The shock jock helped kids with his charity, now they are helping him collect on his $40 million contract with CBS.
The most-read and commented post on Where Most Needed this year so far is the piece on the Imus Ranch (Imus Ranch Violates Charity Oversight Standards, April 11, 2007). Most (OK, all) of the comments have been from Imus fans (who disagree with the piece, naturally), and they have taken up bashing the entry on the fan blog Imustruth. But on Sunday the fan blog posted a link to a piece in the New York Magazine by Robert Kolker titled The Resurrection of Don Imus, which showed how much Mr. Imus is relying on charity to advance his personal interests.
The story reports that the $120 million lawsuit threatened by attorney Marvin Garbus includes $40 million for the fired jock and $80 million in lost income for the charities. Truth is, this isn't original reporting by New York Magazine. The magazine story fails to mention that the connection was outed in an interview of Mr. Garbus by Anderson Cooper on his 360 Degree program back in May:
COOPER: $120 million, the contract was for $40 million. How do you get $120 million? That's...
GARBUS: The contract is for $40 million, plus any indirect damages that he suffers, plus legal fees. The indirect damages are very substantial. He has certain other businesses, the income of which he gives to charities. That's a very substantial amount of money.
So, in other words, all of these businesses that he has -- he has a ranch, he has food products -- what he has been doing over the years is taking the monies, 100 percent of the monies from those businesses, and giving them to these particular charities. Without those monies, those charities are extraordinarily hampered. That's where you get the other $80 million.
What's noteworthy here is how closely enmeshed are Mr. Imus's interests and those of the charities he works with. It seems to me that charities are not supposed to be about personal gain. Yes, he's trying to help kids, but he's tying it to an attempt to gain $40 million for himself. And a serious question arises about how the legal bill is divvied up between Mr. Imus and the charity beneficiaries.
Don Imus seems to have a fascination with skating to the edge of what is acceptable. But he went over the edge and got himself fired from the radio, and I think he has gone over the edge again in tying his personal fortunes with the good will of sick kids.