A sharp-eyed reader pointed us to something buried in HSUS’s latest tax return, covering the year 2012. On page 32, HSUS states that it made an “investment” total $25.7 million in the “Central American and the Caribbean” region. We went back to HSUS’s 2009, 2010, and 2011 tax returns. There were no reported investments of any kind abroad.
Strange? We think so.
Where exactly is this $26 million “invested”? It turns out HSUS funneled mega-bucks to several funds located in the Cayman Islands. You know, the secretive place where secretive people stuff their secretive money. Bond villain-type stuff.
So where did HSUS donor money go? According to its 990-T and supplemental forms:
- $500,000 to Ascend Partners Fund I, L.P., a Cayman hedge fund
- $253,000 to BKM Holdings (Cayman) Ltd.
- $8 million to Fore Multi Strategy Offshore Fund, Ltd., in the Caymans
- $5 million to Hayman Capital Offshore Partners, L.P. in Bermuda
- $6.7 million invested in Fir Tree International Value Fund in the Caymans
We did a little more digging into these groups, which appear to mostly be hedge funds. But why would a U.S. charity be putting $26 million in the Caribbean? (And the figures above only add up to a little over $20 million—where’s the other $5 million?)
HSUS is a non-profit. It’s not in the business of investing money in hedge funds to make a profit. It’s in the business—according to its ads—of saving animals now. Now means right away—not in 10 years when HSUS may have made a loss on its Caribbean investments. (HSUS reports in its 990-T losing $61,000 in 2012 on various partnerships.)
The bottom line: It’s hard to save animals when you’ve parked $25 million offshore.
There’s a reason people write “H$U$.” It’s because money seems to come first for the cynics and the bean-counters running HSUS. And it’s one more reason to give to your local shelter directly, not to a questionable national organization that might stick your donations in the Caymans.