To the Leadership of People’s Park Foundation and Liberty State Park for All,
Now that tax season is over, I have been trying to get your organizations’ tax-exempt documentation for the past several weeks.
My requests have been ignored despite repeated attempts to reach Bob Hurley, President of the People’s Park Foundation (a registered 501(c)3); Arnold Stovell, Executive Director of Liberty State Park for All (a registered 501(c)4); and Elnardo Webster, an attorney associated with both the People’s Park Foundation and Liberty State Park for All. I have also reached out to Team Walker, the non-profit run by Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker who is one of the founders of the People’s Park Foundation, and The Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation.
As registered non-profits, you are required by the Internal Revenue Code to share Form 990 and your exemption status applications upon request by a member of the public. In addition to trying to reach each of you individually, I went to the registered address for the People’s Park Foundation (at the PostNet on Grove) to request a better way to contact you. I have not heard back.
As your organizations are advocating for changes to Liberty State Park, I believe the public has a right to know how much money you have raised and how much money you have spent in your advocacy for the construction of stadiums, indoor sports complexes, and concert venues on state parkland. Public disclosures show at least $1.1 million in revenue for the People’s Park Foundation in 2021 and $375,000 for Liberty State Park for All in 2020. We want to see your records for 2020, 2021, and 2022, going back to the respective inception of each organization.
While you are not required to disclose individual donors on your Form 990, the people of Jersey City deserve to know how much money has been raised, from whom, and to what organizations the money has gone. Paul Fireman’s foundation has provided funding in the past. I also know from the event held at 902 Brewing that money has gone to MikeWorldWide for public relations and marketing efforts. We want to know who your other donors are. Based on your previous statements, we also want to know how much the renowned architects were paid for their renderings, which urban planners were hired to draw up the plans, which developers were contacted to provide cost estimates, and which sports management companies were consulted to operate the proposed stadiums. We also want to know how much money, if any, was spent on an environmental impact survey to study the costs of “elevating the park” out of the flood zone and its effects on neighboring communities.
The people of Jersey City have fought long and hard to protect Liberty State Park from overdevelopment attempts like yours. The DEP has been on the cusp of unveiling their plans for community recreation and habitat restoration, which you have consistently misrepresented. Given your attempts to muddy the waters around Liberty State Park, we now deserve total transparency from the People’s Park Foundation and Liberty State Park for All. Release your Form 990s, release your exemption application, and release information on all your donors and partners.
Eric Allen Conner