During January of 2023, Atheist Alliance International (AAI) submitted false financial statements to the Attorney General of California, where the organisation is registered. These false statements had covered up some serious financial wrongdoing by the purported Board at AAI. Following a whistleblower complaint, in June of 2023 AAI were required to resubmit their financial statements. The revised documents admit what was previously denied, which was that the supposed Board had paid one of their Directors more than $10,000 from funds that were raised for charitable purposes. This was done at a time when the Board were falsely claiming that the organisation was “heading for bankruptcy”. The short video clip below shows a then Director on the AAI Board making this false claim of imminent bankruptcy.
At the same time as the AAI Board were justifying a corrupt and anti-democratic coup based on their invented imminent bankruptcy, they were in fact paying themselves personally thousands of dollars from AAI funds that had been raised for charitable purposes. The following sections describe the recent timeline in which the Attorney General of California insisted on false AAI financial statements being corrected to reflect these improper payments.
An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of AAI members was held on 15th January 2023. Under the supposed bylaws, such a meeting can only take place if a genuine emergency exists that cannot wait to be addressed at the next annual meeting. In this case, the emergency related to the ‘AAI Disclosure Document’, in which the purported AAI Board admitted to serious wrongdoing over many years. The advertised purpose of the emergency EGM was to clear the air by answering all questions from AAI members about this wrongdoing by the AAI Board:
“Our intention is to clear the air and allow AAI to make a fresh start …”Description from the purported AAI Board of their planned 15th January 2023 EGM
In advance of the EGM, the purported AAI Board created an online mechanism through which AAI members could submit questions. However, when the meeting actually took place not a single one of the questions submitted were addressed. For example, one admission within the ‘AAI Disclosure Document’ was as follows:
“AAI Directors are not paid for their work (with the exception of John Richards, who edited Secular World for several editions and was paid per edition …)”Quote taken from ‘AAI Disclosure Document’
The role of editing the AAI Secular World magazine had previously been advertised and appointed to the best candidate for the job, after a competitive interview process. In contrast, during 2018 the then purported AAI Board awarded this contract to one of their own Directors without advertisement or tender, contrary to California laws on self-dealing within non-profits. During the EGM on January 15th 2023, no explanation was offered as to why this no-tender contract was awarded in secret, or why these financial details were kept from the AAI members that funded the organisation. Instead, Brian Kernick as the self-styled President of AAI explained that the Board would not be answering any questions for the following reason:
“This is stuff that happened in the past. A lot of the questions are dealing with 2018. We need to move forward.”Quote from Brian Kernick at the AAI EGM on 15th January 2023
However, this was simply not true. AAI were not moving on from the wrongdoing of 2018. In fact, just ten days after Brian Kernick said this, his supposed AAI Board submitted false financial statements for 2018 to the Attorney General of California. On 25th January 2023, AAI submitted the financial statement illustrated below for the 2018 reporting period.
The answer to the first question at the bottom of this extract is false. During the period in question, the AAI Board had awarded a contract worth thousands of dollars to one of their own Directors, without advertisement or tender. In fact, just ten days before this statement was submitted, the purported AAI Board had arranged an EGM to discuss the very ‘AAI Disclosure Document’ that had admitted to these improper payments. Nevertheless, the false financial statements that covered up this wrongdoing were submitted to the Attorney General of California immediately after that EGM.
Subsequent to the publication of these false financial statements by the purported AAI Board, a whistleblower complaint reported the accurate details of these payments to the Attorney General in California. After an investigation by lawyers in that Office, on 20th June 2023 the purported AAI Board resubmitted revised financial statements for the 2018 reporting period. An extract from the new submission is illustrated below.
The answer to question 1 has been changed, and according to the Note immediately above this question, AAI were also required to submit further explanatory details. Full copies of the original and the revised financial submissions are available at the bottom of this page, including the additional explanatory details. From these documents it is clear that the purported AAI Board paid more than $10,000 to one of their own Directors. These payments were made from funds that had been raised for charitable purposes. Moreover, the purported AAI Board were paying themselves cash directly from AAI accounts, at a time when they were telling the AAI members that the organisation was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Before these payments, no Director in the entire history of AAI had accepted a single cent for the atheist advocacy work that they did. The current purported AAI Board are also the first Directors in the entire history of AAI that refuses to answer questions from their members about very serious wrongdoing.
At the time of writing, Brian Kernick as the self-styled President of AAI persists in refusing to answer questions about wrongdoing on the AAI Board. This is despite the fact that his previous explanation for his silence was shown to be false just ten days after he offered it. However, this is not the only ongoing financial issue for AAI in relation to these events. Below are the published AAI accounts for 2018, which remain on their web site today.
It is impossible to reconcile the 2018 Secular World magazine expenses as recently reported to the Attorney General in California, with the salaries and other expenses reported in these financial accounts. The AAI Campaigns are listed explicitly on the AAI website, and the Secular World magazine has never been one of them. By way of comparison, below is a small extract from how expenses were reported to the AAI members in 2016, before the current purported AAI Board became involved with the organisation.
Expenses relating to the Secular World magazine and other operational costs are enumerated in detail. Subsequent to that, all payments made as part of the AAI Foundation and other AAI Campaigns are then enumerated separately. In contrast, when those on the current purported AAI Board got involved, they added a new line item titled ‘Salaries’ to the expenses and they reported that as zero. They then paid themselves thousands of dollars and obfuscated this fact within their financial reporting towards the AAI members.
This is an organisation that over recent years has been soliciting donations for supposedly charitable purposes, and then spending tens of thousands of dollars per annum. For multiple recent years they falsely denied making any payments to themselves within their financial statements to the Attorney General of California. They also covered up improper payments that they made to themselves within their financial reports to their own members. What else has tens of thousands of dollars per annum been spent on since 2018? The self-styled President continues to refuse to answer the many outstanding questions on that topic, because apparently those expenditures occurred in the past.