue Dolcefino Consulting for our pesky little charity records questions. They also want to sue a rape victim currently suing the Rodeo for the brutal assault she endured during a Los Vaqueros trail ride warm up event.
“I want the media at the hearing Friday so that Houstonians can see the way a charity acts,” says Dolcefino. “I never asked the Rodeo how much they paid Garth Brooks, but under Texas law I have every right to know.”
“It is becoming clear to me the Rodeo simply thinks it is a sacred cow and doesn’t have to follow the law. The question is, will Houstonians let them get away with it.”
The hearing is scheduled for 9 am, Friday July 27, 2018 in 334th District Court.