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Doyle mischaracterized relationship with donors

March 9, 2012

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Two well known philanthropists have claimed that Executive Director Daniel Doyle of the Institute for International Sport mischaracterized their relationships with the nonprofit now embroiled in a state police investigation.

On Wednesday, the Atlantic Philanthropies, a major world donor to the institute issued a statement, stating, “It is very clear that Mr. Doyle has mischaracterized much about his relationship with” them.
Atlantic Philanthropies, a charity with headquarters in New York, Ireland, South Africa and Australia began supporting the ISS in 1989 with a $60,000 grant. This contradicts what Doyle said was a $4 million grant contingent on the state providing matching grants of $400,000 a year, for 10 years, initially reported by The Providence Journal.

This follows other red flags raised by Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein, who initially donated $1 million to the nonprofit but pulled out after the institute violated contract agreements and staff told him “they’re not doing the things they promised to do.”

The institute is under investigation by state police after an audit questioned why Doyle could not account for a $575,000 legislative grant to build an unfinished second building on the University of Rhode Island campus. Up until last week, Doyle owed URI $380,846, until he paid off the debt by submitting two checks, one for $100,000 and the second for $280,846, URI spokeswoman Linda Acciardo confirmed last Friday.

RDW Group confirmed that Doyle had written two checks to pay for the sum of money owed to the University of Rhode Island.

“The Doyle family has paid off in full all debts owed to the University of Rhode Island,” read RDW Group’s statement. “The family will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities until all questions have been answered, and expects to meet all obligations.”

When the Institute first opened in 1986 on the URI Kingston campus, Feinstein, who leads the Feinstein Foundation, said former Hasbro CEO and philanthropist Alan Hassenfeld told him the ISS, host of the World Scholar Athlete games, “was a wonderful opportunity to get youngsters together here in Rhode Island.”

Feinstein said Doyle asked him to be the honorary chairman, but they needed $1 million for the building on the URI Kingston campus. Yet, before committing, Feinstein wanted the ISS to require the 2,000 participating young athletes to perform a community service project back home before coming to Rhode Island, a promise the institute failed to uphold.

“I went for it at first. The first year was great, but when I saw they weren’t living up to what was promised I just realized it’s one of those things. They really like you when they come to you for money, but they don’t love you once they get their money,” Feinstein said. “Alan Hassenfeld put himself more on the limb. He vouched for certain things when the institution didn’t make payments.”

Feinstein also claims he was promised an office he never saw and his foundation provided collectibles for the building, the whereabouts which remain unknown to him.

“We protested vigorously. We had a mediator working there on our behalf. She was finding things so amiss and frustrating. She was telling me they weren’t living up to their commitment,” Feinstein said.

Though Feinstein hoped his relationship with the ISS would improve, when the ISS came back for more money, Feinstein said no.

“We had a young lady working at the [ISS] as a liason between us. She turned around after a few weeks. She said she can’t take it anymore. They’re not doing the things they promised,” he said.

Despite the contract violations, Feinstein said he never pursued legal action, stating that the legal dues surpass can surpass what he even donated in the first place.

“I expect whoever goes after Dan Doyle is going to get the same thing – nothing,” he added.

“We are deeply concerned about the findings of the report by the Rhode Island Acting Auditor General. Atlantic was not aware of irregularities in the relationships among IIS, the University of Rhode Island and the State of Rhode Island,” Edith Asibey, chief communications officer for The Atlantic Philanthropies said in a statement.

To date, Atlantic has made grants to IIS totaling $9.6 million. The most recent grant to IIS was awarded in 2005 for $4 million to be paid out over 10 years. It required no matching funds.

On Feb. 21, when Atlantic was notified by the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit of its investigation into IIS, Asibey stated they “immediately suspended the IIS grant and requested that any unexpended funds be held in escrow, pending the outcome of the investigation.”

“Prior to the State of Rhode Island investigation into IIS, we had no cause for concern about our resources being used inappropriately. As a matter of policy, Atlantic requires grantees to submit regular progress reports on work supported by our grants, and there was nothing in those reports that pointed to improper use of Atlantic funds,” Asibey said.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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