Los Angeles police last week began looking into the possible embezzlement of more than $700,000 from the Save A Heart Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that offers paid fellowships to Israeli cardiologists who want to study under specialists at the Westside hospital.
A Save A Heart Foundation board member raised concerns about financial irregularities in May 2006, after the foundation’s longtime administrative assistant began an extended sick leave. Cedars officials were notified, and the hospital’s internal auditing department began an investigation, identifying between $700,000 and $900,000 worth of questionable expenditures by the administrative assistant, according to hospital spokesman Rich Elbaum.
This past March, Cedars officials met with the board of Save A Heart and, Elbaum said, "recommended that they obtain separate counsel, notified them of their obligation to report as a nonprofit organization missing funds to the state attorney general and urged them to report it to the police as well."
But the foundation did not contact the Los Angeles Police Department until Aug. 30, the same day The Journal called asking about the alleged bilking. The press secretary for California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Save A Heart has not filed documents and disclosures that are required of all nonprofits since 2005. The foundation was recently sent a notice of delinquency.
According to Greenberg’s story, the Foundation only contacted the LAPD on August 30, the day the Jewish Journal first called to ask about this story (four days after I broke it).
Brad emails: "Hey Luke, Just so you know I didn’t poach from your blog without giving you credit (which I always do when I mention stories from it on The God Blog), I was working on the Save A Heart story when you posted the anonymous letter, which I also received."
Just because I like to bust your journalistic chops, Brad, you know that it is irrelevant how long ago you had this information. As far as journalistic protocol goes, the story still broke on my site nine days before anywhere else and is an important part of the timeline you describe in your story.