Local lawyer runs questionable charity

June 26, 2009


A local attorney takes out more than 60 percent of monies donated to a nonprofit he oversees before sending the remaining monies to a self declared cleric alleged to have defrauded donors from throughout the world, according to tax documents and news sources.

Founded in 2001 by San Luis Obispo attorney Eric Parkinson, VeAhavta’s stated mission is to “lovingly nurture the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of orphans and destitute elders in a secure home.” Donations allegedly support the day to day operations of the Grace Care Center, an orphanage and home for seniors.

Parkinson’s affiliation with Sellathurai Jeyanesan (also known as Salvaduri in a handful of recent positive news stories and a recent book written by a program volunteer) prompted him to found the nonprofit organization with Jeyanesan serving as his overseas agent. Jayanesan, listed on the group’s website as a reverend with a doctorate, is touted in Sri Lanka news articles as a “fake priest” with a “bogus doctorate.”

According to the Sri Lanka Guardian, Jeyanesan has pocketed millions of dollars donated by a lengthy list of international philanthropists. Jeyanesan is accused of taking advantage of the horrendous circumstances in Sri Lanka through schemes he has employed for his own self enrichment.

“Even more worrying is Father Jeyanesan’s utterly corrupt stewardship of public funds,” the Sri Lanka Guardian says. “The CACM (Church of the American Ceylon Mission) is a mere frontage to this man’s ravenous and insatiable addiction to raise funds for his own private show and needs.”

Jeyanesan’s focuses his fund raising schemes primarily at Israelis, Americans, Australians, and Europeans under the guise that their donations will go to help the “orphans, widows, and needy people” of Sri, according to the Sri Lanka Guardian.

Authorities in Sri Lanka issued an arrest warrant for Jeyanesan last year for failing on three separate occasions to appear in court. Within weeks, a principal that worked at a school affiliated with Jeyanesan was found guilty of three counts of perjury, according to the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India.

Parkinson said he thought the writer of the Sri Lanka Guardian had an ax to grind with Jeyanesan. In addition, he claims members of the Jaffna Diocese were angry over a split with Jeyanesan.

“I know about the allegations,” Parkinson said. “They are not true.”

Jeyanesan turned himself in and was let out on bail. He continues to oversee VeAhavta’s Grace Care Center, according to their website which requests that donations be sent to VeAhavta’s San Luis Obispo office.

More than 60 percent of donations given to the VeAhavta nonprofit are used to pay Parkinson for his work overseeing the Sri Lanka charity from abroad, according to the nonprofit’s 2007 IRS 990 filing.

Watchdog groups rate nonprofits by the amount of funds donated that are used for the agencies’ charitable purposes.

“For every dollar you donate, very good charities will use 80 cents or more towards their charitable purpose, while the rest of your donation pays for fundraising costs, administrative expenses, and management salaries,” according to the Charity Guide web site. “On the other hand, for every dollar donated to a bad charity, as little as 40 cents (or worse) will go towards the charitable purpose. The rest of your donation will pay for a poorly managed or inefficient bureaucracy.”

In 2007, philanthropists donated $218,610 to the nonprofit Parkinson founded, according to the agencys’ tax returns. The charity paid Parkinson – the group’s president, secretary, and director – $136,895 in salary, payroll taxes, and benefits.

An additional $9,000 was used to cover the costs of fundraising and website design, according the group’s 2007 tax return. The group’s 2008 tax return has not yet been filed.

In 2003 and 2004, Parkinson claimed he worked eight hours a week running the nonprofit. In 2006, he increased his hourly work load to 40 per week with an additional charitable duty, working to expand services to the homeless in San Luis Obispo, according to tax returns.

“There was no change in the operation,” Parkinson said in response to a question of why his hours had increased over the past four years. “It just needed more attention because we had grown so much in donations.”

However, the last three years of tax returns show donation levels decreasing while at the same time Parkinson’s salary and hours increased. Parkinson told CalCoastNews he stopped taking a salary in January.

When asked how they were expanding homeless services in San Luis Obispo County, Parkinson said the plans had been dropped though they had made a video about homelessness in 2006.

Numerous local as well as national groups such as the Grover Beach Rotary Club, a Cal Poly sorority, and numerous elementary schools have donated monies to Parkinson’s nonprofit with an understanding they were helping widows, orphans, and the elderly of the war and tsunami ravaged island of Sri Lanka.




  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: StevenBoothe on 7/17/09
    For all those who may have missed it, Eric soundly repudiated these “allegations” in his interview with Dave Congalton.

    KVEC has even made this interview available in their daily podcast for 07/01/2009. Here is a link to their webpage where you can review nearly all of Dave Congalton’s daily programs via podcast:


    Just scroll down to 07/01/2009. He comes in the last hour of the program.


    Steven Boothe

    By: StevenBoothe on 7/1/09
    Eric Parkinson will be on Dave Congalton’s radio show at 6 p.m. tonight. Tune in to 920 AM or listen live at 920kvec.com. I hope you’ll all be able to attend.

    Have a very nice evening,

    Steven Boothe

    By: Cindy on 7/1/09
    Oh No .. Irresponsibility is one thing and then there is Criminal Gross Negligence, which is a whole other ballgame.
    Mr. Boothe, Has it crossed your mind that if this person (whom you know and love) could possibly take these perverse, sociopathic actions against an adult professional woman because she said some thing that displeased him, then what might this unbalanced individual do to a defenseless little orphan girl who displeased him?

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/1/09
    I went out yesterday to find some information on these 990 forms. WOW! I can see when you read, that they are open ended enough, that you can see where fraud could happen if someone wanted to game the system.

    Not saying this is the case here. Just the fact that it would not be hard.

    In reading the explantion of these forms, I read a statement that you should research anybody that you might donate to, that is set up this way, to make sure everything is on the up and up.

    By: Scarlet on 7/1/09
    StevenBoothe: If I were your, or this charity’s, attorney, I would ask you to belt up and quick.

    You actually claim to know someone at VeAhavta capable of writing threatening and sexually explicit e-mails FROM AN ORPHANAGE and you “love them”???!!!! Every single one of your posts is now cast in a very different light.

    Additionally, you obviously lack a basic understanding of the not-for-profit world. Yes, there can be restricted donations to an organization, but they still comprise the total of unearned income. You can’t simply say “these donations do not count toward our overhead percentages.” It simply doesn’t work that way.

    Go away. And let the investigations begin.

    By: JorgeEstrada on 7/1/09
    Wow!!! This is bigger than Spy vs Spy. Will this be a Lawyer vs Lawyer or Lawyer needs Lawyer? One or the other.

    By: StevenBoothe on 7/1/09
    Here’s another item of interest that Karen may need to explain:


    It appears from Karen’s twitter profile that she got the verdict before the horse.

    Does this constitute legal exposure?

    Finally, back on those vulgar messages (I’m going with Dave Congalton’s description here), I actually do have a gut feeling of who may have sent them. I’ll give you a hint, go get the book “But for the Grace” and start reading — it is just a hunch and I could very well be wrong but if these messages did come from Grace Care Center, I can think of only one guy (whom I love very much) that may have lacked the maturity to resist letting Karen’s article get the better of him and that is all I will offer. Go get the book.

    Should it come out that anyone at Grace was responsible, you can be sure these actions are not condoned and that several people are looking into the matter right now and that if it came from anyone at Grace, they will be held to account.


    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09
    Interesting that during the show Dave mentioned an article handed to him from the British Telegraph that also mentions allegations about Jey in Sri Lanka. I went looking for it and all I could come up with was a personal blog post created by someone who signed up (available for free) at

    Much of what it says just reads like the same rehash of rumors and “allegations” written by Victor in the past.

    Here it is for you all to see and come to your own conclusions:

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09
    This just in from the Sri Lanka Guardian:


    This is the same website Karen cited in her initial article. This kind of thing is common place in the Sri Lankan media.

    I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

    All the best,


    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09

    @MyThoughts: Sorry the math tutorial wasn’t as clear as I hoped. I’ll try again.

    Here’s how it works: I give $2 toward administrative expenses of running VeAhavta (which includes staff compensation) and your kids give $2 toward Grace Care Center.

    The tax 990 form comes back and shows “in black and white” that $4 total contributions were given, and of those, $2 went toward “compensation”, and $2 went toward “direct aid” (just to keep it simple).

    Karen and her followers then wrongfully assert that this proves half of your kids money went toward “compensation” when in fact none of it did. Your $2 for “direct aid” went to “direct aid”, and my $2 for “administrative expenses” went toward just that. This assertion is patently false and misleading. Thanks.

    @Cindy: I listened and called in. Dave was very good with the whole situation, even offering us equal time. Very encouraging. I was especially thankful that I was able to listen online because I don’t have access to an AM radio right now, so a huge “thanks” to KVEC for providing the online stream.

    Yes I also found those posts from Zack concerning. Someone is looking into it right now.


    By: Cindy on 6/30/09
    Wow, I just heard part of the Congalton Show about this Charity and this story. Apparently Karen received a lot of vulgar posts and e-mails from Sri Lanka. These e-mails were explicitly sexual and were telling her things that the writers wanted to do. The IP address was traced and all the vulgar posts came from the same computer that Mr. J Mitchell had been logging on from. There was something about it possibly coming from the Orphanage! I guess there is going to be an investigation. If this is staff doing this they shouldn’t be around children and if its the children, well ….. this is shocking. I missed a large part of the show, did anyone listen?

    By: karen on 6/30/09
    I will be on Dave Congalton’s radio show at 6 p.m. to discuss this story. Tune in at 920 AM or listen live at 920kvec.com.

    By: Scarlet on 6/30/09
    I Googled VeAhavta and found something amazing: a Canadian organization called VeAhavta, founded in 1994, that focuses its efforts on homelessness and poor children in developing countries. They have very interesting info right on their website, like: There has been a steady growth since 2004, when the number of transactions reached 2500 annually, with total revenue between $850,000 to just under $1 million. Since 2004, we have received $100,000 annually in goods-in-kind….A full fundraising analysis is available upon request….Our auditors have noted that we have been tracking our finances effectively and efficiently due to our close oversight and adoption of an effective database. We have dramatically reduced our debt through the creative use of alternative funds and payback arrangements with partnering organizations. A financial summary and fiscal year-to-date statements are available upon request.

    Eric might do well to take more than just their name and mission. Accountability. Transparency. Honesty. Efficacy.

    By: MyThoughts on 6/30/09
    Mr Booth:

    I confess to find your math tutorial a little fuzzy.

    The truth however, is written in black and white in form of the 990s mandated by and submitted to the IRS.

    In defending your argument you suggest that I neglected to see how misleading the 990s are. What do you mean by misleading? Certainly you wouldn’t argue to the IRS that your 990s were misleading would you?

    I am also confused about some of the posts on this website relating to Mr Parkinsons oversight of VeAhavta. Some of the posts suggest that Mr. Parkinson does not oversee operations, yet the VeAhavta website idendifies him not only as the President and CEO but also as the Secretary and Director. Further confusing is a website press release dated November 17, 2008 which suggests Mr. Parkinson was removed from overseeing operations and placed into an “advisory role.”

    What prompted this action? Things just don’t seem to add up.

    I have incorporated the press release below


    NOVEMBER 17, 2008

    For the Grace: Changes in oversight; fund-raisers planned

    Recent developments with VeAhavta and our friends in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
    Grace Care Center operations to be supervised by Executive Committee based in Michigan.

    Beginning November 1, Eric Parkinson will move into an advisory role with VeAhavta, while a new executive committee, to be chaired by Dr. Naresh Gunaratnam, will take over the day-to-day operations of the Grace Care Center and will make management and policy recommendations directly to the VeAhavta Board of Directors.

    The committee will also be in charge of making fundraising recommendations.

    It is hoped, by both VeAhavta and the staff, children and elders of Grace, that a renewed interest in “Saving Grace” will stabilize funding for the orphanage.

    A committee has been assembled with Naresh, Cheryl Huckins and Lynn Helland to review the Grace Care Center’s finances and management.

    Other committees are forming to explore self-sustaining projects, media efforts, fund-raising activities and other facets of VeAhavta.

    By: Cindy on 6/30/09
    This is interesting. The Tribune just ran an article last week and there was no mention that Eric Parkinson was no longer managing this Charity, although he was mentioned several times.

    By: Peace on 6/30/09
    Dear Mr/Ms. My Thoughts:

    Since taking over control of VeAhavta approximately 8 months ago, we restructured the website and our mechanism of donation. What you have referenced is the new donation format and does not reflect the format that was in in place when Mr. Parkinson ran VeAhavta. We found the “multiple option donation” form was quite confusing to donors based on focus group feedback. I am happy to send you hardcopies of the donation forms that were used when Mr. Parkinson ran VeAhavta. I don’t have access to the “old” website to show you the way the multiple donation option was structured.

    Again thank you for your persistence in trying to find the truth in this controversy. Please keep it up.


    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09

    @MyThoughts: For your convenience here is a link to some evidence that the language once existed back when it was relevant (http://u.nu/3rgf).

    Peace and recovery to you as well.

    Steven Boothe

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09

    @MyThoughts: It would appear that since Eric is no longer on the payroll that the purpose for having such language indicating an opportunity to support him would no longer be necessary true?

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/30/09
    Okay so what do we have here…

    Someone else unwilling to stand behind their words with their name and reputation. Okay “MyThoughts”, I see you spent a significant amount of time documenting the tax returns and somehow neglecting to see how misleading they are — even though I have repeatedly pointed how the flaw in this method of interpretation. Still, I’m not unsympathetic to your fear that Eric may have let down these darling children so I will once again try to help clear this up, and I will conintue as long as innocent people continue to come by and express concern.

    So with that written, here is why the tax data is misleading and absolutely cannot be relied on for making the conclusions of guilt or fraud that so many here have assumed. Hopefully this time I will illustrate the problem clearer so that nice folks like yourself don’t have to suffer long over any fear that Eric has let down such darling children wishing to help.

    Now I realize many (like myself) don’t like mathematical word problems but I don’t think these are overly complicated and hopefully most grown ups here will be able to understand the implication once I’m finished (I’m at least confident that “Cindy” now does thankfully).

    Here we go:

    In 2005, the Boothe family spent a weekend with their children selling lemonade to raise money for the girls at GCC and managed to mark $100 dollars down on the donation form for Grace Care Center. Question: What percentage of this money went to the care center that year?
    Answer: $90 because some of that money was used for stamps and other miscellaneous necessities.

    Now the next year in 2006, the Boothe family learned that Eric was giving up his practice as an attorney so finally we’d have someone that could dedicate their time to managing all the different elements that had begun to really become a challenge and was seeming to consume all of Eric’s time. Now we know that Eric will not be allowed support from any other funds except those that are specifically earmarked for administrative expenses, so we decide to give an extra $100 dollars toward his salary as we don’t expect many others to be generous toward supporting “administrative” stuff. So this year we increase our total giving to $200; $100 dollars again toward our girls at GCC, and in addition we include $100 to support Eric.

    Question: What percentage of our money that we gave to the girls went to GCC for this year?
    Answer: 100%!
    Question: What percentage of our total donation showed up on the form 990 has having went to GCC?
    Answer: 50%!

    ***Problem***: Based on flawed logic and assumptions, some circumstantial evidence, a seven minute phone call and some rumors, Karen and a group of her followers are ready to make the incredible leap of faith and overlook all other evidence, character witnesses and context to the contrary so that they can have the joy of crying “fraud!”. There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

    Once again, if as stated on this website under “About Us”

    “WHO WE ARE CalCoastNews.com is led by Daniel Blackburn, a veteran journalist, best-selling author and former capitol bureau chief for the Orange County Register; and Karen Velie”

    Then I demand to know what Dan’s opinion is of this reporting? Is there no accountability here? Is Karen the sole editor in charge? Is there no one reviewing her work?

    By: MyThoughts on 6/30/09

    With due respect I pose some observations and questions.

    You have suggested that;

    “All donors through VeAhavta website and donation forms were asked how they would like their money used. For example, you could stipulate your money be used for children, elders, widows or for oversight. In 2006 and 2007 two VeAhavta board members specifically donated nearly $140,000 toward supporting the salary of Mr. Parkinson. These were the two largest contributions toward administrative oversight however there were many others specifically earmarked to support Mr. Parkinson.”

    Please allow me to provide the exact language on the VeAhavta “contribute” website:

    You can bring security and hope to the children and elders of Grace Care Center by making a tax deductible gift now.
    There are several ways to contribute. As a
    Grace Sponsor Choose a monthly or yearly gift to support the children and elders at Grace – click here for online gift or here to donate by mail

    Child/Elder Sponsor Donate enough to support one or more children or elders, and have your gift credited in the name(s) of the child(ren) or elder(s) of your choice – click here for online gift orhereto donate by mail

    Partner in Grace Contribute at least $400 per month, or $5000 per year, and be recognized, if you wish, by having your name placed on the wall at Grace Care Center and on our website – click here for online gift or here to donate by mail

    One Time Donor Your gift will be used where needed most for housing, educational programs, medical care, and emergency relief – click here for online gift or here donate by mail

    Hope Center Sponsor Help promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka by contributing to creation of a center where diverse and sometimes alienated peoples can meet in peace – click here for online gift or here to donate by mail

    Special Event Donation Donate a tip to a waiter of your choice for the April 25, 2009 benefit dinner

    More Information

    Why your support matters
    About Sponsorship
    How “Grace Sponsorship” Works
    How Child/Elder Sponsorship Works
    Frequently Asked Questions
    Planned Giving
    Planned Giving Options

    You may make a gift in honor of someone or as a memorial tribute. VeAhavta will send an acknowledgment to the honoree, or to the family of the person in whose memory you have donated.

    VeAhavta is committed to your privacy and security. We will not sell, trade, or rent any personal information you provide. For more information, see our privacy page.
    All online gifts are secured with up to 256-bit SSL encryption secured server.

    As you can see Peace, I don’’t see any specificity to direct donations to the salary and benefits of the CEO/Director even though you suggest that two of the VeAhavta board members contributed 140,000 to Mr Parkinsons salary and that “there were many others specifically earmarked to support Mr. Parkinson.”

    Isn’t it true that one or two of the board members are related to Mr. Parkinson? Have their donations to his salary been recouped?

    Please have Mr. Parkinson respond to these questions himself as it may offer clarity.

    Peace and integrity to you too Naresh.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 6/29/09
    Not saying this is the case here but I’m sure many people like myself think back to the 90’s and the debacle with United Way and the exe. who was making $450,000+ a year.

    By: Peace on 6/29/09
    My Thoughts makes some very good points about the percentage of donations that went to cover administrative expenses in 2006 and 2007. However, as a long time donor to VeAhavta the following information may be helpful in putting the figures in perspective.

    All donors through VeAhavta website and donation forms were asked how they would like their money used. For example, you could stipulate your money be used for children, elders, widows or for oversight. In 2006 and 2007 two VeAhavta board members specifically donated nearly $140,000 toward supporting the salary of Mr. Parkinson. These were the two largest contributions toward administrative oversight however there were many others specifically earmarked to support Mr. Parkinson.

    If 60% of donations into the general pool of donations were used for salary, yes it would be quite troubling as you state. However, if donors specifically realized the value of Mr. Parkinson in running the orphanage and elder care center and earmarked money for that specific purpose then that is their right. The fact that $140,000 of this money came from two VeAhavta board members should also tell you how much they valued and trusted Mr. Parkinson’s contribution towards running the orphanage well.

    Percentages taken globally can be quite misleading. If one foot is in boiling water and another is in freezing water, on average you should be quite comfortable. Making efforts to “drill down” and understand all the details from those who are most familiar with the operations of the organization will get you closer to the truth.



    By: StevenBoothe on 6/29/09

    @BeenThereDoneThat: Working on it. But give me a few minutes. I just got home and put our girls to bed… But really this will not take long. I’m just taking care of a few other things first. Stay tuned. Peace.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 6/29/09
    Wow!! If MyThoughts did his homework right, I would have to say that Karen’s article sounds correct.

    I am interested to read Mr. Boothe’s reply.

    PEACE. ;-)

    By: George on 6/29/09
    Unfortunately some comments were deleted by mistake,we received some very vulgar opinions from users(Zack and “8”) in SriLanka, and Cindy’s and Michelle’s got caught in the delete storm,Here they are

    Michelle posted an opinion in Cal Coast News

    @Zack – I love this excerpt from your post “its for the fools/clowns (sorry to say that)” I noticed that your sorry to say a lot of things. What was it that you posted last night but then thought better and deleted it? Something about asking Karen if she remembered you from her “collag bed” and that you used to be her “Cock-y Joe” ! Such a clown.

    Cindy posted an opinion in Cal Coast News

    @Zack – I love this excerpt from your post “its for the fools/clowns (sorry to say that)” I noticed that your sorry to say a lot of things. What was it that you posted last night but then thought better and deleted it? Something about asking Karen if she remembered you from her “collag bed” and that you used to be her “Cock-y Joe” ! Such a clown.
    sorry Cindy and Michelle

    By: MyThoughts on 6/29/09
    I’ve heard it said; that for every legitimate non profit there is another one or two that are inclined to take advantage of the goodwill and intentions shown by the public.

    Ms Velie’s past articles on the Dancing Star non profit helps illustrates the point.

    The fact that many of our young students and public organizations made donations to VeAhavta exemplifies the goodwill of our SLO community.

    I myself have donated to VeAhavta thus when I read this article and the blog posts, I felt obligated to do some homework in order to render my own decision reference the charity’s legitimacy.

    I have learned a great deal having studied the IRS forms (990) that are maintained on GuideStar.com. I encourage everyone to visit GuideStar when deciding whether or not to make charitable contributions. They are a wealth of information.

    The 990s I examined reflected the years between 2002 and 2007. They provide valuable information.

    It is noteworthy that there is also a non profit named Ve’ahavta in Toronto Canada which submitted 990s in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.

    As related to GuideStar, the Canadian group’s 990s ceased after year 2002. The 990s maintained on GuideStar for the San Luis Obispo VeAhavta began in 2003.

    I do not know if there is any link between these organizations but their mission statements appears the same.

    In studying the 990s I will summarize 3 important categories:

    Public Support – Identifies the donations received from public.

    Program Services – identifies the services which actually g to the charitable cause.

    Compensation – identifies salary, benefits and associated payroll taxes provided for the CEO or Directors of the nonprofit charity

    Year 2003
    Public Support $174,362
    Program Services $82,307
    Compensation None

    Year 2004
    Public Support $275,500
    Program Services $245,952
    Compensation None

    Year 2005 *
    Public Support $595,004
    Program Services $439,001
    Compensation $60,079 (10%)
    * Much of the fund raising in 2005 was result of the tsunami disaster

    Year 2006
    Public Support $225,443
    Program Services $170,459
    Compensation $119,006 (53%)

    Year 2007
    Public Support $218,610
    Program Services $153,366
    Compensation $136,895 (63%)

    The numbers reflected above are troublesome and suggest that often, a lions share of the publics donations are finding there way into the salary and benefits of the CEO/Director, who is identified as Eric Parkinson.

    From 2003 through 2007 public support has totaled close to 1.5 million dollars. Of that amount Mr. Parkinson has realized well over a quarter million dollars (21.2% of donations)

    I have never met Mr. Parkinson, but as mentioned earlier, I have donated to his charity via some children who were gathering funds for Tsunami Relief on Broad Street. These children’s enthusiasm and kind spirit exemplify America at its best and I fear you let them down Mr. Parkinson.

    By: Cindy on 6/29/09
    Well then Mr. Boothe, I have an idea for you and your group. Considering that there is currently no indication that a couple of benevolent families earmarked $130K and $140K as donations to specifically fund Mr. Parkinson’s salary & benefits,then why not verify it for everyone? I suggest that you request a copy of these families receipts for this donation and a copy of their tax returns along with a consent to verify. If CCN doesn’t want to assist you with this fact finding endeavor then you can send it to me and I’ll post the verified results on behalf of your Charity. Of course these families may want to request a confidentiality agreement prior to the release of these records. I am only interested in the years 2006 & 07.

    By: Peace on 6/29/09
    I am a gastroenterologist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have known Eric Parkinson for six years and now am part of an oversight committee that is trying to manage Grace Care Center.

    I have been at Grace twice with Mr. Parkinson, each time for two weeks. In experiences such as we have had, you learn a great deal about the character of a man and the forces that drive him. I therefore can comment on both Mr. Parkinson and the operations of Grace.

    In July 2004 Mr. Parkinson and I spent hours building a playground for the 100 girls who were living there. Some of the children had watched their parents be killed or commit suicide. Mr. Parkinson’s motivation was try to give the children a place where they again “could be children”.

    There were also many elders in the area of the orphanage who were abandoned, and therefore lived in the streets. Inspired by the example of Mother Theresa, Mr Parkinson felt it was immoral for anyone to die alone. For that reason, we also started to plan and build an elder care facility for 60 elder “orphans”. That elder care center is now up and running, and provides a home to over 50 otherwise homeless elders.

    Mr. Parkinson and I spent many hours during our trips trying to teach the children at Grace to speak English, and we worked with the local school to improve the girls’ scholastic achievement. On the day we left, after my first trip, 100 girls (average age 10) sat crossed legged on the floor with tears streaming down their faces and pleaded with Mr. Parkinson: “please don’t leave us Appa (father in Tamil)”. With tears streaming down his face, Mr. Parkinson replied: “I love you all as much as my own children and I will come back soon.”

    My second trip with Mr. Parkinson was in 2005, two months after the tsunami which killed over 40,000 people in Sri Lanka. Given that Grace Care Center is located on the beach, the facility was damaged. In addition to coordinating the activities of medical relief teams and overseeing the rebuilding efforts at Grace, Mr. Parkinson visited other orphanages that had been similarly affected. He donated $17,000 from Grace funds to repair a Hindu orphanage which had been severely damaged but lacked the funds to rebuild. Mr. Parkinson then met with the local fisherman’s union and negotiated a written agreement, where VeAhavta would purchase four fishing boats for fisherman who had lost their boats, provided that the fisherman would donate a portion of their catch to help support other disadvantaged fishermen.

    By the end of 2005, Grace cared for 100 orphaned girls, was bringing elders into the just-completed elder care facility, provided daycare to 100 children who came from a nearby camp for internally displaced persons, provided vocational training (including room and board) on site to 60 older girls, and provided loans to over 100 widows who were interested in trying to start businesses.

    Trying to manage all these programs efficiently from 12,000 miles away in the US could not be done “part time”. The VeAhavta board therefore voted to support Mr. Parkinson so he could focus exclusively on running Grace. Two VeAhavta board members each donated about $70,000 during the next two years with the stipulation that these monies would be used exclusively to support Mr. Parkinson as he tried to oversee Grace and run VeAhavta.

    It is safe to assume that the board members of VeAhavta, who were themselves intimately familiar with the operations of Grace, who interacted with Mr. Parkinson frequently, who were distinguished and accomplished citizens of San Luis Obispo themselves, and who chose to donate $140,000 of their OWN money to support Mr. Parkinson’s efforts, are in a better position to assess the character and motivations of Mr. Parkinson than is Ms. Velie.

    The task of trying to manage all the programs at Grace from the US, given the limitations of distance, erratic communication, an escalating war, a falling donor pool and rampant inflation, became overwhelming. Despite Mr. Parkinson’s best efforts to keep all the programs operational, he was unsuccessful. By October 2008 Mr. Parkinson had suffered both professionally and personally, and could no longer run Grace. He asked me to form an oversight committee to try to take his place.

    In the subsequent months, I organized an oversight committee from around the country. That committee currently consists of three physicians, a federal prosecutor for southeast Michigan, an editor of a newspaper and author who spent four years writing a book about Grace, a CEO of a health care organization, a grade school teacher, and two university professors. The common thread that bound us together was the respect and admiration we had for Mr. Parkinson and our desire to preserve the refuge he had created at Grace for those who had been the most vulnerable victims of the protracted 25 year Sri Lankan civil war that had resulted in over 100,000 deaths.

    All of us have been to Grace at least once, and some have visited and worked at Grace five times. We are now collectively trying to perform the work that Mr. Parkinson performed by himself for over six years. After nearly eight months of trying to run Grace and raise the money to support it, with weekly meetings, daily phone calls, emails, etc. I can honestly tell you the task can be overwhelming. We have to deal with every aspect of operation including funding, daily operations, management, and a physical plant that needs significant repairs.

    We currently are working hard to provide the funding needed to support the remaining 50 children and 50 elders at Grace. All other Grace programs have been shut down due to lack of funding. Given the end of the civil war, the need for orphanages and elder care centers is great. There are an estimated 7000 internally displaced people in the area around Grace. There are an additional 300,000 people being held in detention camps against their will. Sri Lanka is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. VeAhavta is one of the few NGO’s functioning to provide aid to those affected by the war.

    With this as a background, Ms. Velie’s unsubstantiated claims have made our efforts to keep Grace running, and to aid those affected by the war, more difficult. She has every right to “investigate” individuals who may be running illegal scams. However, before she defames the character of an individual she has never met and questions the legitimacy of an effective humanitarian relief operation about which she knows next to nothing, perhaps a bit of “investigative reporting” is in order. It has been said that one should never judge a man until you walked a mile in his shoes. All we ask of Ms. Velie is to take a few steps in Mr. Parkinson’s shoes before she casts judgment.

    Here is a suggestion. There are several individuals from San Luis Obispo who are not only donors to VeAhavta, but know Mr. Parkinson and have also have visited Grace. There are also over 30 people from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who also can voice their opinions about VeAhavta and Grace. Why not interview the board members who chose to support Mr. Parkinson with their OWN funds? Perhaps speaking to these individuals would be wise before Ms. Velie characterizes Mr. Parkinson as unscrupulous. Ms. Velie also has an open invitation to visit Grace. I would dare not write a headline like “Incompetent reporter mistakenly defames orphanage director”, without first meeting and interviewing Ms. Velie, reviewing her writing portfolio, and getting opinions from her colleagues and associates. Mr. Parkinson deserves a similar courtesy.

    There is also suggestion in Ms. Velie’s writing that Mr. Parkinson is somehow part of the ongoing controversy in Sri Lanka relating to Rev. Jeyanesan. This inferred “guilt by association” is also irresponsible. I do not have any insight regarding the present allegations against Rev Jeyanesan, but can tell you his role with Grace is mainly to oversee the clergy who are assigned to Grace. His base of operations is about 100 miles away from Grace and he has very little contact with Grace (in the past two years he has visited Grace about five times). Money that is intended for Grace operations is wired to a bank near Grace, and the local manager of Grace handles the account – NOT Rev Jeyanesan. Rev Jeyanesan runs 5 other orphanages 100 miles from Grace. Whatever legal proceedings are occurring in Sri Lanka relate to those facilities or to the dispute taking place in his church, and not to Grace or VeAhavta. Therefore it is incorrect to extrapolate the present legal proceedings against Rev Jeyanesan to VeAhavta or Mr. Parkinson.

    As a physician specializing in the care of gastrointestinal oncology my reputation is vital to my livelihood. This is true for any professional, be they a doctor, lawyer, teacher or even a journalist. A good reputation as an honest, competent, scrupulous, hard working and caring professional takes years of effort and a documented history of extraordinary service. Mr. Parkinson has such a reputation as a lawyer in practice in San Luis Obispo for over a decade, and has a similar reputation when he formerly attended to Grace. Reputations that take decades to develop can also be tarnished overnight by irresponsible, inaccurate, and malicious accusations. Ms. Velie has attempted to taint Mr. Parkinson unfairly.

    Mr. Parkinson is one of the finest men I know. He is an unselfish, honest, and humble man who is the living embodiment of the Biblical mandate to “Love your Neighbor”. Very few people can come close to fulfilling this mandate – Mr. Parkinson is an exception. We are both fathers of young children and both are motivated to give the children and elders at Grace what we have provided for our own families. We want to provide safety, health, education, respect and hope to those most innocent victims of brutal Sri Lankan civil war. In the seven years of operations of Grace I believe we have succeeded, and the legions of American volunteers who risk their own safety, and donate their own time and money, can lend their testimonials to this assertion. Perhaps this does not make for a sensational headline, or a “startling investigative revelation” but it is the boring truth.

    In the Twitterized world of Internet “reporting” where allegations fly without substantiation and speed trumps careful research, Ms. Velie’s writing is a great example of how harmful such reporting can be. Her writing has personally hurt Mr. Parkinson and those who love him. A competent reporter works hard to gather the facts from many sources before making sweeping allegations. A medical school professor once told me “never make a diagnosis with limited data – if you do, you will eventually kill someone”. This wise counsel may also suit Ms. Velie well.

    Naresh T. Gunaratnam MD
    Ann Arbor, MI

    By: Cindy on 6/29/09
    Well then Mr. Boothe, I have an idea for you and your group. Considering that there is currently no indication that a couple of benevolent families earmarked $130K and $140K as donations to specifically fund Mr. Parkinson’s salary & benefits,then why not verify it for everyone? I suggest that you request a copy of these families receipts for this donation and a copy of their tax returns along with a consent to verify. If CCN doesn’t want to assist you with this fact finding endeavor then you can send it to me and I’ll post the verified results on behalf of your Charity. Of course these families may want to request a confidentiality agreement prior to the release of these records. I am only interested in the years 2006 & 07.

    By: zack on 6/29/09
    Hi everyone, As considering your report and comments i can clearly say that Mr. Eric and the team is involved in true social work. Mr. Eric and his service is appreciated. I know and must admit that this article is rubbish if it means anything then its for the fools/clowns (sorry to say that) Please tell me KAREN why did you become so interested suddenly to writ about this. what motivated you. Isn’t there anything political. I can see that your have write this for in favor for someone else you LOVE. be true to your family. be a faithful wife.

    By: Honesty on 6/29/09

    By: MyThoughts on 6/28/09
    Mr Boothe:

    You are making a valient attempt at damage control but the truth is obvious.

    I know you are closely alligned with the organization that is under scrutiny …

    More to come … be it the truth !!!

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/28/09
    Cindy writes: “Mr Boothe, You are insistent that Karen should have reported the contents of all the 990 tax returns and not just the most recent.”

    No I insist that she should have done more honest research before publishing what she did. I insist she should have asked for an explanation for those percentages and published that explanation if she still felt like it was all so important.

    Cindy continued: “Should the story have read that four years after founding a charity in Sri Lanka Eric began drawing a salary. During 2005, Eric drew a salary and benefits of 60K. By 2006 he was drawing well over 100K (52.7% of the years total contributions) and by 2007 he drew 62% of the total donations. The Charities 2008 tax records have not been filed. Does that sound any better?”

    Are you still stuck on those ratios? The tax return simply doesn’t show how donations were ear marked! Should those benevolent families who had means to support Eric not been given the opportunity to deduct these as donations on their taxes simply because of how it would appear on the form 990? Maybe there is a case to be made for that in hind sight, as appearances count for a lot. But as we have all learned over the years, not everything is as it appears on the surface, and this is where Karen’s lack of research falls over. This story ruins her credibility in opinion. Knowing that so many credible professionals were involved, would have seemed to be a huge red flag before running the story that she did. Now I’m afraid her chances of making it with CCN are hugely diminished and that’s a shame.

    You write:
    “If I had donated $10,000 to this cause and then learned that Eric had pocketed $6,200 of my funds I would have been very angry, in fact I would have been furious.”

    There are a couple of points I’d like to make here:

    1. No I don’t believe if you had donated $10K to this cause and stipulated it for Eric’s salary just as we did, you would have been upset at all.

    2. If you had donated $10K to go toward the care of GCC and you read the tax forms and came to the former conclusion because you hadn’t paid attention when notice was given that funds for admin went to admin and funds to GCC went to GCC, then I guess anyone would have a natural cause to be alarmed and ***call VeAhavta*** for an explanation! Which upon doing so it would have been explained in clear detail that your funds went to the kids during a time when the economy had severely impacted giving in general. The reason his salary remained intact however was due to the kindness, sacrifice and generosity of those who didn’t pull the plug on his salary when times were tough. What is so wrong with this?

    Further regarding Jey you write:
    “Another thing, why would VeAhavta continue to wire the balance of it’s contributions to a person with a reputation like Jeyanesan has in Sri Lanka?”

    Two things here:

    One: I can verify James’s account that with very few exceptions funds are never wired directly to Jey, and when they are, there is good reason for it such as during the direct aftermath of the tsunami!?!?! But again, these were exceptional circumstances and were noted as such in our special calls for funds such at the time, and Jey’s work was no less exceptional during this time. Just go back and read of how he managed. We have no idea what kind of hell Jey was dealing with at this time and how he held himself together while slogging through the water with the boys from the orphanage and vocational training center to help pull bodies from the water and coordinating relief is just beyond any capacity I could ever fathom for myself. . So in fact, James Mitchell correct in his account and I can testify to that with my own first hand experience both here and at GCC.

    Secondly: You raise the question of how we could continue to work with someone of Jey’s reputation and my answer is quite simple here. Because the accounts of one Victor Karunairajan sitting in Canada do not a reputation make. Jey’s reputation is legendary in Sri Lanka among the poor and the oppressed on all sides of the religious/ethnic divide. As I wrote before, Sri Lanka is a hotbed of corruption and struggles for power. It is a miracle Jey is still alive and I find little fault with him for not showing up for court in a land where for so many that could have been the last you hear of someone again. I’ve read through Victor’s accounts and like this account put together by Karen, the facts have just never added up yet. Jey has been a huge influence for good and that is the reputation that we are working with, and until that changes my personal love and admiration for the man remains unchanged as well. As for Victor? Now him I’d like to know more about. Any volunteers?

    You go on:

    “They would also find volunteers to assist the founder with his “busy work” in SLO so that he could resume his law practice while managing from abroad. Thats just everyday common sense.”

    Easier said than done. Feel free to give it a try sometime. I’m sure we could all benefit from your passing down of this expertise. Please don’t hesitate to volunteer your time and energy if you have some to offer.


    “I mean you no offense however, I have to agree that you do sound like a group of fanatics who display cult like behavior in your posts…”

    All I can say is that this seems like odd rhetoric to be bringing into this discussion, but since you raised this too, I’m curious, are you an active church goer? What kind of context are you coming from that you would make that kind of statement? I’m asking sincerely. Thanks.

    Last but not least, how come none of Karen’s supporters are willing to stand with her by signing with their full name??? Something here also seems to be getting fishier with each new alias.

    All the best,

    Steven Boothe

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/28/09
    I agree Zack and in a way I am sympathetic. It would be great if she could make amends and we could all move on to something better. Peace.

    By: zack on 6/28/09
    Well God Knwows whats on KAREN VELIE’s braines i think she needs medicationes to make in-proper reports like this

    By: Honesty on 6/28/09
    My last few words: I think CCN is based in sensationalism.

    CCN supporters calling people like myself “religious fanatic’s” and “liar’s” is baseless and untrue. It is a thinly veiled attempt to discredit people who know Eric Parkinson as an upright, honorable and benevolent man.

    We are local voices who unlike CCN and its supporters actually have volunteered time and donated money to assist the needy. We as donors and supporters do not feel in the least bit cheated.

    Assisting the poor, you’ve heard of it haven’t you, its called charity. Or let me translate it into your language: “fundamentalist, fanatic, jihad of providing to orphans and the poor” … that sound’s so much better doesn’t it.. Much more sensational and more likely to get people to engage in the meaningless dribble put forth by your pseudo-publication. It makes for great gossip!

    And for the big talkers who state “all of the work of running the organization could have been done by volunteers.” They have obviously never worked for or with an NGO. Completely volunteer efforts are typically short lived and temporary. And the business of running an orphanage and elder care center in a war zone is not something that can be just handed off to freshman student Scooter Johnson at Cal Poly.

    The larger an international NGO becomes, the smaller the percentage of administrative costs. The inverse of this is also true. Take a closer look at MSF, IMC and others. It will become apparent that the majority of their administrative staff are located in the country of service.

    This reduces costs exponentially. Given the instability of the region and the lack of educated and trustable administrative personnel in Trinco, the task of continuing a noble effort like the Grace Orphanage is overwhelmingly difficult and time intensive. The costs of administration may seem high but they are both justified and supported by the donors who earmarked these funds for eric’s salary for his short stent as a salaried employee.

    My defense of eric is a defense of the truth and what is good. The use of religious verb-age doesn’t make one a religious fanatic. Just as the lack of doing so does not make one a secularist.

    Yes, I do believe strongly in my dear friend Eric. He is a person that inspired me to spend less time thinking about myself and return to assisting the indigent. The guy drives around in an old beat up pick up toyota pick up truck, while others with whom he attended law school are picking up their next Lexus 460.

    Eric is the real deal. He is the most honest and noble person that i know. He is a father not just to his own kids, but to a hundred more in Sri Lanka. Knowing the man personally, your criticism of him is worse to me than if i were criticized myself.

    Furthermore, if my references to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad makes me “religious fanatic” in your eyes, then your opinions are just as meaningless as this article.

    As far as toxic kool aide is concerned, he’s never mixed me a glass, but his tea is just fantastic! At times i’ve even had 3 cups in one sitting.

    Anyone who questions Eric’s intentions should sit down with him drink some tea and have a conversation. I can assure you it will be far more honest and enlightening than reading this rubbish being put forth as journalism.


    By: Cindy on 6/28/09
    Mr Boothe, You are insistent that Karen should have reported the contents of all the 990 tax returns and not just the most recent. Should the story have read that four years after founding a charity in Sri Lanka Eric began drawing a salary. During 2005, Eric drew a salary and benefits of 60K. By 2006 he was drawing well over 100K (52.7% of the years total contributions) and by 2007 he drew 62% of the total donations. The Charities 2008 tax records have not been filed. Does that sound any better?
    If I had donated $10,000 to this cause and then learned that Eric had pocketed $6,200 of my funds I would have been very angry, in fact I would have been furious. I wouldn’t care about the fact that if I had gave the contribution in 2004 that most of it would have been used as I had intended. I would also have had a very difficult time excepting the story that Eric works full time in SLO managing a small orphanage on the other side of the world and that his pocketing 62% of my good faith funds is justified. Another thing, why would VeAhavta continue to wire the balance of it’s contributions to a person with a reputation like Jeyanesan has in Sri Lanka? A responsible organization would immediately distance themselves away from his handling of funds. They would also find volunteers to assist the founder with his “busy work” in SLO so that he could resume his law practice while managing from abroad. Thats just everyday common sense.
    I mean you no offense however, I have to agree that you do sound like a group of fanatics who display cult like behavior in your posts and even contradict each other regarding facts. Your Mr Mitchell appears to be grossly misinformed or an outright liar.

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/28/09
    I refuse to lower myself to the level of mud slinging going on here.

    However, we have five tax returns to look at, and they are all transparently and easily located from VeAhavta’s home page under Who We Are: Financial & Tax Information. Here is a direct link for convenience (http://youshalllove.org/who-we-are/financial_tax_info.html).

    Once again, I find it curious that no one has mentioned the rest of these tax returns. It would seem to me that anyone trying to build an understanding of the complete picture would not have left so much out of their efforts unless the only kind of questions were trying to raise were “loaded questions” with the intent to harm.

    What I simply cannot figure though is why the interest in disparaging this organization? I mean of all the ones to pick on, why this one in which so many needy children, families and destitute receive comfort and aid? What could possibly be gained by running such a skewed selection of information devoid of context?

    Some have continually expressed concern over the ratio of expenses in these last two tax returns, and once again, I will try to alleviate the stench that Karen has tracked into this story.

    Here is a receipt showing that funds to support Eric were required to be clearly designated as “Administrative Expenses” in order for him to “help himself to them” (http://u.nu/3rgf) — following the approval of the Board of Directors of course.

    Here is a newsletter in which you can cross reference how well Eric was keeping expenses down during those first three years (http://u.nu/4sgf).

    And again, even after this, when the burden of maintaining day-to-day operations began to consume all of his time, even after the board of directors approved him to begin getting support form the organization, it was Eric who insisted that no funds would ever go to him that were intended for the girls, elders, and other necessities associated with GCC. Hence when it became clear that his own family had nearly exhausted their own savings, certain individuals stepped up to help support him by stipulating enough to administrative expenses. Of course these are details the tax forms don’t stipulate. They just reflect how the money was expensed — not by whom it was donated or how it was stipulated.

    I think this should now be enough for any innocent passerby here to understand.

    As to the tax return declaring efforts to help the homeless in SLO county. That is indeed the case of example of how Eric believed that our efforts should not only be limited to overseas ventures and hence spent significant time trying to build another movement to do locally what he had worked so hard to express and realize in Sri Lanka — that basically “it takes a village” and that is what that video and accompanying statistical presentation was meant to do. I’ll try to get my hands on it and post it for those who would be interested in “building up” rather than “tearing down”.

    One more time for all to remember, Eric gave it about two years of blood-sweat-and-tears in his capacity as a full-time staff for VeAhavta, but by January 2008, it was clear that he needed to do something else and pulled out. So for someone who is being smeared for trying to bilk $$$ from orphans and widows for his own gain, it makes no sense that he emptied his time and savings into the organization for the first three years, specifically and severely limited how he could be financially supported for the next two, and after all of that, finally removed himself from paid support after exhausting what little he had left to give — his time and emotional capacity to keep managing the stress that had been taking it’s toll on him from the day he began this heroic venture to save the world through saving the world of one child at at time.

    That is all I have right now, but it would great if all the anonymous folks would begin signing their complete names to their posts in a show of willingness to stand behind the sincerity and integrity of their intentions.


    Steven Boothe

    P.S. Where is Dan Blackburn? If he has really left this website, then is not this website engaged in deceiving potential sponsors by continuing to declaring his roll under “About us”? Interesting.

    By: InTheKnow on 6/28/09
    In a group of articles on their website the group changes their story about what occurred during the Tsunami. First they claim miraculously all the children were removed in time because of early warnings. Then they claim the kids were all on a field trip, a miracle from God. They also
    first claim the orphanage and faculties were destroyed by the Tsunami.

    Not long after they changed there tune and said only minor damage.

    Sounds like a con to me. Do they think it is OK because some of the money actually goes to help orphans?

    This rest of the following articles are no longer readable on the site. Many articles that appear to show the true nature of this group appear to be available, but then the links to the rest of the story don’t work.

    “Eric Parkinson Sends Update From Sri Lanka (Posted: February 19, 2005, 1:30 p.m., PST)

    “Eric Parkinson, President of VeAhavta (California) has sent his first report summarizing his initial experiences upon returning to Grace Care Center since the tsunami disaster. You may view his report here….”

    “VeAhavta in the News (Posted: February 22, 2005, 9:00 p.m., PST)

    “Relief crew descends on Trincomalee“ By James Mitchell

    “Editor’s note: HomeTown Newspapers reporter James Mitchell is traveling with and helping a group of volunteers who are providing medical assistance and assessing what it will take to rebuild an orphanage and senior home in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

    “TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka – Red-eyed, travel-weary and glowing with anticipation, a band of 13 volunteers arrived from Michigan and received a warm welcome Sunday by more than 100 orphan girls at Grace Care Center. …. an organization that built the orphanage and a center for aging residents who have nowhere else to go. (continue reading the complete article here)”

    VeAhavta in the News (Posted: February 26, 2005, 6:00 p.m., PST)

    “West Makes Trip to East

    “By James Mitchell

    “Editor’s note: HomeTown Newspapers reporter James Mitchell is traveling with and helping a group of volunteers who are providing medical assistance and assessing what it will take to rebuild an orphanage and senior home in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

    “[Correction by VeAhavta: While this is truly a beautiful article, it also states incorrectly that Grace Care Center’s “orphanage and elders senior home were destroyed”, this is explicitly not true. The orphanage was indeed damaged, but miraculously the damage was only light to moderate(!!!), and being that the senior home was still under construction it only sustained loss of building materials(!!!). See the reports from Rev. Jeyanesan below for more details.]”

    Another unavailable article. Where there is smoke, there is a usually fire.

    It seems the charismatic Parkinson’s followers would go as far as drinking toxic Kool-Aid if he asked them to.

    By: Nameless on 6/28/09

    I don’t think this article stops people like you from donating money to this or any other causes. 60% of donations for expenses are very high and thats what must be kept in mind when one writes a check to any NGO. I would not give a penny to any organization that spends more then 10% of its income on self supporting overhead and expenses.
    You can keep giving as you please and let Karen do her work. She only reports, you decide.

    By: Zuke on 6/28/09
    If this ain’t rotten, it sure has an awful stench nonetheless.

    Any “charity” that consumes 60% of it’s donations in operating expenses, namely wages, almost ceases to be a charity in my mind, and becomes more of a hobby or a self-serving entrepreneurial venture.

    I can’t believe how many white collar crooks lurk in SLO! Who knew?

    By: Honesty on 6/28/09
    To anyone of repute… don’t waste anymore time on this ridiculous article.

    The only impropriety here are the ravings of a quidnunc, who was quick to report on something she knew nothing about.

    All of us who support VeAhavta, know Eric’s honesty and dedication to the girls and elders, his years of volunteer service and his willingness to put aside his career to work for this small NGO.

    After this insulting and damaging piece,anything that is reported from Cal Coast News is to me forever suspect.

    Karen, you were simply not qualified to report on this story. What do you know about Sri Lanka, its struggles, its culture, or its history. What do you know about small NGO’s and the costs of staffing in first world vs. the areas where the missions are run. Furthermore, you’ve never been to Sri Lanka, you never interviewed Rev. Jey, you know nothing of the early years of VeAhavta and the sacrifices of its founders, and you spent all of 7 minutes interviewing Eric for this article of “suspect motives”.

    Karen, a piece of advise, take some time to research your material before you report, or you end up looking entirely foolish. Beyond this, you have slapped the face of a man who dedicated much to many. He deserves at very least written apology. However, i don’t expect it from you… you didn’t set out to report the news, you set out like FOX news, to create it. And all of us can read between the lines. Insincere reporting is apparent to the insightful.

    The rest of the hotdogs, blue monkeys, and other anonymous detractors, you are mistaken. I understand and share the passion to attack opportunists of the indigent, but i assure you that this is not the case here. Eric Parkinson is a remarkable man, with such a clean and pure heart. One of you referred to those defending Eric as being cultish. If that is the case then it is the most diverse cult in history (including Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindu’s and Muslims).

    We defend our brother Eric, as Aaron defended Moses, as John the Baptist defended Christ, and as Ali defended Muhammad. He represents what is best in our petty human race: the qualities of love, selflessness and forbearance. Eric we love you and we will forever support and defend you.

    By: Cindy on 6/28/09
    Nancy – J Mitchell tried to give us the same line of BS that Lynn H did only he claims to have witnessed and confirmed it!
    According to Mitchell – “Those arguments and assumptions fail when this fact is taken into account: The money from VeAhavta does not go to Rev. Jeyanesan, which I have have proven through first-hand experience and professional journalism. Donations to VeAhavta are administered through the Grace Care Center in Trincomalee. Again, I have witnessed and confirmed this first-hand. Rev. Jeyanesan neither receives nor distributes VeAhavta funds.”

    LMAO Again!

    By: Nancy on 6/28/09
    I just love this.. Lynn H says “Ms. Velie also asserts that the money which is donated to VeAhavta and which does not go to Mr. Parkinson goes to one Reverend Jeyanesan in Sri Lanka (with whom she also finds fault), suggesting that perhaps none of the donations go to the children and elders at the Grace Center. This, too, is false. VeAhavta sends no money to Rev. Jeyanesan.”

    From the VeAhavta Newsroom on your website:
    “We have just 6 hours left to raise the remaining $2,806 that we need to meet our goal of $15,000.
    “All funds will be wired to Rev. Dr. Jeyanesan tomorrow morning, so please donate on-line right now to “Where Needed
    Most” in whatever amount you can.”

    These supporters would do best to say nothing. So far 80% of what they are posting can be proven as inaccurate ranting and maybe even outright lying. Just the facts please.

    By: Nancy on 6/28/09
    LynnHelland – There was also a 60K salary in 2005. Something here doesn’t make a sense. In 2005 the contributions were $595,000. The organization decided to start paying a great big salary to Erik so that he could work at increasing revenue. So in 2006 the revenue went down to $225,000 and in 2007 it went down to $218,000 ? Why would anyone want to contribute to an organization that pays over 50% of it’s contributions to someone working abroad? Just what does Erik do 8 hours a day in SLO for this center out in Sri Lanka?

    By: hotdog on 6/28/09
    With all these high powered and well spoken advocates for the charity, and fair amount of money, where is the 2008 tax return? I filed mine long before April 15.

    By: Cindy on 6/28/09
    Steven Boothe says, “@Cindy: Um you mean “Form” singular right? How come no one, including Karen has compared the figures for all of the forms for each tax year that VeAhavta has submitted eh? Oh then there would be no “story” huh. Fail.”

    Wrong Steven, I mean forms as in plural. The difference between 2007 and 2006 is that in 2006 Mr. Parkinson helped himself to approximately 50% of the donations to cover his salary, benefits and payroll taxes (52.7% to be exact) for a total of $119K.

    J Mitchell, This isn’t complicated at all. I understand it perfectly.
    Can’t wait to see 2008!

    By: InTheKnow on 6/28/09
    To J Mitchell,

    Are you going to say there was not an arrest warrant for Jeyanesan that was ended after he turned himself in?

    Are you going to say that 62 percent of all funds raised did not go to Parkinson in 2007?

    Are you going to say it is OK to claim on tax forms your group helps the homeless in SLO County when they don’t?

    The article is not about how happy the volunteers are or that there is an orphanage. The facts are numerous entities from the Sri Lankin Guardian, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India, and to the Sri Lanka government have questioned the ethics of Jeyanesan. And that Parkinson was paid more than 60 percent of all donations in 2007. All these are facts, not opinions.

    You are listed on websites as the groups PR guy. You need to research your group’s website, it does state the money goes straight to Jeyanesan.

    Public relations people cannot call themselves journalists,they write spin and work to clean up messes.

    From the VeAhavta Newsroom on your website:

    “We have just 6 hours left to raise the remaining $2,806 that we need to meet our goal of $15,000.

    “All funds will be wired to Rev. Dr. Jeyanesan tomorrow morning, so please donate on-line right now to “Where Needed
    Most” in whatever amount you can.”

    By: JMitchell on 6/28/09
    @ Steven: Well put, sir. Although we haven’t personally met, our friends in Trinco speak well of you (I’m here now). You pinpointed the biggest problem in this online mess: As a reporter and editor, I’ve never been able to respect “anonymous” opinions — it is so easy to criticize and accuse while protecting your identity. Those reading this should take serious note of the fact that so many highly credible individuals gladly sign their name in support of Eric and the Grace Care Center.
    @ Cindy: One source, or form, does not a complete story make. There is always another side to the story, and responsible journalists wait until they have gathered both before shamelessly posting half-truths. Actually, in Sri Lanka — which Karen wouldn’t know having never been here — there’s more than two sides to most stories. These are complicated matters that she scratched the surface of, with all the attention-span of a blogging/Facebook culture. It took me more than four years to complete my book; as Steven and the others can attest, before finding any answers it took at least a year to properly phrase the questions.

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    By: StevenBoothe on 6/28/09
    @Cindy: Um you mean “Form” singular right? How come no one, including Karen has compared the figures for all of the forms for each tax year that VeAhavta has submitted eh? Oh then there would be no “story” huh. Fail.

    @George: I appreciate the selective quotes you drummed up from Google, but if there is a potential story here it is in the identity and associations connected with the author of those quotes. How come you didn’t bother noting that all of them are from the same author that Karen cited? This guy (Victor Karunairajan) is a real curiosity that I’d love to know more about. Eric and I have been aware of his writings for quite some time. For instance Googling for both his and Jey’s last name returns some very interesting results (http://u.nu/86cf). and believe me I’ve read through these results repeatedly over the years — something you’d expect of a responsible donor looking to make sure his money is not being mishandled. However, reading through his stuff doesn’t take long to establish that he does indeed have an “axe to grind”, and when taken into account, his long screeds just don’t jive with either the facts as we know them, or the reality on the ground — except to confirm that Sri Lanka is indeed a hot bed of religious/political corruption, intrigue and struggles for power on a level that makes The DaVinci Code look like a saturday morning cartoon. If anyone is even remotely interested in discovering more to the story, they need look no further than the last few “conventions” of the JDCSI. But that’d require actually going to Sri Lanka to get those testimonies because this Victor character is the only one out there writing about the relevant proceedings, but his angle is from the side wishing to smear Jey’s name. Still, even so, he does at least provide an account of things taking place in the JDCSI that would otherwise be unreported even if it is from an overtly hostile point of view. The other side of the story, and hence any testimony to the contrary is not being published most likely for reasons Jame Mitchel cited about the very real risk of harm for doing so. But these stories are there, they just require visiting the island and speaking directly with the locals — which I have done, and I have heard with my own ears the stories from these people who have survived against such overwhelming odds in a climate of so much violence, oppression and scarcity of peace.

    One more thing I find of particular curiosity in the comments of this thread is how the only folks with the courage to give their full names here are those willing to stand with Eric, and I’m proud to be counted among such fine company. I love you all. In sad contrast, I just can’t help wonder at the dubious loyalty and agenda (even identity) of so many “anonymous sources” that are so quickly chiming in with nothing more than continuing the same short-sighted and debunked innuendos. Seems like there is a whole new story unfolding right before us, and I wonder what David Blackburn and the current or perspective sponsors will think of all this…


    Steven Boothe

    By: Cindy on 6/27/09
    To LynnHelland,

    Your joking , right? Like there is so much more than what is in writing as in the 990 forms. LMAO.

    By: JMitchell on 6/27/09
    I have to ask: What exactly is Karen “on” to? As a reporter, she simply took something (an opinion piece) and made assumptions as if that opinion were fact. This is the mark of an amateur, not a journalist.
    Those arguments and assumptions fail when this fact is taken into account: The money from VeAhavta does not go to Rev. Jeyanesan, which I have have proven through first-hand experience and professional journalism. Donations to VeAhavta are administered through the Grace Care Center in Trincomalee. Again, I have witnessed and confirmed this first-hand. Rev. Jeyanesan neither receives nor distributes VeAhavta funds.
    My first visit to the Grace Care Center was sponsored by a legitimate news agency (not a web site), and my publisher confirmed VeAhavta’s credibility prior to my trip.
    It is difficult to believe that readers of this believe what CalCoastNews is doing constitutes “investigative journalism.” Has she spoken to Rev. Jeyanesan? Has she visited Sri Lanka or the Grace Care Center? Has she interviewed VeAhavta volunteers? Has she taken a look at the operations in Trincomalee?
    The answer to all those questions is ‘No,’ and therefore the report on CalCoastNews is an opinion, and not a work of actual journalism. Repeating the work or words of another writer or publication used to be called ‘plagiarism,’ unfortunately some seem to consider it research.
    The sad part is, a few people tossing around irrelevant accusations on this web site may have a negative impact on VeAhavta’s ability to assist those who are desperately in need of help. Perhaps Karen should consider the results of her ‘journalism’ before continuing to practice this version of it.

    By: George on 6/27/09
    In the interest of clarity excerpts from various stories found on Google.
    Arrest warrant against Bogus Doctorate priest, Sellathurai Jeyanesan……….
    “Perhaps Father Sellathurai Jeyanesan evidently fancies CACM as a newly emerging nation state, a kind of Vatican within the City of Rome inside the Wanni enclave! Ridiculous as it may be, but that is what he did to breakaway to become a head of a church of his own creation when he was not appointed the bishop of the JDCSI.
    his buddies say
    “Of course the funds he is talking about are what he has been garnering in the US, Europe particularly in Holland and Israel as a priest of the JDCSI for widows, orphans and needy people especially in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. His collection tactics need showcase projects and that he has, but they all belong to the JDCSI and launched when he was a priest of that church.”……….. I think Karen is on to something here,over due tsunami donations are just the tip of the iceberg.

    By: JMitchell on 6/27/09
    My name is James Mitchell, and yes, I am a “program volunteer” as Karen Velie described when referring to my book, “But for the Grace: Profiles in Peace From a Nation at War.”
    I am also a reporter and author of 20-plus years experience, one of many, many facts Ms. Velie did not confirm before posting this online attack on Eric Parkinson and the Grace Care Center.
    As a journalist, it is obvious that Ms. Velie’s “research” consisted of poking around online and making one telephone call. As an author, I have visted the Grace Care Center many times, interviewed dozens of volunteers, countless Sri Lankans and — most important — the children and elders whose lives have been saved because of VeAhavta. Ms. Velie never had to leave a chair to post her attack on Mr. Parkinson and VeAhavta’s credibility.
    I can state from personal and professional experience that the funds donated to VeAhavta are received by and spent at the Grace Care Center, and are not managed by Rev. Jeyanesan. This is one of many, many inaccuracies in Ms. Veile’s blog-disguised-as-a-report.
    As I write this, I am at the Grace Care Center in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. If Ms. Velie would like to confirm my facts, she is welcome to come pay a visit (it’s called research). Here, as I have, she could speak with local child welfare officials, clergy, hospital workers and others who know for a fact that Grace Care Center saves the lives of children and destitute elders.
    If Ms. Velie were to leave her chair, she would also know that the credibility of many Sri Lankan English-language publications and web sites is dubious in a nation where freedom of the press is all but non-existent. Our friends in Sri Lanka do not enjoy the ability that Ms. Velie has — to post opinions disguised as news without fear of retribution or repercussions. Again, I know these to be facts, as I have taken the time and effort to properly do this work.
    I invite Ms. Velie to interview me about the Grace Care Center, to read my book and understand the mission of VeAhavta, and to discuss this with the many credible, dedicated people who have seen for themselves how donations to VeAhavta improve and save lives. This, of course, would require time, effort and actual reporting. A first-year journalism student would fail if they submitted this report as an assignment — there was no attempt on Ms. Velie’s part to balance her online findings and speculations by contacting people who have been to Grace, the people who benefit from it or the community (Trincomalee) which it serves.
    I have done this, and can state with credibility and certainty that allegations concerning donations are inaccurate.
    James A. Mitchell,
    Journalist, Author

    By: yelapop on 6/27/09
    Let me get this straight. Eric had to increase his hours to process all those donations. And he accepted upwards of $130k/year to do it. But half of all those donations came in two checks? Bizarre. And if his stated mission as part of his non-profit tax-exempt status is to assist the homelss in SLO, shouldn’t he be doing that? He did make a video but I’m guessing the homeless don’t often have access to a VCR.

    With donations down, I’m guessing the Trib’s puff piece was a ploy to suck more donors in. And perhaps prep the public for Ian Parkinson’s run for sheriff.

    By: bluemule on 6/27/09
    With all these shallow blind-faith rebuttals in support of a charismatic leader, it’s starting to feel like Karen may have uncovered a moneymaking cult of some sort. Good work!

    By: StevenBoothe on 6/27/09
    Wow. For the record, my name is Steven Boothe and I have been a close friend of the Parkinson’s from the very beginning of Eric’s founding of VeAhavta. I still recall the excitement when I first learned of what he was considering and our family has been enthusiastically contributing to VeAhavta ever since. I have personally visited Sri Lanka twice over the years to see first hand the amazing life saving work that Jey’ has faciliated. I have even had the great priviledge of sharing a meal with him and several other volunteers from what passes for his own dining room of his modest residence adjoining St. John’s church in Baticaloa (a remarkabley modest parsonage even by Sri Lankan standards).

    Over the years I’ve spent numerous numerous lunch meetings with Eric in addition to many joyous family get togethers. So for the record I’d just like to say I was quite aware of what was going on and can tell you first hand that this “damaging 990” everyone seems so alarmed about is nothing more than the product of someone needing to pad their inventory of exposé’s without regard for whether there is any truth to the picture Karen was interesting in painting.

    How can I write that? Because I am a witness to the dilemma Eric faced while attempting to heroically run an organization on his free time while trying to keep his practice going at the same time. I am a witness to how this became unsustainable as the lack of dedicated staff was becoming more and more of a concern as the needs grew and grew. I am a witness who watched first hand as the need to manage donations and human resources was becoming such a burden that it was becoming clear Eric was either going to be faced with a choice of leaving his practice or leaving VeAhavta, and thank G-d for our extended family in Sri Lanka he courageously chose what few would ever have done and left his practice for the unknown of relying on donations “specifically stipulated for his salery” and never from the main general fund(!!!) — which is why so much of his salary came from two of the board members because there was never enough money donated specifically to his expense that his family could have lived on it! As one of those who specifically responded to his extraordinary act of separating his support from the general fun, I am a witness to his extraordinary courage and sacrifice.

    I too am a witness to those grievous and angst ridden days in recent years when as he through everything he could into trying to keep the organization operating above water, that the tsunami came and thoroughly changed the whole picture as NGO’s from all over the world moved in to Eastern Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan capitalism responded in kind by hiking the cost of basic living expenses sky high causing what little we had to do even less than we had before. With the global economy taking a dive, and the lack of awareness on the wane, donations quickly began to fall off leading to what could only be interpreted as this ratio for 2007. The reality of which was not lost on Eric and once again he was faced with another angst ridden decision, this time he would have to try and return to his practice, pick up the pieces and continue to do the best he could with the cards before him.

    Shame on you Karen for not listening to those opportunities to get the picture clear when you had the chance. Shame on the rest of you for taking her word, when there were clear and glaring gaps in the story. I have no concern for Eric’s reputation among the honorable. I am sad for Karen and the damage to her reputation and CCN that this story has done. We need more independent journalists and sources of news. But unfortunately this time I could not score this effort with anything other than an abject “fail”.

    Maybe there is something that can still be done to salvage a potential good name for CCN. But I imagine it will involve a lot of imagination, creativity and courage on the part of the author and it’s readers. Good luck with that.


    Steven Boothe

    By: LynnHelland on 6/27/09
    This is a response to Hotdog:

    I was at the fundraiser you mentioned. It was in Michigan. The article you mentioned states that the event raised $12K FOR the Center, not AT the Center. Here’s what it says: “The spirit of Grace was in the air Saturday, April 25 at a benefit dinner for the Grace Care Center. More than $12,000 was raised as VeAhavta volunteers and friends gathered to celebrate the release of “But For the Grace: Profiles in Peace From a Nation at War. Held in South Lyon, Michigan, the event also acknowledged… [read the whole article here: http://www.youshalllove.org/E-Newsletters/may09-enews/fundraising-dinner.html%5D”

    Your point about the Peace Cafe’s fundraising abilities is a little unclear. Here is what the article said, in its entirety: “Ruth Anne Church, of Ann Arbor’s First United Methodist Church, displays a sales kiosk at the World Peace Cafe, including “Coexist” t-shirts and copies of “But For the Grace: Profiles in Peace From a Nation at War.” For the second year, the World Peace Cafe is donating proceeds for the month of May to the Grace Care Center, a campaign that in 2008 contributed $500. VeAhavta thanks Ruth Ann, the First United Methodist Church and the World Peace Cafe for their generous contributions.” There is no suggestion that the Peace Café raises $500 per month, nor is there any reason to think it could not do that. You have absolutely no information about it, and therefore no basis to know what it can and cannot do.

    “Perhaps those pro or con could do a little research before blasting CCN…”? (Your words!)

    The problem here is that Ms. Velie chose to do only a little research before slandering Mr. Parkinson and VeAhavta. My point is that more research would have led her to exactly the opposite of the conclusion she reached.

    By: LynnHelland on 6/27/09
    Scarlett – I am not disagreeing with the 990. I am stating that there is much more, which Ms. Velie left out. And I stand by those facts.

    As to the date Mr. Parkinson stopped receiving a salary, I suspect that Honesty got his date from Ms. Velie’s article – which was wrong.

    By: Scarlet on 6/27/09
    I find it interesting that LynnHelland defends this charity by citing the “facts” located on its very own website. I trust Karen and that damaging 990.

    Another interesting tidbit: LynnHelland and Honesty, both of whom seem to know what’s going on with Mr. Parkinson, cite dates 12 months apart in regard to when he stopped taking a salary. Hmmm….

    By: LynnHelland on 6/27/09
    The first principle of honest journalism is to fairly present information. Unfortunately, Ms. Velie chose not to do that in this article.

    In essence, Ms. Velie claims that more than 60% of the money raised by VeAhavta goes to its founder and president, Eric Parkinson, and the rest is sent to a questionable reverend in Sri Lanka. Both of these claims are false. The clear implication of Ms. Velie’s false claims is that VeAhavta is a fraud at worst, or a bad place to send donations, at best. Both of Ms. Velie’s implications about VeAhavta are also false.

    The following link, a page from the VeAhavta website, explains much more fairly and fully than does Ms. Velie’s article, how VeAhavta has really used the money it has received: http://youshalllove.org/who-we-are/program-non-program-expenses.html. That page, which Ms. Velie did not mention, explains that Mr. Parkinson was only paid for two years, and beginning almost a year and a half ago, he stopped receiving any compensation. That page explains further that during 2008, over 86% of the money donated to VeAhavta went to the Grace orphanage and elder center. As Ms. Velie’s article notes, a charity that uses more than 80% of donated money for the charitable purpose is “very good.” VeAhavta has therefore been operating within the “very good” range for the last year and a half, but Ms. Velie did not mention that.

    The same link to the VeAhavta website also provides critical context about the money that was paid to Mr. Parkinson when he was paid – context which did not find its way into Ms. Velie’s article although I explained it to her before she wrote her article, and it is available at the website. For about two years, beginning in 2006 and ending in early 2008, VeAhavta paid Mr. Parkinson to work full time. The hope was that this would more than pay for itself. It did not, so was ended. During the time Mr. Parkinson was being paid, the directors of VeAhavta wanted to minimize the amount of that pay that came from VeAhavta’s donations. Therefore, two directors contributed almost $140,000 of their own money for the specific purpose of paying Mr. Parkinson for those two years. For these reasons, even when Mr. Parkinson was receiving a salary in 2006 and 2007, that salary only took about 30% of the general donations to VeAhavta – 23% in 2006 and 37% in 2007. Although the 2006 percentage is considered “good” by charity watchdogs, and even the 2007 percentage – by far VeAhavta’s worst year – is nearly satisfactory, VeAhavta considered these salary costs to be too high, which is why Mr. Parkinson once again became unpaid in early 2008.

    The link to the VeAhavta website also explains VeAhavta’s other practices, all of which are aimed at keeping administrative costs very low. Had Ms. Velie described those practices in her article, the reader would have seen VeAhavta in a much more accurate and positive light.

    To support her claim that more than 60% of donations to VeAhavta currently go to Mr. Parkinson and have always done so, Ms. Velie relies on one portion of VeAhavta’s tax information for one year, 2007. Based solely on her one piece of 2007 data, Ms. Velie not only asserts falsely that VeAhavta is currently using a high percentage of donations for salary, she also asserts that VeAhavta has always paid a similar percentage to Mr. Parkinson. That, too, is false. Mr. Parkinson did not receive any salary from 2001, when he founded VeAhavta, until 2006. To the contrary – in addition to contributing thousands of hours of his time, without compensation, he also contributed tens of thousands of dollars of his own money to support VeAhavta in those years. During the years preceding 2006, well over 80% of the money donated to VeAhavta was used directly for the Grace orphanage in Sri Lanka – again, a “very good” percentage according to Ms. Velie’s own information.

    Ms. Velie’s article strongly suggests that Eric Parkinson has been motivated by self-interest. The truth is that because of his devotion to VeAhavta and the demands VeAhavta placed on him, Mr. Parkinson gave up a thriving law practice in San Luis Obispo. He and his family made huge personal and financial sacrifices on behalf of VeAhavta between 2002 and the present, for which he was compensated in part in 2006 and 2007.

    Ms. Velie also asserts that the money which is donated to VeAhavta and which does not go to Mr. Parkinson goes to one Reverend Jeyanesan in Sri Lanka (with whom she also finds fault), suggesting that perhaps none of the donations go to the children and elders at the Grace Center. This, too, is false. VeAhavta sends no money to Rev. Jeyanesan. The 86% of donations which support the Grace Center are sent to a bank account in Sri Lanka. Every disbursement from that account is recorded. All of that money is used for food, supplies at the Grace Center, or salaries of the staff at the Grace Center. Rev. Jeyanesan is not a staff member. The records of the Grace Center are audited every year. According to those audits, all of the money sent to the Grace Center bank account is used for legitimate expenses to support the children and elders and other programs at the Grace Center.

    VeAhavta supports over 50 girls and over 50 elders who are struggling to survive in a desperate part of Sri Lanka. To do that, VeAhavta relies on the efforts of dozens of unpaid volunteers who give a great deal of their time, money, and energy. Many of those volunteers have paid their own way to Sri Lanka to assist at the Grace Center during the past few years. Anyone familiar with the story of how Eric Parkinson brought the Grace Center into existence and has kept it going for the last seven years would call him a hero. There is a very newsworthy story in all of this work, but it is the opposite of the story Ms. Velie wrote. It is very unfortunate that Ms. Velie’s misleading article calls these efforts into question, and makes it even harder to take care of the very real problems that need to be addressed in Sri Lanka.

    By: hotdog on 6/27/09
    One of our bloggers seems to be full of blind faith in the Charity. Another actually had some data to support their faith.
    Perhaps those pro or con could do a little research before blasting CCN, which did some snooping. And, of course, despite all the protestations from all their detractors, have never been proven wrong before.
    I was browsing charity site, found this:
    It says the cafe in Mich donated what it made (gross, profit?) in May,
    which raised $500 for the center. Unrealistic, even if profit, at about $16.67 per day. That
    amounts to about 6k/yr the cafe rakes in, a ridiculous amount for even a non profit cafe to make.
    Something smells here…

    And on a previous page they claim to have raised 12k at a fundraiser
    at the Center, I thought the area was poor. That’s a lot of dough for
    a one shot event in a distressed area.

    Two extremes, could be worth looking into sometime.

    By: WILLPOWER on 6/27/09
    The Trib printed the truth. Some just can’t stand that they don’t own the press around here.
    Thank you Honesty for letting a lil interigty back into the room. Well done…but then the truth always does smell fresher than horsepucky!
    How long should we wait for the retraction?

    By: Honesty on 6/27/09
    Correction: Eric hasn’t had a salary with VeAhavta since Jan of 2008… (19 months..) Also, the majority of that salary was paid by two donors who are on the board of VeAhavta itself who wished to subsidize the salary of the person who at that time was doing “all” of the organizations work here in the U.S..

    This article is worse than sensationalism. Here is a case of CCN barking up the wrong tree!!! and slandering a truely great man!

    By: Honesty on 6/27/09
    This article attempts to cast Eric Parkinson in a negative light. Eric is without exception, the most honest and decent person that i know in San Luis Obispo. He is a selfless, loving, openhearted and humble human being.

    In the past decade, Eric has dedicated his life to assistance of the needy in a country ravaged by war and hatred. He introduced his ideals of forbearance and tolerance that have taken root in the hearts of both donors and recipients. Eric personally guaranteed the loan to start the orphanage in 2001, donating a significant portion of start up funds to the organization.

    Eric has volunteered so much time to the care of these girls and abandoned elders over the past 9 years that it is thoroughly unfair to depict him as an opportunist. He has poured his heart and soul into the girls home and elder care center that anyone can see for themselves when they visit Trincomalee. To this day, the girls refer to Eric as “uncle” and “appa” – (father).

    If you look at the administrative costs of any organization whether Doctors without borders, the International Medical Corps or others, you will find that running an organization costs money. For smaller US based organizations that do international work, the relative administrative costs can appear large.

    Smaller NGO’s like VeAhavta need to have someone who takes care of the daily responsibilities of running the organization. Eric stopped his law practice for less than 2 years to run VeAhavta exclusively. A albatross around his neck, for which he was paid a salary. Since January of this year, Eric no longer has a salaried position with VeAhavta, 5 months before this “news breaking article”. Look at the tax returns from every year (available on the VeAhavta website) and anyone will see that every expense is clearly described.

    In my opinion, people that do the daily work of running organizations like VeAhavta should be paid, and recognized for their sacrifice for the poor. Eric could have spent the time building his career in law, or in other pursuits, but instead he gave it to VeAhavta. Keep in mind, today, as with the first 5 years as founder of this organization, Eric was not paid a salary. He has done nothing remotely wrong and should be hailed as hero, instead of criticized by people who have done nothing to help the needy.

    CCN did not provide sunshine, only fog and darkness. Cindy if you got off your computer and actually took the trip to Sri Lanka through the numerous military checkpoints and damaged roads to the Orphanage you would see that the effort is far from bogus. I have been there myself, my children have played with the girls who call Eric father, and I have hugged the elders who love Eric like a son. Think again before casting suspicion against a true Saint like Eric, for “as you judge you will be judged..”

    You all speak about the truth. The truth is that hungry bellies were filled and shelter was provided from both war and terror.

    CCN has framed a great man, in an unfair light. I have and will continue to support and donate to VeAhavta. By writing this attempted “shock value piece” you are only taking away support from some of the most needy.

    Eric, thank you for everything that you have done for the poor and needy in Sri Lanka. May God bless your efforts and reward you in this life and the next.

    By: Bluebird on 6/27/09
    On 6/23 the Tribune wrote a feel good article praising Parkinson and his organization. Clearly they did no collateral checking. It’s not that difficult to find the tax returns. Unfortunately even when they have the info they don’t seem to know how to interpret it. I’m also wondering what prompted the story at this time. A telephone call from Parkinson or his PR person?
    Based on an article in the Trib a few years ago I contributed to this organization and this recent article may generate some more contributions.
    A brick bat to the Trib.

    By: Cindy on 6/27/09
    Hey there hamburger, Just pull up a copy of the 990 forms. Its all there in black and white. Parkinson has been helping himself to 62% of the contributions before he sends a single penny out to his crony “shyster” in Sri Lanka. How much actually reaches the orphans and needy after that? Shame on the Tribune for printing such a flowery story and not even bothering to check this while children from SLO county do fund raising for a “bogus” effort.

    By: hamburger on 6/27/09
    Sri Lanka has been engaged in a civil war for over twenty five years with massive amounts of propaganda on both sides of the conflict. Hence, one would think it worthwhile to fact check such spurious “allegations” from a single and obviously biased author as the Karen cites from the Sri Lanka Guardian. I mean, after all if he says it, these things must be true right? Where is the due diligence in that? Maybe like the Downing Street memos, the interest here isn’t the truth, but coming up with “facts” to justify a suggestive byline in keeping with someone trying to keep their reputation as an “investigative report” engaged in revealing the “uncovered truth”.

    By: hotdog on 6/26/09
    Hmm, interesting. I filed my taxes on time, and no one paid me to do it. I wonder why the 2008 taxes are late. The late charges and so on will obviously eat into the benefits for the ‘orphans and elderly’, surely not the handsome wages the overseer makes.
    Looking at the later paragraphs leads one to wonder what the Rotary and other groups, and our local homeless care providers, will think if their good money and names have been misused.
    Since the monies cited are from the website of the ‘charity’ one must assume these are the bare bones they could get away with reporting, I imagine the truth is much more onerous.
    In these times of lies, fraud and contempt of all that is decent-telling the truth is revolutionary. Damn good thing CCN is here, to once again pick up that rock and let some sunshine in.

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