For Immediate Release
Complaint Filed with IRS against Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee
Due to the failure of the leadership of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PAGMC), a non-profit organization, to provide copies of the IRS Form 990 for the last three years, Ara K. Manoogian, an investigative journalist, founder of TheTruthMustBeTold.com, filed a complaint with the IRS, on February 1, 2015, to have the PAGMC comply with the Exempt Organization Public Disclosure and Availability Requirements.
After PAGMC’s former chairman William Paparian accused PAGMC’s board of wrongdoings, including failure to ‘follow California law regarding legal filings,’ Ara Manoogian, as a PAGMC donor for the construction of a memorial commemorating the death of 1.5 million Armenians in the first genocide of the 20th century, started an investigation to check the accuracy of Paparian’s claims. On October 5, 2014, Manoogian sent an email to Bernard Melekian, PAGMC’s co-chair (then the interim chairman), former Pasadena Police Chief, and, currently, Santa Barbara County Undersheriff, with a request to provide copies of the IRS Form 990 for the last three years; the IRS Form 1023; documentation from the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) showing that the PAGMC is tax-exempt; and documentation showing that the PAGMC was in good standing with the State of California at the time of soliciting and receiving his donation. The email was also CC’ed to the Community Foundation of the Verdugos, which provides repository for the PAGMC’s funds, and the IRS.
To this day, the PAGMC has failed to provide copies of any of the requested documents. This failure to comply with the Exempt Organization Public Disclosure and Availability Requirements may cost the board and Bernard Melekian thousands of dollars in penalties. The investigation into PAGMC’s activities eventually revealed that the board had engaged in other illegal activities (see Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee in Crisis, Crisis at Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee Continues, Why Build Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Without Current Board and How).
Unfortunately, none of those irregularities have been addressed to this day, which is likely to have paved the way to more infractions. Recently, Richard Vartanian, another PAGMC donor, asked the Pasadena City Council and Staff whether the construction of the Memorial, which officially commenced on January 25, 2015, is in full compliance with the provisions of the City Charter sections 1002 and 1601, as well as California Law. Vartanian hasn’t received any response yet.