June 29, 2013
On May 22, 2013 the Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a Petition of Enforcement of Civil Investigative Demand against Free Store owner Raven Thronheart.
According to the petition, “It appears to Attorney General that Defendant Raven Thornheart used deception, fraud, false promises, misrepresentations, unfair practices, or the concealment, suppression, or omission of material facts in connection with the solicitation of funds for charitable purposes.”
Civil Investigative Demand No. SL-45-2012 was hand-delivered to the defendant on December 4, 2012 by an investigator. Thornheart was compelled to produce the following documents and evidence within five days of the demand: all banks, and account numbers, into which donations, funds, checks, or other payments have been deposited on behalf of Hope For Home And Family, Inc. or The Free Store since July 1, 2012; all banks, and account numbers, used by Raven Thornheart-Couch and Hope for Home and Family, Inc. since July 1, 2012; copies of all documents indicating the identity, by name and address, of all persons who donated or transferred any funds, goods, personal property, or other tangible items for any charitable purpose to Raven Thornheart-Couch and Hope For Home and Family, Inc since July 1, 2012; copies of all receipts issued to each donor; copies of all documents indicating the identity, by name and address, of each recipient of goods or any other non-cash assistance provided by Raven Thornheart-Couch and Hope For Home And Family, Inc.; copies off all documents that show the total amount of monetary and property donations collected by Raven Thornheart-Couch and Hope For Home And Family, Inc. which should include all financial statements, spreadsheets, and other donation logs; copies of all meeting minutes and corporate by-laws for Hope For Home And Family, Inc.; and a copy of the application submitted for tax-exempt status to the IRS.
Thornheart was asked to provide documentation of banks and account numbers where funds were placed for Hope For Home And Family, Inc. or The Free Store, documentation identifying those who donated and those who received donated goods, and written responses to requests for information. Thornheart was given five days to produce this documentation.
As of the filing date of the petition, Thornheart has yet to comply.
According to court documents, there have been many attempts to contact the defendant. Thornheart has responded through e-mail with fleeting remarks that her attorney, “Casey,” will be in contact.
On January 10, 2013, Assistant Attorney General Robert Carlson e-mailed Thornheart to stress the importance of her compliance with the demand and to inquire into the identity of “Casey.”
According to the petition, Thornheart responded the next day: “I am consulting Casey Symonnds. Hewilladvise me how tp respond. However I have answered most of your questions already. You have the “complaints” frpm my ex husband & his friends. I did exactly what the attorney that did the filing told me. I wasnot required to register with you. Casey will be in touch.”
When attorney Casey Symonds was contacted by Assistant Attorney General Robert Carlson, he denied representing Thornheart.
On January 15, 2013 Thornheart sent an e-mail with an attachment dated November 30, 2012 from the IRS stating that Hope for Home and Family, Inc. was exempt from taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).
Assistant Attorney General Robert Carlson responded with a letter stating “the Investigative Demand incorporates issues beyond registration requirements and includes concerns that Defendant has engaged in deceptive practices by failing to use donations of both money and goods for the purposes for which they were solicited.”
On February 6, 2013, Thornheart claimed in e-mail that she was having financial difficulty due to a misappropriation of the funds in her bank account. She went on to state that some items for The Free Store were “taken” by others.
Thornheart is scheduled for Case Management Conference on Monday, September 9, 2013 at Jackson County Court, 415 E. 12th, Kansas City, Mo Division 7 at 10 a.m.