Is Sister Cities a Tax scam?

By:  Diane Benjamin

From the bottom of the Sister Cities website:

When I FOIA’d the names of people who went on the trip, I got a list of names.  Hand written on the sheet is:

Since I didn’t FOIA donations, I wondered why they would give me that list and why these people would donate at all.  Donations  are obviously different from the people who went on the trip.

Unless – these people made tax-deductible donations for the cost of the trip.  We know the City paid for the trip.  We don’t know if the total cost was ever paid by the people who went and if they plan on taking a tax deduction for it.  I suggest they don’t!

Under IRS rules, that would be an illegal deduction.  Deductions must be decreased by the value received for donating.  If the plan was to get a tax-deductible trip, they need to re-think that plan.


This is the entire list a received by FOIA:  Donations

The total is almost $63,000, not enough to cover the costs paid by the City.

Since I do not have a list of the people who took the trip, I have people attempting to match the names on the “donations” list to the pics on the Sister Cities Facebook page:


10 thoughts on “Is Sister Cities a Tax scam?

  1. Ooh! This could get absolutely delicious!

    Please take care for your personal safety, Diane. In the age of Renner, Antifa (there IS local activity, BTW) Bike BLONO and Black Lives Matter, you are up against some people with no compunction about “playing rough”. It is clearly a National trend.


  2. The only reason for refusing to provide you with the names is that they are hiding information. There’s a pretty big gap that needs to be accounted for, and great former CPA like you needs to start going through this with a fine tooth comb. If they don’t cooperate , perhaps an IRS audit might be what they need.


  3. I agree be careful. After reading posts on Social Networking pages of NIOT, and local media it is clear s lot of people out there are full of unjustified intense hatred of anyone who disagrees with them.


    1. Too much saki, prolly passed out on the floor somewhere. Perhaps slinked under the table and being used as a foot rest.


    2. The Mayor and his guest may have taken a cab/uber. You know, traveling with the delegates wasn’t part of the arrangement.


  4. Committee Members list Not enough names for the numbers mentioned.
    So, money went into the city as donations and then City cut the checks / P cards
    and had to use money from general fund since this is over budget for last fiscal year and this one? How was this paid for and from what funds? Does look like those that went paid from their own hard money but then have the potential to write off the donation?

    Darren Sampson
    Catrina Murphy
    Ken Ota
    Akiko Wilson
    Cindy Hansen
    Mary Anne Schierman
    Robert Harrison
    Sanae Ferrier
    Steven Campbell
    Toyoka Nishara
    Noha Shawki
    Kyle Silver


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