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United Way of Ventura About To Cave In By Giving The Local BSA Funding Inspite of Its Anti-discrimination Policy,1375,VCS_226_323952 5,00.html

United Way settles lawsuit

Agency agrees to pay $65,000 to area nonprofits

By John Mitchell,
October 8, 2004

The United Way of Ventura County will distribute $65,000 to nonprofits who were member agencies in 2001-02, according to a settlement of a lawsuit announced Thursday.

Denny and Allyson Weinberg of Camarillo filed the suit in September 2003 alleging United Way charged higher fees for processing their contributions than the agency had promised.

Terms of the settlement revealed in Ventura County Superior Court call for United Way to allocate money to each agency in the same proportion as the funds each agency received in connection with the 2001-02 campaign.

The settlement must be approved by the United Way board of directors, which meets Oct. 28. Mike Silacci, board chairman, said he was optimistic and confident "that the board will seriously consider the settlement and
make a sound decision."

Both sides said they were pleased with the agreement.

David M. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Ventura County, called it a fair settlement.

"United Way can now focus its attention on the very important work before us," Smith said. "That would be our annual campaign to raise funds to support our agencies and the important work they do in the community."

Denny Weinberg said that he and Allyson feel that most of the issues important in the complaint have been resolved to their satisfaction.

"This will clearly be good for the member agencies," he said. "We feel it's most important that the contentiousness that may have existed between all parties is settled with this agreement."

Part of the contentiousness was due to United Way's antidiscrimination requirement of member agencies. The Boy Scouts of America, staunchly backed by the Weinbergs, bar homosexuals from leadership positions.

In September, United Way revised its policy on discrimination, allowing it to give money to such groups as the Boy Scouts of America.

"We were very pleased when United Way replaced its previous policy," said Denny Weinberg. "The fact that that happened helped the parties come together on remaining issues."

Denny Weinberg is an executive with Wellpoint, but said the lawsuit was a personal matter and had nothing to do with his company.

During the fund-raising year that ended June 30, United Way raised $4.2 million, down $900,000 from the previous year.

Missing was a substantial contribution from Wellpoint employees and corporate matches that had totaled $786,963 the previous year. In the campaign just completed, the Wellpoint contribution was $51,000.

United Way's goal for the current campaign is $4.6 million

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