The regular 2023 municipal election to elect City Councilors for City Council Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be held on November 7, 2023. District 6 includes Nob Hill, the International District, and other neighborhoods and is currently represented by Progressive Democrat City Councilor Pat Davis who is not seeking a third term. The candidates who have qualified and who will appear on the ballot for City Council District 6 are:
- Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn, the Executive director of Cuidando Los Niños.
- Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers, Office manager and independent contractor for Primerica Financial Services.
- Progressive Democrat Kristin Greene, a community activist and private business owner.
- Progressive Democrat Abel Otero, the operator of Fonzy’s barbershop who has announced he has suspended his campaign and no longer seeking the job but his name will remain on the ballot.
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT NICHOLE ROGERS
Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers is a Basic certified Emergency Medical Technician and in 2012 earned an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in Integrated studies from Central NM Community. She lists her occupation as a “business consultant and financial adviser”. District 6 City Council candidate Nichole Rogers has repeatedly touted her “unique blend of lived experience and professional experience” as a reason to vote for her.
Among Rogers professional experience claims is that she is involved with the non profit and charitable corporation Welstand Foundation and it is believe she formed it in 2019. The corporation as a charitable organization over the years has received both public and private funding. Charity Search on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website lists Welstand Foundation’s purpose as “To enhance all aspects of well-being for under-served and under-represented youth in New Mexico.” Social media posts show that local breweries raised money for Welstand Foundation in 2022. Welstand Foundation was awarded a $15,000 grant from the City of Albuquerque approved at the May 18, 2020 City Council meeting.
Nichole Rogers has never fully revealed publicly during her campaign nor been forthcoming that she has been seriously delinquent with filing mandatory legal documents to keep her corporation in good standing with the New Mexico Attorney General, the Secretary of State and failed to file mandatory documents with the Internal Revenue Service.
FAILURE TO FILE IRS DOCUMENTS
According to the IRS website, Welstand Foundation’s 501(c)3 federal tax exempt status was revoked on May 15, 2022. Since its incorporation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2019, Nichol Rogers has not filed federal forms on income and expenses. A federal form is required to be filed annually by every 501(c)(3) and for private foundations. It is essentially a nonprofit’s income and expense report, allowing oversight of what revenue and donations were brought in, and how and where the money was spent. Not only does it provide financial oversight, but it ensures that a nonprofit’s spending is in accordance with its mission. It is understood the corporation failed to file required forms and its tax exempt status was then revoked.
To research the IRS documentation on the corporations revocation as tax exempt, go to https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/details/. Under the “search by field” scroll down to “organization name” and then in the organization name box type in “Welstand” and then click the blue search link. The revocation date listed by the IRS for the Welstand corporation is 5-15-2022 and the revocation posting date is 08-08-2022.
DELINQUENT NEW MEXICO ATTORNEY GENERAL REGISTRATION
According to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Charity Search website, Welstand Foundation registration submissions have been repeatedly delinquent. The website reveals as follows:
On January 1, 2021, the Welstand Foundation corporation’s Registration Submission for the 2019 Tax year was declared Delinquent.
On July 1, 2021, the Welstand Foundation corporation’s Registration Submission for the 2020 Tax year was declared Delinquent.
On July 1, 2022, the Welstand Foundation corporation’s Registration Submission for the 2021 Tax year was declared Delinquent.
On July 1, 2023, the Welstand Foundation corporation’s Registration Submission for the 2022 tax year was declared Delinquent.
The link to the website to do research is here:
WELSTAND JUST RECENTLY BECAME IN GOOD STANDING WITH NEW MEXICO SECRETARY OF STATE
Review of public records revealed that the Welstand Foundation as of October 20, 2023 was “Not In Good Standing” as a nonprofit corporation with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office. However, as of November 1, 2023, the corporation is listed as in good standing. Confidential sources have been told that at least one media inquiry was made with Nichole Rogers recently regarding the status of the corporation. It’s more likely than not Rogers took steps to conform with the requirements of the law to have the corporation become in good standing because of the media inquiry.
To research New Mexico Secretary of State records for Welstand Foundation, go to the below link and type Welstand Foundation and Business ID Number 5919649:
FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES REPORTED ON FACEBOOK
Facebook posts by local breweries Hollow Spirits, Nexus Brewery, Marble Brewery , Hollow Spirits reveals assistance with fundraising activities for Welstand Foundation after the IRS revoked the 501(c)3 status of the Corporation. What is questionable is that solicitations were made at all while not having filed a single 990-N, being delinquent with New Mexico Attorney General Registration submissions and not being in good standing with the New Mexico Secretary of State.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
It is very difficult to understand how a candidate for Albuquerque City Council can hold herself out as a business consultant and financial advisor given her failures to file in a timely manner mandatory documents with the IRS, the New Mexico Attorney General, and the Secretary of State for a charitable organization she created.
The most troubling question that needs to be answered is exactly how much was she able to raise for her foundation since its creation in 2019 and where did the money go and what was it used for? No one knows, except Nichol Rogers. As noted above, a Form 990 is required annually of every 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It is essentially a nonprofit’s income and expense report, allowing oversight of what revenue and donations were brought in, and how and where the money was spent. Not only does it provide financial oversight, but it ensures that a nonprofit’s spending is in accordance with its mission. Welstand Foundation should have filed three Form 990s.
The IRS sends compliance letters, so pleading ignorance of the filing requirements is not a valid excuse. The IRS will not revoke a 501(c)(3) organization’s tax-exempt status unless the nonprofit has been out of compliance on filing a Form 990 for three consecutive years. This is what finally happened with the Welstand Foundation. Its tax-exempt nonprofit status was revoked on May 15, 2022. It was also listed as “Not In Good Standing” by the NM Secretary of State website as of October 20, 2023, but that has now changed.
A simple search on the NM Attorney General’s charity registry reveals no 990s have been filed with the office. Nichole Rogers posted Nextdoor.com social page in mid-October 2023 that she had closed the Foundation in 2020. That statement appears to false because in a more recent post on Nextdoor.com she stated she closed the nonprofit down in 2021.
It is clear that the Welstand Foundation continued to seek donations after after it was supposedly closed and did in fact bring in unreported revenue. Not only has the trust of private donors been violated, the public’s trust has been violated. The City of Albuquerque gave the Welstand Foundation at least $15,000, which has also never been fully accounted for by Rogers.
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency as a candidate for city council, Nichole Rogers should release her personal income tax returns as well as those of Welstand Foundation so that a comparison can be made and her sources of income can be disclosed as to what extent she has personally benefited from her fund raising activities for the corporation.
Other questions that Nichole Rogers needs to answer before the election include:
Will Nichole Rogers seek more city funding to benefit Welstand Foundation or does she intend to step down from its management or dissolve the corporation if she is elected?
Will Nichole Rogers continue with fundraising efforts for Welstand Foundation if she is elected and to what extent?
Will Nichole Rogers engage in lobbying efforts on behalf of Welstand Foundation before the New Mexico legislature as a registered lobbyist if she is elected and to what extent will she lobby on behalf of the city?
Links have been provided so that voters can make up their own minds about who has the “professional experience” and integrity to be elected a City Councilor for District 6.
A link to a related blog article that provides additional information on the District 6 City Council race and the candidates is here:
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