Jeremy W. Foreman said that Feed the Boro's supplies, such as meal trays and canned food, are in storage in Statesboro and that funds turned over to him by the little charity will be "made available."
A local resident sent Foreman a Facebook message, received a reply, then set up an interview with a Statesboro Herald reporter. Foreman said he moved from Statesboro in early March and is now in California.
"So any funds that were in our local account were spent down, but the funds were not restricted," Foreman said. "They were allocated for the purpose of this project, and so those funds will be made available again for the Feed the Boro season that comes up in November."
However, the established foundation with which Foreman claimed to be associated, the Savannah Community Foundation, denies all but a limited, single-purpose arrangement with him, now ended, which was unrelated to Feed the Boro. The separate organization of which he was once a registered agent, the Community Centered Foundation, currently has no official status of its own in Georgia. Foreman remains wanted by Statesboro police on a felony warrant for theft by conversion.
Account ‘being re-established elsewhere'
Feed the Boro, founded by Jimmy and Kay Anthony more than 20 years ago, prepares free Thanksgiving dinners each year for families in need, public safety personnel who have to work on the holiday and senior citizens. But the Anthonys turned the project over increasingly to younger volunteers the past few years, and last year, the project's money was transferred to Foreman. After the account in which he placed it was closed and Kay Anthony and Feed the Boro director Robin Aspinwall discovered that he had left Statesboro, they informed the police.
The amount that remained allocated to Feed the Boro, Foreman said, was $1,600 to $1,800.
"That account has been closed out, and in my relocation process, that's being re-established elsewhere," Foreman said.
‘One of many projects'
In the interview, he mentioned a connection to the Savannah Community Foundation, saying that it receives money put into "donor-advised or donor-designated funds" for different charities. The Community Centered Action Fund, he said, was one such fund, established to provide "basically a tax deduction for any kind of HandsOn Southeast Georgia activities and projects."
Foreman had listed himself in emails as executive director of HandsOn Southeast Georgia and Georgia Serves.
Feed the Boro, he said, "was one of many projects" by charities without 501(c)(3) tax deductible status of their own whose funds his organization directed through the Savannah Community Foundation to be disbursed through a fiscal agent so that donors could claim tax deductions.
However, Savannah Community Foundation President Russ Simpson said the Savannah organization had a limited relationship with Foreman and none with his Community Centered Foundation.
"The short answer is no," Simpson said.
The long answer, which Simpson shared, is that Foreman approached Simpson saying that he wanted to get something like a community foundation going in Statesboro and needed a place to accumulate funds. Simpson said he told Foreman the foundation itself could not do that, but if he could find an established charity or governmental institution to serve as an intermediary, the Savannah Community Foundation then could open a fund to benefit that organization, with Foreman working "under their wing" until his nonprofit formed and received its tax deductible status.
The intermediary, according to Simpson, wound up being the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.
For a year or two, a few hundred dollars Foreman collected were directed to Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Simpson said. Then, earlier this year, the foundation was informed by the Riverkeeper's organization that its relationship with Foreman had ended. So the foundation closed the account it had maintained for this purpose, also ending its contact with Foreman, Simpson said.
"That was the extent of our relationship with him," Simpson said. "We never had any relationship with the Community Centered Action Fund, although I was aware of that name because he told me that that was what he was going to call it, and he was trying to get it going."
An email forwarded by a Savannah Community Foundation administrator indicates that the last "grant" on Foreman's behalf was paid in early March.
Ogeechee Riverkeeper moved its headquarters in December from Statesboro to Savannah. Contacted there Tuesday, Emily Markesteyn, the Riverkeeper and executive director, declined to say why the organization cut its ties with Foreman.
"Because it's an open investigation, Ogeechee Riverkeeper will not comment at this time," she said.
The Savannah Community Foundation maintains a separate fund with detailed monthly statements on every organization it assists, Simpson said. The foundation had no fund for Feed the Boro, and the first time he heard of the organization was when a Statesboro Herald reporter contacted him, he said.
The Community Centered Foundation Inc. was registered with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office as a nonprofit corporation in June 2006, with Foreman as its registered agent. But it was "administratively dissolved" in May 2008, according to the office's searchable database.
The corporation was dissolved for nonpayment of its renewal fee, said Jared Thomas, press secretary for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
However, the end of the corporation would not have prevented a similar-named fund from being established under another organization.
In the interview, Foreman said he had not communicated with other Feed the Boro volunteers since March at least, and possibly since last November.
Anthony said Feed the Boro volunteers made repeated attempts to reach him via Facebook, and by telephone, with no reply. When a mutual friend did reach him, he told him the money would be back by November, she said. But as of Tuesday, she had heard of no effort to return the money.
Of reports that money from the account had been used at restaurants and to purchase a plane ticket, Foreman said, "It's very possible that that's an operating cost for conferences and professional development and any other number of things."
But Feed the Boro is an all-volunteer project, which reportedly spent about $2,500 on last year's Thanksgiving dinners, distributed to more than 3,000 people.
"We don't even furnish the gas for the people who make the deliveries, for heaven's sakes," Anthony said.
Foreman said he had been advised to retain an attorney and return to answer the charge, but he did not give a definite answer on whether he will do so, saying, "I'll pursue those options as it makes sense."
Feed the Boro has now merged with the Food Bank Inc., which has taken over its bookkeeping.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9431.