Jennifer Yon: “We were not aware of the law.”
The Jennifer Yon Agency on Monday ended an online fundraiser for District 4 Commissioner George Oliver III’s mayoral campaign after learning from VoxPopuli that partisan activities could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit Young Success, which organized the GoFundMe campaign.
Jennifer Yon, an entrepreneur who owns Bar 5 Lounge & Grill at the West Oaks Mall and the events planner behind Ocoee Remembers, said in a Facebook message to VoxPopuli that the “youths that Oliver has helped wanted to do something” for his campaign. The nonprofit’s mission aims to help foster young people’s entrepreneurial ideas into actual businesses.
“We were not aware of the law and since we were made aware, the fundraiser has been terminated and all raised money has been refunded to the donors,” Yon said.
According to the IRS, “…all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
The short-lived fundraiser had collected $70 dollars from two donors, including Yon.
Oliver’s campaign stumbled in the early days of the mayoral race. VoxPopuli reported in January that Oliver recorded a campaign video that solicited donations inside the Ocoee City Hall commission chambers, a move that may have violated campaign finance law. Oliver had admitted the mistake when told about the potential violation. He has since claimed the video was not ready for distribution and that his YouTube was hacked.