www.planetktexas.com GROWNUP GIFTS FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES iM AUSTIN & NORTH SOUTH EAST S.E.MILITARY 832-8544 443-2292 654-8536 333-3043 RESEARCH E. RIVERSIDE CENTRAL WEST 502-9323 441-5555 822-7767 521-5213 “I wanted them to be dissatisfied with their lives. I wanted them to be restless. To want more.” “I wanted them to be dissatisfied with their lives,” Carol says of the children. “I wanted them to be restless. To want more.” With celebrity came increased scrutiny. When the Porters moved across the street to a 2,700 square-foot ranch-style and when one of the company cars became a Lincoln, some people started to look at them more skeptically. Were the Porters living off Kid Care? Carol says that a local dealership, which did pro-bono work on Kid Care cars, let them have the Lincoln “dirt cheap.” She admits to one mistake: “We should have told people that we had our own money. We just never thought about it.” The Porters say they didn’t think about much besides Kid Care. “We were obsessed,” Carol says. “Our house was 24/7 Kid Care. There was no balance in my life. My family was neglected.” Their son, Hurt III, is now 35. He recently returned from service in Iraq as a Marine Corps medic. He doesn’t miss the charity. “I hated Kid Care,” he says. “Other kids were better taken care of than I was. There’d be Christmas toys that weren’t marked for any family, just sitting there on the floor. But I couldn’t have them. I even had to deliver them to other kids. Because my mother wouldn’t take anything away from Kid Care.” Kid Care had a glittering board of directors. It included then-District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal \(who has since resigned after a sordid scandal involving deceased former Ambassador Roy Huffington \(ex-father-in-law and bank presidents and other corporate heavyweights. Some of the Porters’ loyalists say the board was largely filled with people who wanted to be associated with Kid Care, but didn’t want to get their hands dirty. “Some were there to get their exposure rather than [to] help out,” says longtime board member George Williams. Quan, who was eventually dismissed from the board when the Porters accused him of leaking information to Dolcefino, comes to the same conclusion by a different path. It was, he says, a “good-looking board, but everyone was really busy. “It’s good to have a high-profile board,” Quan says, “but who’s going to do the work?” Quan was the only former board member other than Williams who returned phone calls about this story. \(He meetings and other documents, friction grew between some board members and the Porters. Several members thought the Porters were spreading their resources too thin, and that Kid Care should concentrate on feeding hungry children. When Carol announced her intention to open the first “non-profit fine dining restaurant” in the large new building Kid Care was about to open, at least one board member stepped down, saying that he couldn’t support further expansion of the charity’s activities. But Carol saw the restaurant, and the profits she believed it would generate, as important steps in continuing to expand Kid Care’s reach. The Porters and board members alike were increasingly concerned about structural issues. In 2000, Dini Partners, a nonprofit consulting group, was brought in to study the charity. Its report called Kid Care “a high performing not-for-profit” that was also suffering from a “not well-defined structure.” At a 2002 board meeting, held after Dolcefino’s series had begun to air, the board and the Porters discussed Kid Care’s problematic “crisis intervention” program. Money tended to be spent wherever Kid Care staff saw a pressing needwhether it was a one-time school uniform purchase for a needy kid, a birthday party for a Kid Care volunteer who’d never had one before, or private-school tuition for a former Enron employee’s child. “Crisis intervention” was a loosely used term, and it allowed Dolcefino to portray it as a way for the Porters to hand out money according to their personal whims. Kid Care had other less-than-professional practices when it came to spending money. Carol and Hurt gave employees Kid Care American Express cards so that they could make quick used the cards for personal expenses, and repaid Kid Care when bill-paying time came. The Porters acknowledge that the credit card use was a mistake. For one thing, the billing statements provided Dolcefino with an itemized paper trail he used against them.
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