WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The “For Lease” sign is up at Saving Spot Pet Rescue in West Hollywood.
It’s now closed after a CBS2 News investigation prompted action by the California Attorney General’s Office.
Last May, the owner of Saving Spot threw out CBS2’s David Goldstein after an undercover investigation found the rescue soliciting hundreds of dollars for pets and claiming the expense was tax-deductible.
The investigation later found Saving Spot’s tax-exempt status from the IRS was revoked in 2015 for failing to file tax returns.
The California Secretary of State’s Office also suspended its nonprofit status for failing to file paperwork. The state’s Attorney General’s Office shows Saving Spot is not registered as a charity.
Now, Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a cease-and-desist order against the organization, along with Spot Rescue, another business that owner Elizabeth Scherer was setting up.
The order calls for both to immediately cease all operations, including all solicitations for charitable purposes. This comes after the AG’s Office tried repeatedly to get them to comply with state law.
“Understand that when the Attorney General’s Office issues a cease-and-desist order, it’s not because it’s the first time we knock on someone’s door and say you’re doing something wrong,” Becerra said.
Saving Spot closed on Friday, three days after the order was signed.
Scherer said she shut down because of financial trouble and never wanted to deceive anyone.
“I feel that if someone had misunderstood or it was not clear, I apologize for that,” she said. “I sincerely never meant to do anything wrong or to harm anyone.”
An attorney for Saving Spot said no money was misspent and the group will report all taxes to the Attorney General’s Office by Friday.