LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A TV reality star said Friday that she suspected something was amiss after her support of a pet-rescue group that wasn’t in compliance with tax law.
After a CBS2 News investigation learned that nearly a third of so-called nonprofit rescue groups weren’t registered with the California Attorney General Office, TV personality Lisa Vanderpump told investigative reporter David Goldstein: “I saw the tape. I didn’t like what i saw either. Absolutely.
“There were a few complications of how they were running their business but i must add that these are two women who love their dogs,” Vanderpump said of Saving Spot, a pet rescue that she once heavily supported.
Vanderpump opened a pet rescue in Beverly Grove about six weeks ago but had taped an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” at Saving Spot and says her foundation even donated about $20,000. She had considered joining forces until she learned something was up.
“I think we realized a merger wasn’t a good idea for us,” Vanderpump said. “It was maybe they had a few more complications, and when my husband looked into things, we wanted to go on our own.”
Hollywood celebrities have shown up at benefits for the Saving Spot, which claims to be a nonprofit that rescues puppies.
However, Goldstein’s undercover cameras exposed that Saving Spot charges a whopping $475 adoption fee. Saving Spot claimed the fee could be written off because it’s a donation.
“Yeah, well, we’re a nonprofit, so it’s all deductible,” an employee is heard saying on camera. “Any donations you make are tax deductible.”
A man, who did not want to be identified, told CBS2 that he paid a $450 donation fee to Saving Spot for a dog in 2016. He was also told the donation was tax deductible. However, CBS2 learned that Saving Spot’s tax-exempt status from the IRS was revoked in 2015 for failing to file tax returns. The state attorney general’s office also suspended its nonprofit status for failing to file paperwork. That means it is legally not allowed to transact business in California.
Saving Spot is not registered as a charity.