Jason Sanders was an adviser to the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco philanthropy that for over three decades has been a major funding source for progressive-Left projects on issues such as global sustainability, reproductive justice, and AIDS treatment. What his employer didn't know is that his own favorite cause was himself. This past March 25, Sanders pleaded guilty in San Francisco federal court to embezzling $132,600 from the foundation over a three-year period. He had been indicted last August following an internal audit. From February 2005 to March 2008, federal prosecutors charged, Sanders, now 38, stole funds from the nonprofit group.
The unfolding financial scandal at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, has taken a new turn.ACORN, based in New Orleans, never wanted known the identity of the person who assumed responsibility for a promissory note of nearly $740,000, a sum representing the remaining balance of the roughly $950,000 embezzled from ACORN’s coffers nearly a decade ago.But thanks to some digging by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry K. Lee, the identity of the person is now known:Drummond Pike, founder and chief executive of the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy well-known in progressive circles.The case is significant for organized labor because ACORN founder and chief organizer Wade Rathke is the founder and chief organizer of Local 100 (Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas) of the Service Employees International Union.In addition, SEIU Local 880, based in the Midwest, operates as an adjunct of ACORN. Three months ago, he resigned from his post over the scandal.