Suspicious charity may have netted $150,000 from Tucsonans, ex-employees say
By Carol Ann Alaimo and Patty Machelor
Arizona Daily Star
Sep 23, 2018
The man behind an out-of-state charity that claimed to help local foster kids may have raised as much as $150,000 in Tucson before he recently left town without accounting for the cash, one of his former assistants says.
A second ex-assistant, who oversaw the Tucson operation for about a month this summer, says local shoppers and diners dropped a total of $4,000 to $8,000 a week into cash donation jars set up outside stores and restaurants across the city.
The man who controlled the money, Bruce Landau, founder of the now-defunct Southern AZ Foster Kids, left town last month having spent virtually nothing on local foster children and now seems to be broke, according to the former assistants.
They said Landau, 63, recently wrote them thousands of dollars worth of bad checks for back wages. They eventually got paid only after Landau’s 91-year-old father intervened to cover their wage claims, they said.
Landau, who set up a near-identical fundraising outfit in Las Vegas within days of leaving Tucson, declined to answer most of the questions he was asked for this story. But in an email Friday, he disputed that he was out of money or needed his family’s help to pay off former staffers.
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