Bradenton, Florida- In a follow up to a 10 News Investigation on Napier's Horse and Animal Sanctuary, it turns out the rescue spent more than six months operating as a charitable organization after its state registration expired in July.
STORY: Manatee animal sanctuary investigation continues
Aaron Keller, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the state tried working with Alan Napier. When the registration expired May 13, 2013 Keller says the state gave Napier a 60-day extension until July 13.
Keller says the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sent several letters to Napier in October, November and December about his expired registration/license as a charitable organization, but all were returned.
State officials say Napier reapplied on January 13, 2014, but the state denied his application a month later.
READ: Official denial of Napier's charitable organization status request
Registering as a charitable organization is required by state law. The status gives charities tax exemption.
In a letter to Napier dated February 12, state officials outline their reasons for denying Napier's application. The letter refers to Napier's website where he claims "100 percent of donations go to caring for the animals and are tax deductible as allowed by law." The website has recently been changed and the claim removed.
State officials point to IRS returns for 2012 that show of the $105,868 in revenue from public donations, more than $56,000 was used for expenses related to "supplies," "printing," advertising and promotion; "occupancy" and "insurance." The letter also state's the Napier property serves as a family residence.
Among the reasons listed are also the solicitation of contributions without being "properly registered" with the state as a charitable organization.
The letter also refers to a raid earlier this month when Manatee County Sheriff Deputies removed more than 300 animals from Napier's. State officials say the search warrant "revealed evidence of animal abuse, cruelty and neglect."
No charges have been filed.
10 News stopped by Napier's Horse and Animal Sanctuary on State Road 64 Friday morning. It appeared someone was cleaning up the property. 10 News was unable to reach Alan Napier for comment.
The Manatee Sheriff has filed a petition asking a Manatee County Judge to give the sheriff's office custody of Napier's animals. If granted, the rescue groups can put the animals up for adoption. The hearing is set for March 12 at 1:30 p.m.
READ: Attorney statement on behalf of the Napiers
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