The passing of veteran rapper Guru, formerly of pioneering hip hop group Gang Starr, has done little to end a stream of ongoing controversy surrounding the fallen musician since reports of his initial cardiac arrest this past February. Part of this controversy revolves around a “farewell letter to fans”, released to the public shortly after his death by his music and business partner, Solar, purportedly detailing Guru’s last words and thoughts.
While there is much debate regarding the authenticity of the letter, one particular point/counterpoint is worth noting.
In the letter, Guru is quoted as saying, “I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life.” Several blogs and media outlets began repeating this information, linking it to the Each One Counts Foundation, at www.eachonecounts.org. Fans were seen sending messages linking to this organization via Twitter and other social media channels, such as one message imploring people to ignore the drama surrounding the last rap icon, and donate to the charity.
Allegations are swirling against Solar, particularly that the farewell letter he attributed to Guru could not have been penned directly by the ailing, comatose musician. This was implied in part by the statement released by Patricia Elam, Guru’s sister, which also stated that, “the family is not aware of any foundations established by Guru.” Based on these allegations and several contradictions issued by Solar, Birthplace Magazine decided to question the charity situation. Just like much of the story surrounding the final months of Keith “Guru” Elam, the answers are not completely clear.
As we reported, there are two non-profit organizations listed with the Internal Revenue Service named “Each One Counts”. The first, Each One Counts Foundation, Inc., was founded by former Villanova basketball player Brian Harrington and assistant coach Doug West and raises funds to help “ease the physical pain and suffering of terminally ill children who are receiving pediatric hospice or palliative care.” Despite several blogs, fans, and other sources linking to this foundation in reference to the Guru “farewell letter to fans”, it has become clear that this is not in fact the foundation in question.
As we also reported, the other foundation, Each One Counts, Inc., lists very little public information on record. This is somewhat abnormal for a non-profit organization, which is required by federal law to file particular tax records which are usually available for public review. In the case of Each One Counts, Inc., the only public information was the name the foundation is listed under, Denise Sandoval, and the address, 119 Rockland Ctr, #328, Nanuet, NY 10954.
Denise Sandoval is also known as Denise Mosher. Denise Mosher is the wife of John Mosher, aka Solar. The address is a UPS Store.
By law, tax records of non-profit organizations are available for public review. According to the IRS, if a non-profit grosses less than $25,000 for the year, the organization is required to file a 990N form, also known as an “e-Postcard”. Records of these filings are kept online at the IRS website, and are visible to anyone.
There are no 990N forms on file for Each One Counts, Inc.
If a non-profit organization grosses more than $25,000 per year, they are required by the IRS to file taxes using 990 or 990EZ forms. While these records are not directly available for online search at IRS.gov, there are third party websites that house these records for easy access by the public.
There are no 990 or 990EZ returns on file for Each One Counts, Inc.
While a more exhaustive inquiry is currently in progress with the IRS, this preliminary research can suggest two things. One, Each One Counts., Inc. grossed more than $25,000 a year, and that the third-party website simply does not have the records online. If this is the case, the IRS search we are undertaking will provide more details regarding the financial details of the organization.
Two, the foundation grossed less than $25,000 per year, which we suspect is the case, and if so, it would appear that the required e-Postcard was not filed. This is a violation of IRS law. When asked about the penalty, a representative from the IRS explained that after three years of non-filing, an organization would be stripped of their non-profit status.
Therefore, it is possible that at the moment, Each One Counts, Inc., is no longer in good standing as a non-profit organization.
In an interview with MTV News, Solar was asked by VJ Sway specifically about the not-for-profit organization. Solar asserted, “That’s an organization that was started by Guru, myself and my people. Hopefully it will grow to be a huge, worldwide charitable organization.”
However, BirthplaceMag.com spoke exclusively with a former associate of the two men, who confirmed the 2003 formation of Each One Counts, Inc., but disputed Solar’s statement, explaining, “The foundation is something Solar stated. Guru was aware of the foundation, but nothing was ever done with it. It was something Solar always wanted to get going but never did.”
With weeks to prepare for the inevitable, it is unclear why Solar and his 7 Grand Records, would treat such an important endorsement so casually, to not set up a central point of information regarding the charity. As with several other contradictions in the days since Guru’s health decline first made news, the truth behind the validity of this charity, and its mission, is unclear, and the sense is that it continues to cast Solar, and Guru’s legacy, in a negative light.
Also unclear, is to what extent Guru was already contributing to charity, as part of his alleged statement says the foundation is dedicated to “carrying on” his charitable work. If Guru was involved in a charity, and Each One Counts Inc. is defunct, Guru would had to have been working with another charitable organization, leaving one to wonder why not donate to the charity Guru was already endorsing, instead of a charity sitting lifeless in Solar’s wife’s maiden name.
A smaller, but important point to note. Many people have mistakenly sent around information to Harrington’s foundation, assuming it was the one the Guru letter was referring to. It is unknown whether donations have been sent to the wrong foundation, as calls and emails to Harrington have not been returned. In addition, an inquiry to 7 Grand Records and the Each One Counts, Inc.’s accountants on file, to clarify and provide contact information for the proper charity, have also gone unanswered.
Birthplace Magazine will continue to look into the current legal status of the Each One Counts Inc. organization, as well as whether or not the late rapper actually endorsed donations to such an organization. We are hopeful that Solar, 7 Grand Records and Each One Counts Inc.’s accountants will respond to our inquiries, and shed the necessary additional light on this issue.