Minnesota businessmen Nasser Kazeminy and John Goodman both back Norm Coleman and both serve on the board of Step into World Peace, a curious local nonprofit that Harper’s Ken Silverstein probes this week. Silverstein finds vague goals, a shuttered Web site and no direct ties to Coleman — whose campaigns the pair have funded heavily and whose finances have drawn increasing scrutiny since Silverstein alleged last year that Kazeminy bought Coleman’s suits.
But Silverstein finds plenty to ponder when it comes to SIWP’s finances. The group has little to show for $88,000 it has spent out of the $110,000 it has raised — some $40,000 of which went to unspecified “contract labor” from 2002 to 2004.
Goodman and Kazeminy were last linked doing good deeds after an apartment building Goodman owns burned last December. Each was reported to have put $50,000 into a fund for victims of the fire, only to have those gifts overshadowed by an anonymous $1 million donation.
But Kazeminy and Goodman won’t return Silverstein’s calls about SIWP, so his questions about where the group’s money went may stay unanswered unless the Internal Revenue Service investigates, finds fault and makes an enforcement action public. Silverstein concludes:
… the foundation has raised and spent about $100,000 but has done, as far as I can tell, virtually nothing to honor the victims of 9/11 or to “remind the world…that it cannot be allowed to happen again.”
So what exactly is the purpose of this IRS-approved non-profit organization?
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