Questionable payment from former Packers player's foundation

Posted at 10:30 PM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 11:36:46-04

Questions arising about a former Packers player and his foundation. The I-Team looked into money given to the Santana Dotson Foundation and whether all of it went where he said it did. The investigation began after a tip from sports talk radio host Bill Michaels. He pointed us to a legal settlement involving Santana Dotson and a local woman.

Kristin Magolan from Mukwonago dated Dotson for a few years. She says she trusted him. But, in 2016 Magolan sued Dotson saying he never repaid loans totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars and accused Dotson of using her credit cards without permission.

"Rightfully that money's mine and my children's," Magolan said. She can't talk about the details of the settlement. The I-Team dug into court documents. 

The settlement agreement from June shows more than $500,000 in loans to Dotson and the foundation. Magolan agreed to consider the loans a donation to the Foundation, making the $500,000 eligible for a tax deduction. Dotson agreed to pay Magolan $20,000 for personal debts.
"And that's where things get a little bit weird and different," said Joseph Wall, an accounting professor at Marquette University. We asked Wall to look into the Foundation.
Dotson has made several scheduled payments on the settlement, but it's unclear whether he is paying the personal debts. Copies of the checks show payments coming from his non-profit foundation.

"The check coming straight with his signature usually suggests that one of two things is happening. If it's done properly it's a payment from the Foundation to someone who lent them money, Or it's done improperly it's a payment to someone on a personal basis," Wall said. 

Wall said it is possible for a foundation to make a loan to a board member, but said good accounting practices require the foundation to issue a loan as a lump sum- not as individual payments directly to a third party.

"It would make things not match up with what we can see," said Wall.

The settlement states the Foundation "does not currently have the ability to make any payments on said loans." 

On September 3rd, Dotson appeared in Brookfield for his Foundation. According to an Instagram post about the event "they will be using the funds to help Houston children with school supplies and other necessities." The event raised almost $18,000.

The I-Team asked Magolan how she feels that Dotson is paying personal debts with the Foundation's money. She said she is "distraught."

Magolan got a $1,000 check from the Dotson Foundation just weeks after the September event.

Without transparency, Wall said the foundation's tax filings raise some questions about where donated money might be going.

"They had a stated goal of giving scholarships to the impoverished community. If they would show the paper trail for that, it would let us all know where the money went," Wall said.

Foundations only have to do that if they're bringing in or spending more than $50,000 a year. The Dotson Foundation hasn't filed detailed tax forms since 2011. Despite the fact that Magolan's suit alleges they got ten times that over two years.

Magolan sat down with us because she wants people to expect more from the former Packer and his foundation.

Magolan said she can't comment on whether or not fundraiser money going on now is going to where Dotson says it's going.

The I-Team called Dotson, and both emailed and called the foundation. No communication was returned.

Dotson occasionally comes to Wisconsin for events, but lives in Houston.