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The Real PTA Shuts Down Clandestine Madera PTA Group Print E-mail
News - Opinion
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 22:22

An Exclusive Editorial by Big Valley News

Madera
- If you are a fan of Facebook you have probably ran across a group on the web site who claims they are interested in helping the children of our local schools with purchasing supplies for the classroom. Madera Unified District PTA is a Facebook group created by an employee of Madera County Mental Health Department, Lynn Cogdill.

Cogdill is a candidate for the Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees District 2 as he returned his paperwork to the Madera County Clerks Office Friday afternoon. Realtor Edward McIntyre is also a declared candidate for the seat currently held by Phillip Jansen. McIntyre is the husband of former Madera County Supervisor Gail Hanhart-McIntyre.

The MUDPTA group says their goal is for fundraising purposes to assist Madera Unified School District PTA's with funds for various projects. The first problem is there is only one PTA at Madera Unified's schools and that is at Madera High School. All of the other parent organizations at our local schools are “parent clubs which have no association to the National PTA or the state organization.

The second problem is Mr. Cogdillâ's group was using the name PTA which is a registered trademark of the national organization. Cogdill claimed PTA didn't stand for "Parent Teachers Association" but rather "Parents to Assist." However Cogdill incorrectly spelled "assist" - "ASSETTS".

The third problem was MUDPTA was not a non-profit organization but a "for-profit organization". So any donations received by the organization would not be tax deductible and any monies raised would be subject to state and federal taxes. Also the general public would not have many of the safeguards which are in place to govern "non-profits" to ensure that their monies were being used for the purpose they were given.

The MUDPTA had organized a bus trip to Reno at $89 a person for August 15th. The funds from the trip were to purchase school supplies that would be given to the local schools. According to Danna Jones Petty, vice president of MUDPTA, "Forty-five dollars of each ticket will go to purchase school supplies. Taxes will be "payed" by owner of Madera Unified District Projects to Assets."

The trip was canceled this week because according to Cogdill certain individuals began asking questions of the organization causing suspicions and doubt of the group's true agenda. The questions this publication asked on the Facebook group page was: 

  1. Why isn't MUDPTA set up as a non-profit organization so donors have some assurances of what the monies are used for?
  2. Why has this group used the trademarked name PTA without the permission of the state or national organization?
  3. Who is in charge of the money and who are the board of directors of the MUDPTA?
  4. Why hasn't the MUDPTA set up a memorandum of understanding with the school district especially since they are using portions of the school districts name in the organizations name?
  5. Was the choice of names selected to confuse people as to what they were really donating to?
  6.  

All of these questions were ignored by Cogdill, in the mean time we learned from an article in the Bakersfield Californian newspaper that as a youth Cogdill ran away from his Missouri home and lived on the streets. In the article Cogdill romanticized the experience talking of riding the rails, sleeping under the stars and eating over an open flame. What he didn't mention was what most homeless people experience on the street, problems with the law.

When Cogdill mentioned that other fundraising efforts of his have raised $30K and in one case $300K I became concerned that there were no safeguards in place for this money and that this was too much money for one person to be in control. There was no transparency for this organization and without it many donors might be taken advantage of. Cogdill continued to refuse to answer any of my questions. So I consolidated all of my questions down to one. 

  1. Have you ever been arrested? If so, for what, where and when?
  2.  

That one question has caused Cogdill to openly argue with people on his Facebook group page. That question, Cogdill claims, has caused people to stop supporting the MUDPTA and mistrust the efforts of his organization. However that question has still be unanswered by Cogdill.

"Jack knows who is in charge of the money and who is in charge of MUDPTA. He also knows we do not have to tell him anything! Now back the  F---- up before you piss ME off!!!", MUDPTA president Leah Tompett said in a Facebook message.

I think this shows that the organization is aware that as a private for profit group they are not held accountable to the public about any funds they raise. My only concern is that people are aware that this organization is not affiliated with neither the National PTA organization nor Madera Untied School District. That if they purchase products from this organization that the public knows it is not a donation and that this for-profit business follows all the rules and regulations any other for-profit businesses would need to follow.

Petty told us last night via Facebook, "We are in the red at this point because of comments like your which has caused all kinds of suspicions about what our true agenda is." But if Mr. Cogdill would just answer the question there would be no need for suspicion.

When BVN questioned Cogdill about his organization using the PTA name without their permission Cogdill said, "I will tell Jo A.S Loss PTA President about your concerns on our next e-mail to one another". However when we spoke the California PTA's communications office they had no clue about Cogdill's organization.

We received a phone call an hour later and were told the organization issued a statement that the PTA is a non-profit organization that has no affiliation with Mr. Cogdill for-profit group. The state board has instructed their legal counsel to issue a cease and desist order demanding that MUDPTA refrain from using the PTA name.

Later we learned that the Madera Unified Board of Trustees has also requested Cogdill not use the name "MADERA UNIFIED DISTRICT" in their name as it has caused some confusion in the public's mind as to if it was a fundraising arm of the school district. Cogdill's group will probably open up under a new name.

Cogdill has continued to refuse to answer our questions and has blocked BVN from being able to view his groups on Facebook. He has said on his Facebook page that he has sought legal counsel and would be filing a law suit against the publisher of BVN and several other individuals who have caused harm to his reputation.

He claims his lawsuit will be filed in Los Angels County and not Madera County. As of press time Mr. Cogdill still has not answered any of our questions nor has he returned his paperwork to the Madera County Clerks Office to run for MUSD Board of Trustees. He is holding a fundraiser at his home on August 28th for his campaign. Tickets are on sale now for $30 each and you can contact Lynn at (559) 664-9947 for more information.



ALL DIRECT QUOTES FROM MUDPTA OFFICIALS ARE EXACTLY AS WE
RECIEVED THEM. WE HAVE NOT CORRECTED THE SPELLING OR GRAMMAR
AS FOR OUR OWN TYPOS, WE ARE FAMOUS FOR THEM
Let Us Know and We Will Correct Them and You Might Win A Prize

 

 

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