Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 31, 2020
Conserve Amelia Now, Inc. is not a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation, according to their spokesman. Chuck Oliva, the corporation’s treasurer, claims it never has been. But as the saying goes, stuff happens.
Paperwork to officially incorporate the organization on April 30, 2019, was filed through IncFile an electronic filing company which states on its website, “We make registering a company as easy as possible, so you can focus on the important things.”
The individuals who filed the application — Oliva, Alfred Laub and Robert Weintraub — apparently thought they were filing to create a regular corporation. In Conserve Amelia Now’s Articles of Incorporation, the purpose of the organization is “To engage in any lawful activity, including those which foster conservation and preservation efforts.” But somehow the application was filed as a 501c3, and despite disclaimers to all inquiries, the status has not yet been corrected on SunBiz, the state’s official listing of incorporations.
According to Oliva, Conserve Amelia Now was never intended to be a 501c3 corporation; no paperwork was ever filed with the IRS to obtain tax exempt status.
With campaign season heating up, and the Fernandina Observer’s publication of donor information, many of our readers questioned the legitimacy of Conserve Amelia Now’s contributions to local candidates. And with the information on the state’s website, you can understand the concerns.
According to language found in the official definition of a 501c3 corporation, “No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
Oliva acknowledges that the organization needs to get the information on the state website corrected to eliminate the confusion.