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Should a FL School Return a $20K Donation from a Strip Club Owner?

rodriguez charities

Donor Joe Rodriguez and Principal Glenda Garrett

Let’s call this the tale of the strip club owner with a heart of gold.

Joe Rodriguez, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s Pure Platinum adult nightclub and a chain of Florida gentlemen’s clubs simply (aptly?) named The Cheetah, has been making donations to schools, parks and other community institutions for years under the auspices of Rodriguez Charities, a foundation that has “raised at least a half-million dollars, primarily through charity car washes and golf and poker tournaments.”  As The Sun-Sentinel dryly notes, “The events feature scantily clad women.”

According to the paper, “Last week, Rodriguez Charities cut a check for $10,000 — the second time in two years — for a West Palm Beach school, Roosevelt Elementary, which has a high percentage of students who live in low-income neighborhoods.”  The school was considering returning the $20,000 gift because of Rodriguez’s line of work, but The Palm Beach Post‘s gossip website Page2Live reports that principal Glenda Garrett has decided to keep the donation.  According to Page2Live, Garrett says, “When you run a school as poor as this one and you get a donation…. you’re just grateful for what you get.”

Other schools in South Florida have had no qualms accepting donations from Rodriguez.  Rodriguez donated money to students at Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach who “were struggling to raise money to visit Washington, D.C.”  He also bought uniforms for the school’s football team.  (I wonder if they feature scantily clad women as well.  Go Wildcats!)

Marcy Smith, Broward schools’ spokeswoman says, “Since Rodriguez operates a legal business and a legal charity, Broward has no qualms about the donation.”  My pal Brooke Van Poppelen at Tru TV’s Dumb as a Blog agrees that taking money from a strip club owner is no big deal.  She wrote, “To this school district I say: DON’T BE DUMB.  ACCEPT A STACK OF 20,000 ONE DOLLAR BILLS.”

Why not?  Some of Mr. Rodriguez’s taxes likely go to fund local schools – what’s the difference?  What do you think?  Is it wrong for public institutions to accept charitable donations from a strip club owner?

Sources:

Dumb as a Blog

Sun-Sentinel

Photo: Rodriguez Charities via Page2Live

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