*UPDATED* What’s in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s latest tax returns?
The Muscular Dystrophy Association finally released their eagerly-awaited 2020 990 tax forms. After their unreported payments to the International Association of Fire Fighters totaling more than $6 million, their $700k debt, and other mismanagement within the organization, I didn’t think I’d discover anything in this year’s 990 that would shock me.
I was wrong.
I want to preface the following by saying I am NOT a tax expert by any means, but most of this is so obvious you don’t need to be a tax expert to understand it.
The first section of note — compensation. The #1 earner was former MDA CEO Lynn O’Connor Vos, a.k.a. Ellen Vos. Vos only “worked” 10 months last year and unceremoniously parted ways with MDA shortly after the IAFF scandal broke. Coincidental timing? You decide.
Vos made a base salary of $435,559 in 2020, lower than her $506,481 in 2019. Don’t feel too sorry for her, though. Because she was let go, she received a severance package of $350,000. Add on top of that “other reportable compensation” and “nontaxable benefits” and Vos made $853,207 from MDA last year.
All this while MDA had decided it didn’t have enough money to continue paying for research.
Updated 10/9/21 Another area of note is expenses. MDA spent $15 million on (research) grants, which, by the way, was the only thing they funded in 2020, and only for a few months. They had paused research funding for most of the year. But the next underlined item gives us an idea why — they spent more than $31 million on salaries, compensation, and employee benefits. That’s more than double what they spent on helping the people they claim to help.
Also odd to me, but something a tax expert may find is nothing — in Part VII (page 7) high-earning executives, employees, and even contractors are listed. MDA has listed 26, though half of those were reported as earning $0 compensation. Yet right below the list it asks for the number of individuals who received more than $100,000 in compensation. They listed 44. Only 12 individuals in the previous list were shown to have made more than $100,000.
Next surprise — MDA applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic. They received over $8.7 million in 2020 and after checking ProPublica, they also received $2 million this year, which is the maximum amount given for a second-round loan. They claim the money was used to pay their employees.
What they didn’t mention is that most of their employees were furloughed. You know — the people whose paychecks they were supposed to protect? So who did get paychecks last year? The executives.
Even if you never donated a cent to MDA, your tax dollars went to help line the pockets of those in high positions. I’m suddenly remembering that one MDA exec who was traveling all over the world with their family earlier this year and posting photos on social media. Did our tax dollars pay for those trips?
Another thing that really stood out to me. You may remember The Hollywood Reporter article from last year that mentioned MDA owed over $700,000 to outside parties in 2019. This was confirmed in MDA’s 2019 990.
This year, along the same line item, the number is -$23,709,661.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association owes nearly $24 million more than what they have.
They’re in debt up to their eyeballs.
And who’s going to pay their debt? They hope you will, every time you make a donation to their organization under the false pretenses that it’s helping those with neuromuscular diseases.
I urge anyone to look over MDA’s entire 990 for 2020. You can find it here.