Shriners Shame Review
by Laurel Johnson
Shriner's Shame: The Dark Side of the World's Greatest Philanthropy, by Sandy Frost is available through Dandelion Books. It is also available on Amazon Kindle.
Sandy Frost is a U.S. Navy veteran who has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her investigative reporting.
As a journalist with a gift for tracking down elusive leads, she goes where the evidence takes her. When a beleaguered Shriner contacted her with concerns about his organization, Frost began an investigation that produced shocking truths. Her findings were documented in detail at Newsvine and finally in this book.
Vernon Hill was that whistle blower. Paul Dolnier is the tax accountant and IRS Revenue Officer who joined Hill in revealing the dark underbelly of one of the world’s richest philanthropical organizations.
Frost, through her contact with Hill and Dolnier, discovered that the Shriners and their associated group,
The Royal Order of Jesters have priorities other than burned and crippled children. Dandelion Books and Ms. Frost are donating one dollar from each book sold to ECPAT-USA. (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.)
Disclaimer: Frost makes it clear that hundreds of thousands of good and faithful Shrine brothers are honest men, devoted to their charitable work. Most are unaware of how a small handful of influential members turned this iconic organization to the dark side.
Frost shows no mercy to those Shriners and Royal Order of Jesters members who deliberately sullied Shrine laws and philosophies.
She names names, provides dates and locations gleaned from news articles in the Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times and other major dailies; from official court documents; from investigations by nonprofit watchdog groups; from interviews with witnesses; and from Shrine Treasurers reports online. These well-documented findings include:
Lack of financial accountability and transparency;
Financial conflicts of interest and disclosure discrepancies;
Ruthless retaliation against whistle blowers or others who disagree with infractions;
Misuse of funds donated for burned and crippled children;
Fraud related to Shrine Circus ticket sales;
Orgies that would make Bacchus blush, including soliciting prostitutes for group meetings and arranging child sex tours offshore;
Tax fraud and corruption.
Frost followed the money trail throughout the investigation. In cases where the organization lost, or spent more than they took in, cash assets simply disappeared without explanation.
Questions from Frost, the IRS, and other alphabet groups have gone unanswered. The Shrine chain of command will not permit questions because they say Shrine law supersedes state laws.
If everything is above board, as they insist, why won’t they answer pertinent questions? Are they above the law?
The answer to that question is NO. A few Shriners and Jesters, pillars of their communities, crumbled under IRS or FBI investigations and have been prosecuted successfully.
However, at this time, the Shriners organization has neither denounced nor punished members involved in or convicted of crimes.
This is a book of disturbing revelations, written despite threats and bully tactics that placed Ms. Frost’s personal safety and reputation at risk.
This is what good investigative journalists do. They dig until they discover the truth and shine a bright light on their findings.
They reveal truth, even when that truth is inconvenient or shocking.
In this era of economic trouble in every aspect of society, Shriner’s Shame is a timely book. You may want to rethink your charitable donations this year.
--Review by Laurel Johnson for Midwest Book Review
Read an Excerpt
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