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- American basketball player
Lamar Odom's charitable endeavors are getting slam dunked.
Cathy's Kids, a foundation he started in 2004 after losing his mother to stomach cancer, is being accused of not giving a cent to cancer research in the nine years it has been operating.
Although the charity's mission is supposed to be "making a positive impact on the lives of under-privileged children, as well as targeting a disease that has played a significant role in [Odom's] life," it only seems he's kept up half of that bargain. Cathy's Kids' mission statement continues, "Lamar lost his mother to stomach cancer and subsequently is committed to help causes that are focused on finding a cure and helping people who suffer from the disease. Lamar is focused on ensuring that funds are available for under-privileged youth that live in the inner cities of New York and Los Angeles."
The latter part seems to be the one promise he has kept.
According to an investigation by ESPN, eight years of tax records show that Cathy's Kids "primarily existed to finance two elite youth basketball travel teams. Of the $2.2 million raised by the charity, at least 60 percent -- $1.3 million -- went to those AAU teams."
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A chunk of the money raised by the charity also went into the bank account of its secretary, Jerry DeGregorio, a longtime confidante of Odom's who was both his high school basketball coach and best man at his 2009 wedding to Kardashian. DeGregorio, now an assistant coach with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, reportedly earned a median annual salary of $72,000 from 2004 to 2011 from the charity … even though Cathy's Kids was operating at a loss. In 2011, the organization's tax return showed a debt of $256,000, according to ESPN. A rep for the Warriors did not immediately respond to omg!'s request for comment on DeGregorio's involvement.
ESPN also reports that Cathy's Kids implied it has been "dormant for years," despite the fact that it is still fundraising. Although the page of for the charity on Odom's personal website is inactive, his wife has been busy selling her used clothing and accessories on eBay all in the name of Cathy's Kids. As of press time, 15 items – including Dior sunglasses, J Brand skinny jeans, and Bottega Veneta platform sandals – are all on the auction block and as the page implicitly states, "all auction items benefit Cathy's Kids, a Lamar Odom Foundation."
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A rep for Kardashian also did not immediately respond to omg!'s request for comment regarding the allegations made against Cathy's Kids and her husband.
After no one from Cathy's Kids would agree to an interview, ESPN confronted Odom about the allegations in the locker room after a recent game and reports that he "became visibly upset and ended the conversation." A month later, the hoops star granted an in-person interview in Los Angeles, "but Odom still didn't answer questions, saying he just wanted to apologize for the locker-room scene. When pressed for details about some of the expenses, including DeGregorio's salary, listed on the IRS forms, Odom repeatedly responded by saying, 'It's my money,' and refusing to explain any further."
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