With at least $22,000 in donations unaccounted for and its organizers embroiled in an ugly public feud, the Portland Women’s March looks like it may not have been quite the success many had hoped for.
The crowd at the January march was estimated to be between 70,000 and 100,000 people. Massive profits from t-shirt sales had organizers hoping they could use that money for future events, but something happened to prevent that: the money went missing.
According to The Oregonian, the Oregon Department of Justice is looking into a complaint alleging that one of the organizers of the march may have absconded with thousands of dollars in donations.
Rebekah Katherine Brewis of PDX Trans Pride (PTP), a group that billed itself as “the official fiscal sponsors of the Women’s March on Portland,” has been blamed by the other organizers of the event as the prime suspect for the missing funds.
Rather than the Portland Women’s March secure non-profit status for themselves, Brewis’s PTP group was brought on to allow the march to collect funds. But with no written contract ever signed, the group is now refusing to account for the missing money.
Lead organizer Margaret Jacobsen took to Facebook to pass the buck for the missing funds onto Brewis, writing:
“After the event was over we contacted Ms. Brewis to discuss the need for additional reimbursements and how to handle the remaining funds. At that time Ms. Brewis said it was her intention to keep all of the funds for PTP, which was never agreed to. She then stopped communicating with us about the issue.”
Jacobsen went on to imply that PTP may not be as legitimate of an organization as they were led to believe, claiming that Brewis had removed her fellow board members from the organization and implied that donations may no longer be tax deductible due to Brewis’s actions.
When contacted by The Oregonian, Brewis called the allegations “absolutely unfounded,” but would comment no further.
A statement released through the PDX Trans Pride Facebook page fired back at Jacobsen and the other march organizers with their own allegations of misconduct, writing:
“PDX Trans Pride condemns the transphobia perpetuated by Margaret Jacobsen and Erica Fuller, past Women’s March on Portland co-leaders through their recently published false narrative about our organization and it’s leaders, along with our lead role and control of the Women’s March on Portland 2017, which we fully permitted, insured, and fiscally sponsored.
These individuals (who are jobless) have been trying to access the list of donations we’ve received so they can profit off of the event for their own corporate gain.”
It’s still unclear who’s telling the truth, but with the money still missing and the Oregon Department of Justice getting involved, it looks like the drama is just getting started.