Councilmember Pushes Back On Scrutiny Into Foundation's Charitable Giving

Cincinnati City Councilmember Jeff Pastor today said that media coverage and political criticism about charitable giving by a foundation he ran is racist.

Jun 28, 2019 at 12:14 pm
click to enlarge Councilmember Jeff pastor - Hailey Bollinger
Hailey Bollinger
Councilmember Jeff pastor

Cincinnati City Councilmember Jeff Pastor today took to social media to decry news stories detailing more than $300,000 given to local churches during the 2017 election season by the foundation Pastor led at the time.

Pastor, a Republican who won the ninth and final spot on council in 2017 by 223 votes over Democrat Michelle Dillingham, acknowledged he delivered the $25,000 checks from the Charles L. Shor Foundation for Epilepsy Research, Inc. to a number of churches, many in predominantly African-American communities.

Some Democrats, including Dillingham and fellow 2017 council campaign contender Laure Quinlivan, have said the practice amounted to buying votes from parishioners at those churches. Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Gwen McFarlin issued a stern statement this week about the new revelations, calling them "shameless."

Pastor today said there was nothing untoward about the donations in a Facebook post that lashed out at Democrats and media outlets reporting on the newly-released tax forms. Pastor, who is black, accused those outlets and politicians of racism.

"My only regret was that I couldn’t give more," Pastor wrote. "I did it and I’d do it again. Money went to scholarships, families in financial distress, job training, etc. Those are all good things and I’m not apologizing for sh*t. I did my damn job and felt good about help my people: poor black, white, and brown folks. Buying votes? Are you kidding me? Who’s selling votes?

"You racist mf’s spent your secret sweat equity on this racist shit?"

The donations from Shor Foundation first made the news last year. The full extent of the giving wasn't clear until recently, however, when the foundation's 2017 federal tax forms became available.

Leaders of multiple churches have acknowledged that Pastor delivered the checks to their congregations and spoke to them around the time of the election. However, some, including Rev. Damon Lynch III of New Prospect Baptist Church, said Pastor was not permitted to speak about his campaign during those presentations. Lynch also said he introduced Pastor and Shor.

According to the forms, the foundation gave $25,000 to Bloc Ministries, Corinthian Baptist Church, Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Inspirational Baptist Church, New Friendship Baptist Church, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, New Prospect Baptist Church, New St. John Baptist Church, Southern Baptist Church, Truth And Destiny Covenant and Zion Temple First Pentecostal Church. It is unclear how many of those donations came during the election.

Those donations represent more than 20 percent of the foundation's $1.4 million in charitable giving in 2017. The Cincinnati Zoo, the Hillel Society at Miami University, the Cleveland Clinic and other organizations also received sizable contributions.

The foundation, started by Duro Bag heir and conservative philanthropist Charles Shor, hired Pastor in September 2017 as its director. Shor also underwrote $550,000 in loans to Pastor for the purchase of a house in North Avondale.