The state of Florida fined the GLBT Center in Central Florida $1,000 over claims that the center was disorganized in the wake of the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre and for funds never given to a Pulse victim’s family.
State officials in Florida say not only were the center’s employees disorganized in their response to the Pulse massacre, but that money raised during a July fundraiser that was supposed to benefit a Pulse victim’s family never found its way to the man’s (entertainer Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 36, known by the stage name Eman Valentino) relatives.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the center also “did not properly update and display its registrations as a not-for-profit to handle fundraising.”
The center’s president, Jeffrey Buak, said the center has since paid the fine and settled the issue with the state. He also says the fundraiser was run by a volunteer who has since left the center. Still, the center’s position is that they were unaware a problem existed until the state notified them, but that following this they did give the funds (originally totaling $2,137) to the Rosado family.
“Unfortunately, due to the chaos that followed the Pulse shooting and the departure of that volunteer … the funds were not immediately disbursed as intended,” Buak said. “In acknowledgment of its error, The Center covered all hard costs associated with the event and made an additional contribution to the family.”
Filed last fall, two complaints from volunteers heavily hinted at chaos at the center in the aftermath of the Pulse shooting. They mentioned rumors that fundraising money was going towards covering the personal expenses of staff at the center. Buak has denied the accusation. The state made no finding on this.
But state regulators did find the center “failed to display its registration number as a not-for-profit and had failed to state on fundraising literature that its registration number and financial reports were available upon request from the state.”
Writes the Sentinel:
According to the state, the center had also “registered a name change with the Florida Secretary of State in 2010, but had failed to inform the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as required by law.”