Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Navy: Blue Angels fundraisers not tied with service, museum

May. 4, 2013 - 03:56PM   |  
Blue Angels, Naval Air Station Pensacola,
The Blue Angels practice in front of a crowd of thousands at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Ben Twingley/Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal)
  • Filed Under

Officials with the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum are disavowing any connection with a Pensacola, Fla., group called Save Our Blues that is soliciting money on their behalf.

Further, state records indicate that Save Our Blues isn’t registered to solicit tax-deductible donations as required by signing up with the Florida Division of Corporations and the Florida Division of Consumer Services in Tallahassee.

Repeated phone calls from a reporter to Ron Nelson, listed on the group’s website as its director, weren’t returned. Neither were several calls to Save Our Blues accountant and tax attorney, Diane Porter, for whom an Alabama phone number is listed on the website SaveOurBlues.org.

Nelson is listed in state records, on file in Tallahassee, as a principal in a company called The Life Team Inc., which is described as a for-profit venture. Nelson, shown on state records to have a Pensacola address, is listed on the Save Our Blues website as the vice president of another company called Profit Masters USA. Through the Save Our Blues website, prospective contributors can find promotional information about Profit Masters USA, which offers a series of products and services, such as directions on starting a fundraising business, among other ventures.

On the organization’s website and in an advertisement it purchased in the May 1 edition of the Pensacola News Journal, Save Our Blues states that its fundraising campaign is “intended to be of benefit” to both the elite flight demonstration team and the museum’s managing foundation at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The ad states its fundraising goal is $50,000 and seeks individual donations as small as $10. Also sought by the ad are volunteers to help with a letter-writing crusade aimed at persuading Washington politicians to enact legislation to reverse the effects of across-the-board federal budget cuts that recently grounded the Blue Angels.

In a disclaimer, the ads state that Save Our Blues isn’t affiliated with the museum or the Navy “other than the support of each.”

In fact, neither the Blue Angels nor officials at the museum foundation knew in advance about Save Our Blues’ charitable plans, and both have requested that the organization stop activities using their names.

Lt. Katie Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Blue Angels, said Thursday that a Navy attorney has responded to the Save Our Blues campaign by sending the enterprise a letter requesting that it “cease and desist.”

Retired Navy Capt. Ed Ellis, the museum’s corporate secretary, said he reached Nelson by phone to protest Save Our Blues’ fundraising campaign.

“I said that we would need to know more about your organization if you’re going to solicit money in our name. We would need information about your financial controls and administrative costs,” Ellis said.

The museum has lost revenue this summer from cancellation of the Blue Angels’ practices, held at the adjacent Sherman Field. Although the practices are free to the public, they generate thousands of visitors on whom the museum relies to buy tickets to its theater, plunk coins in flight simulators and buy souvenirs in the gift shop. Still, the foundation’s tax returns in recent years show that it’s several million dollars in the black.

The Blue Angels, while grounded by the Defense Department through their 2013 air show season because of federal budget cuts, remain on the Navy’s payroll. The Navy also is funding maintenance of the team’s fighter jets and enough fuel so that the pilots can fly enough to maintain aviation proficiency.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

Warrant officers wanted
Make this career move, get promoted and get paid

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook