Festival Entity Not Registered as Charity; the State Wants the Organization to Justify Accepting Public Funds

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE CRAWFORD

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Charles Walker Jr. has 30 days to explain to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office how his organization can accept public contributions when it is not registered with the state as a public charity.

The entity, Heritage Crest Foundation, has become the headquarters of the James Brown Soul of America Music Festival, scheduled for May 25-28 in downtown Augusta. As a result, the organization has been soliciting donations, sponsorships and services to bring the festival to fruition. Last month, Walker said he had raised $169,000 in donations and $2.2 million in in-kind services for the festival.

In a letter Tuesday from the Secretary of State Division of Securities and Business Regulation, officials ask Walker to either register his Heritage Crest Foundation as a public charity or explain why the organization is exempt from such registration.

The letter says Heritage Crest must file its application to register as a charity with the state no later than May 4.

Heritage Crest's articles of incorporation, filed in 2001, state that it is organized as 501(c)(3) corporation for "charitable and educational" purposes. …