LeRoy Butler's Charity Under Investigation by Internal Revenue Service

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 23, 2013

LeRoy Butler, playing for the Packers in 2000.
LeRoy Butler, playing for the Packers in 2000.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler has a charity that is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Eric Litke of the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team reports that the LeRoy Butler Foundation, which was founded in 1999, has been raising money over the past 10 years or so but has made only one annual filing to the IRS.

The report notes that both a Wassau businessman and an ex-associate of Butler's charity discussed the matter with IRS agents. Butler had also accepted appearance fees of up to $10,000 for events the foundation hosted.

The money, as Butler has said in the past, has gone to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or their families. That seems to go against what Butler himself admitted in taking lucrative appearance fees.

Due to the IRS inquiry, Sendik's Food Market—which has several locations in southwestern Wisconsin—has cut off its partnership with the LeRoy Butler Foundation. Sendik's spokesman Nicholas Bandoch emailed the company's explanation, per Litke's report:

Sendik’s has had a relationship with LeRoy Butler that has included both a marketing and charitable component. In working with LeRoy over the past few years, we know he has a big heart and wants to help as many people as he can. However, given the questions that have been raised, Sendik’s will take no further action in support of the Leroy Butler Foundation.

That could be an emerging trend if this investigation reveals clear, deliberate IRS violations.

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The last filing Butler made with the IRS came in 2002. Litke also highlights a second charity Butler founded called the LeRoy Butler Scholarship Fund. That began in 2009 but lost its tax exempt status after the fund didn't file tax returns by 2012.

Although it seems Butler's intentions have been noble in establishing these charities, he has had a clear history of IRS red flags that may jeopardize his foundation's future.

Butler was a second-round pick in the 1990 draft and spent his entire career with the Packers. The 45-year-old was a four-time All-Pro and amassed 33 interceptions and 20.5 sacks over the course of 12 NFL seasons.