A suspension is brewing for the highly controversial, far-right propaganda "paper" backed by Godspeak Calvary Pastor Rob McCoy. Let's dive in. It's a real doozy y'all!
If you search the State of California Department of Justice Charity Registry, you can come across information for registered nonprofits.
If you enter in Conejo Guardian (RCT CT0284531), the registry status is “delinquent.” Now, there are lapses of time in which the DOJ doesn’t process paperwork or a charity forgot to submit their annual paperwork and they’re listed as delinquent until that’s all sorted out or pending. But that’s not the case for the Conejo Guardian.
The Conejo Guardian has NEVER been in compliance with the DOJ. Their first attempt at filing paperwork for the 2020 accounting year wasn’t even received until July 12, 2023 … and it was rejected for missing multiple forms (they didn’t pay registration fee, signatures were missing AND they didn’t provide their revenue). Their attempt at filing paperwork for the 2021 accounting year was also rejected for several reasons.
On March 7, 2023, they were served with a delinquency notice and warning of assessment of penalties and late fees, and suspension or revocation of registered status.
The letter stated:
“The California Franchise Tax Board will be notified to disallow the tax exemption of the above-named entity. The Franchise Tax Board may revoke the organization’s tax exempt status at which point the organization will be treated as a taxable corporation (See Revenue and Taxation Code section 23703) and may be subject to the minimum tax penalty.
PLEASE NOTE: Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs. Accordingly, directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file the above-described report(s) are personally liable for payment of all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status.”
On June 22, 2023, the Conejo Guardian received a notice of intent to suspend or revoke registration:
“Based on the violations set forth below, the registration of CONEJO GUARDIAN will be suspended or revoked unless the organization cures its delinquency or submits the enclosed Appeal and Request for Hearing* within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of this Notice. The Attorney General may revoke or suspend the registration of a charitable corporation for violations of the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act (Government Code § 12580 et. seq.; § 12598). An organization that is delinquent, suspended or revoked is not in good standing and is prohibited from engaging in conduct for which registration is required, including soliciting or disbursing charitable funds. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 11, § 999.9.4.)
If the organization has not cured its delinquency with our office, or submitted a signed Appeal and Request for Hearing* within 30 days, your registration will be suspended or revoked, and you will no longer be permitted to conduct business in the State of California. The suspension/revocation of CONEJO GUARDIAN is based on the following violations: 1. Failure to file the Annual Registration Renewal Fee (Form RRF-1) Report(s), together with required renewal fee, for fiscal year(s) ending: 12/31/2020, 12/31/2021, in violation of Government Code section 12586, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 301 through 306 and 311. 2. Failure to file IRS Form 990, 990-PF or 990-EZ for fiscal year(s) ending: 12/31/2020, 12/31/2021, in violation of Government Code section 12586, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 301 through 305. Note that Schedule B is not required. Please exclude Schedule B from your IRS Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-PF filing. 3.
Late fees were assessed to the organization for failing to file the required documents. The fees are calculated as $25.00 per month, or partial month, starting the 31st day after the first delinquency letter was mailed. The late fees are in addition to any annual renewal fees that may also be due and cannot be waived. Fees will continue to accrue until all the outstanding documents have been filed with the Registry.”
Per their latest statement of information filed in August 2022:
Additional Officers listed include:
It’s pretty astounding that these folks from wealth management firms who serve on the board all couldn’t figure out a way to submit paperwork and pay registration fees. What I find even more interesting is that one of the reasons their 3-years-late paperwork submission was rejected was because they didn’t provide their financial revenue information.
Why do you think these folks are trying to hide that? I thought they were all about “the truth.” I’m not surprised that Rob McCoy is tied to a political propaganda effort that has falsely represented itself an independent community paper and that they don’t really want you to know who the funders are behind the paper.
And, as I've been reading through the intention to suspend letter to the Conejo Guardian, which is delinquent with the State of California Department of Justice Registry … this line in that notice is popping out:
“A delinquent organization may not engage in any activity for which registration is required, including solicitation or disbursing of charitable assets.”
It may NOT engage in solicitation. Solicitation is the act of requesting.
The Conejo Guardian has never been current with this registry. It’s been delinquent for the entire course of its existence. And not because paperwork got lost or there was a delay in processing. In other words, there’s no reasonable explanation for a lapse. Like, it NEVER turned in its full paperwork or revenue reports to meet compliance. The only two times it attempted, their paperwork was rejected (and it was sent in years late, at that).
I'm reminded of a “sermon” that Rob McCoy gave which took place in March of 2023 in which he directly solicited donations on behalf of Conejo Guardian. Not only did he solicit donations, he mentioned that the Conejo Guardian has hosted a large fundraiser the night before.
“The businesses that support it get attacked. So we’re just gonna make it individually supported, like you sponsor the kids in Uganda, we’re gonna sponsor a newspaper. I wanna put the URL, the QR code. Hold up your camera and I wanna see you doing it. Take your camera, from your phone, like you’re gonna take a picture of it, it’ll pop up a little thing, touch that, and it’ll take you right to the website where you can donate. Every do that. And everybody do it. Perfect. I got plenty of time. I’m in no hurry.”
Now one could argue that they didn’t know they had been delinquent for their entire existence, but they would have, at the very least, known in early March 2023 based on the notice they received dated March 7. Based on this date of the sermon in the video (March 26, 2023), they had received the delinquency notice PRIOR to the fundraiser. And that notice, as well as the suspension notice they received on June 22 were both clear:
"An organization that is delinquent, suspended or revoked is not in good standing and is prohibited from engaging in conduct for which registration is required, including soliciting or disbursing charitable funds. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 11, § 999.9.4.)"
WHEW. OK, reward yourself to a drink before moving forward.
Back to the money. Who is the money behind this paper?
Per ProPublica, Conejo Guardian’s 990 for fiscal year ending December 2021 lists its expenses as $23,626 (via its SCHEDULE O itemization):
1. DONEE: $15,644 to Kilpatrick Family Ministries - (Joel Kilpatrick is the editor of the paper. Apparently they donate to his family ministry as payment?) I wonder if this “donation” would also be considered a “disbursement of charitable assets.” Given that they are delinquent with the CA DOJ … (“A delinquent organization may not engage in any activity for which registration is required, including solicitation or disbursing of charitable assets.”)
2. Advertising and Promotion: $180
3. Insurance: $1,528
4. Uncategorized: $5,312
5. Bank Service Fee: $960
6. Bank Fee: $2
TOTAL: $ 23,626
Some information is not included on their Schedule O. Their 990 form states that the expenses to be itemized in schedule O should actually total $25,896 … see #10 and #16 in the expenses section, but the expenses itemized only add up to $23,626, so $2,270 is unaccounted for here.
(Interestingly, they list “Grants and similar amounts paid" (990 form Part 1, Expenses #1) as $17,914, but the only donee they list on Schedule O, is the Kilpatrick Family Ministries at $15,644. The difference between those two is $2,270 … who else got a little something something?
The 990 also states that $2,255 was categorized as an expense for: “Salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits” but states further down that no board members received compensation. Therefore, I’m curious where this money went.
But what’s also unaccounted for … PRINTING?
Under Expenses #15: Printing, publications, postage, and shipping … Conejo Guardian lists ZERO expenses for … printing. This is a paper that boasts a once-monthly full color, 24-page (on average) edition to a circulation of 44,000.
Who’s printing it for free for them?
Who really is helping Rob McCoy fund and disperse a propaganda paper in our community ... and if they're "the paper of truth," why do they have so much to hide?