Groups rush to aid Las Vegas victims as others gear up

Updated October 20, 2017 - 2:59 pm

Henderson resident Shannon Fleming is raising money for Las Vegas shooting victims but she doesn’t know what to do with the money.

“There’s got to be a way to get money to victims now,” Fleming said.

There is for Las Vegas resident Dustin Hoots, 33, who has been collecting prepaid credit cards, gift cards to specific grocery stores, supplies and delivering them to first responders and hospitals, as well as helping to pay bills for shooting victims.

“I’m trying to help the victims and families who can’t work right now because they got shot,” Hoots said. “I’m paying power bills and groceries and there’s supposed to be millions of dollars in a fund somewhere, it’s kind of concerning.”

Hoots and his team of around 20 call themselves the Helpful Hoodlums. Hoots estimates his team and another 20 to 30 volunteers have given about $2,300 in gift cards and prepaid credit cards to shooting victims and families and up to 900 cases of water and around 4,000 hot meals.

“We’re all just running around and trying to fill the gaps,” he said.

But collecting and distributing money is complicated. Hoots said he is staying away from collecting cash donations for now.

Bob Grossman, a former IRS Senior Trial Attorney and currently a tax attorney at the Tax Law Center in Las Vegas, said entities without 501(c)(3) status can accept money, that money is just not tax deductible. Grossman said it is wise to set up a separate fund with a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax status, so contributions can be tax deductible and there are people accountable for making fund distribution decisions. Nonprofit 501(c)(3) entities must have a board of directors.

Hoots said he is in the process of preparing his application to get 501(c)(3) tax status.

Applications abound

It’s not just Hoots who is heeding Grossman’s advice.

The Nevada Resort Association is preparing to file an application with the IRS for a 501(c)(3) for the creation of the VegasStrongFund.

The VegasStrongFund will pool resources from casino companies and will focus on “assisting victims and strengthening the community infrastructure needed to respond to — and begin healing from — this horrific event (on Oct. 1),” according to Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association. The fund was created on Oct. 6.

Several casinos have pledged at least $8 million, but haven’t yet said where the funds will go.

“Vegas Strong Fund is a domestic nonprofit corporation seeking tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. Contributions are voluntary and are not limited to resort association members,” Valentine said.

Jan Jones-Blackhurst, executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility at Caesars Entertainment Corp., said Thursday that she is serving as vice chairwoman of the board created for the VegasStrongFund. Other board members are:

— Scott Nielson, chairman of the board and president of Nielson Consulting, LLC.

— Kim Sinatra, executive vice president of the board and general counsel for Wynn Resorts, Ltd.

— Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

— Jeffrey Welch, executive vice president and chief legal officer at Red Rock Resorts.

— Erin McMullen, director of governmental affairs at Boyd Gaming.

— Virginia Valentine, secretary/treasurerof the board and president of the Nevada Resort Association.

Jones-Blackhurst said the board is still finalizing details of exactly what the funds will be used for and how the funds will be distributed, she said. The goal of having the fund is to make sure funds can be used to help shooting victims as well as to bolster community needs.

“We just want to make sure that we will be able to give back in a comprehensive form,” Jones-Blackhurst said.

Clark County is also working with a group to try to create a nonprofit 501(c)(3) on its behalf. County spokesman Dan Kulin said Wednesday that the county does not have the statutory authority to create its own 501(c)3. Clark County management is currently working to get a local committee formed to manage the process of distributing money in the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund online at GoFundMe as well as in a bank account hosted by Bank of Nevada, totalling more than $12.2 million combined as of Thursday. All of the funds in that pool of money are slated to go directly to shooting victims and families.

Next in line

But getting the IRS to clear those 501(c)(3) status applications is going to take a while. Grossman said it usually takes the IRS between three and six months to approve applications.

“This matter to the government is no more important than any other urgent matter. There are people who went through a hurricane in Florida. There are people who went through a hurricane in Texas. There are other tragic circumstances that the government has got to look at,” Grossman said.

Grossman added that the vetting process for those 501(c)(3)s is also serious business.

“The vetting process to get those application should give ease of mind to the donors that the charity is what it says it is,” he said.

Fleming said she wants answers. Who will get the money? How much will be given? When can victims and families get the help that they need?

“The way I see it, even if the state or the city has to come out of pocket to start helping families, they can always get reimbursed through that fund at a later date, as long as they get the money now to help the families out,” Fleming said. “If you have a husband that was the sole provider and now the wife is left without any income whatsoever and has a family, that money needs to help take care of them. We don’t want that money to be stuck for six months.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery talks about Las Vegas return
Michael Feighery, CEO of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, discusses the restaurant's upcoming return to the Las Vegas Strip.
Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
Developer Eric Cohen discusses his current building project at the Hughes Center office park in Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stratosphere to rebrand to The STRAT
The Stratosphere, a 1,150-foot-tall property in Las Vegas will be renamed The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod.
Local designers’ picks for the Las Vegas Market
The trends that local interior designers are noticing at the Las Vegas Market this year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trends in bath products at Las Vegas Market
Camille Herd, the showroom manager for European Bath Kitchen Tile & Stone, talks about the popularity of free-standing bath tubs. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Kitchen trends at Las Vegas Winter Market
Las Vegas Winter Market displayed kitchen trends that mirror common dining accessories at Strip eateries. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Emerging trends in gifts at Las Vegas Market
Julie Smith Vincenti, curator for the First Look showroom tour on gifts and lifestyle, talks about the emerging trends in those categories for this season. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Las Vegas house prices are rising
Southern Nevada home prices were up 12 percent year-over-year in November.
Caesars Republic Scottsdale
Caesars Entertainment Corp. is building its first non-gaming hotel in the United States in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Caesars Entertainment Corp.)
Interior designer Mikel Welch talks about trends for Las Vegas Market
Interior designer Mikel Welch, who also is the on-camera designer for TLC’s Trading Spaces, discusses the trends he sees for the 2019 Las Vegas Winter Market. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
SHOT Show 2019: MEGGITT Virtual Training
MEGGIT showcases its virtual training system at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.
MGM delivers 700 meals to TSA workers at McCarran
Chefs at Garde Manger at Mandalay Bay provided 700 meals to federal employees who are affected by the government shutdown. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
SHOT Show 2019: A "nonsemi-automatic” weapon
Brandon Dunham of Nevada-based Franklin Armory show off the company’s new rifle prototype it calls a “nonsemi-automatic” weapon. The gun does not use a gas system to fire.
Las Vegas-based concrete repair company knows how to beat the heat
ART Concrete Solutions, a Las Vegas concrete-repair firm, addresses the challenges of construction in the extreme heat and sun of Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas based company brings color to concrete in the desert heat
Semco Modern Seamless Surface, a Las Vegas surface engineering company, knows how to put color in concrete construction in the Vegas heat. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Fun photo booth at World of Concrete
World of Concrete show at the Las Vegas Convention Center sponsored by DeWalt gives conventioneers a chance for photos with giant tools. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
SHOT Show 2019: Laserstar Technologies
Laerstar Technologies showed off their laser engraving machines, that can be used to personalize anything from guns and knives, to medical tools and household items. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
World of Concrete Show has big equipment on display
World of Concrete Show has big equipment on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center including an impact crusher, concrete pump and a self-erecting portable concrete batch plant. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Shot Show 2019: Kalashnikov USA shows off new products
Jonathan Mossberg of Kalashnikov USA talks about new products on display at Shot Show 2019 in Las Vegas.
Crime
Suspect Breaks into Made In Argentina restaurant
Pablo Rodriguez, owner of the Made in Argentina restaurant on Valley View Blvd, describes the scene of the burglary that took place at his business on Sunday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle hit on US 95 in Las Vegas
Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Adam Whitmarsh was on a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 95, north of Ann Road, about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb 16, 2019, when a Honda CRV struck the back of the patrol car, causing the car to crash into the stopped vehicle. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
NYE Homicide suspects (1 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
NYE Homicide suspects (2 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police look for masked armed robbery suspect
Las Vegas police are looking for a masked man suspected of an armed robbery Feb. 14 in the west valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police officer found guilty of sexually abusing a child
Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was found guilty Wednesday of 28 counts, including sexual assault, lewdness with a child, child abuse and kidnapping.
Police, friends gather to bring attention to Celia Luna-Delgado's homicide case
Las Vegas police and loved ones of Celia Luna-Delgado, a homicide victim, gathered in an attempt to bring attention to the case. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nye County couple face 43 counts of allowing child abuse or neglect
The attorney for Marcel and Patricia Chappuis, operators of a private boarding school at the center of an ongoing abuse investigation, accused the Nye County Sheriff’s Office of harrassing and targeting the couple following a bail hearing Thursday morning.
Home security camera captures man stealing packages
Packages were stolen from outside a Las Vegas home on Feb. 7 and one of them contained chemotherapy drugs for a young cancer patient. (neighbors.ring.com)
North Las Vegas Police Release Info About 1986 Cold Case
North Las Vegas police released new details of a 1986 case involving 3-year-old Francillon Pierre. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
The creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team.
Several organizations and law enforcement agencies came together to announce the creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Addresses January 17th OIS (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman address members of the press regarding the officer involved shooting that took place on. January 31, 2019, in the vicinity of I-215 and Alta. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot, and is in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police address officer-involved shooting on Jan. 31 (Full)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman gave details on the officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 31, 2019, in Summerlin. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot and was in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Child Abuse Investigation At Northwest Academy
An investigation is currently underway by the Nye County Sheriff's Office at Northwest Academy for child abuse.
Lockdown ends at 2 Summerlin schools after Las Vegas police shooting
A man wanted on “violent felonies” was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot by Las Vegas police Thursday morning during a standoff in a west valley neighborhood.
Krystal Whipple Appears In Court For The First Time
Krystal Whipple, who is charged in the death of a nail salon manager, appeared Thursday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini, who scheduled a status hearing for April 1.
Metropd Addresses Ois From Jan 27 2019 (Short)
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police addresses officer-involved shooting
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Addresses Recent Ois (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department addresses recent officer involved shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
OIS press briefing Badura Avenue
Las Vegas police investigated an officer-involved shooting in the south valley, the department announced Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media briefing on Antwon Perkins arrest
LVMPD sex crimes bureau Lt .David Valenta speaks to the media about the arrest of Antwon Perkins, the suspect in Thursday’s abduction and assault of a Cadwallader Middle School student who was walking to school. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County Sheriff’s Office testing weapon mounted cameras
On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 the Nye County Sheriff’s Office announced the testing and evaluation of Weapon-Mounted Cameras (WMCs) from Viridian Weapon technologies at the Las Vegas Shot Show.
North Las Vegas OIS (Jan. 21)
North Las Vegas police provide information on an officer-involved shooting Monday night near Lake Mead and Fifth. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police Update on Fremont Street Shooting
Lt. Ray Spencer gives an update regarding a homicide investigation that occurred in front of a bus stop near Fremont Street and Casino Center, involving a security officer and another male.
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Alleged Las Vegas casino con man, who was on the run, appears in court
Mark Georgantas -- who entered a plea deal on a charge of stealing from people he met at Las Vegas casinos, but failed to show up for sentencing -- appearing in court after being captured in Utah. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Memorial service for Kwavon’tia Thomas
Timika Thomas sings during a memorial service for her son, Kwavon’tia Gregory Thomas, at Unity Baptist Church in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Kwavon’tia was shot and killed on Christmas Eve. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVMPD Looking For Blue Bucket Bandit - VIDEO
On December 31, 2018 detectives with the LVMPD Northwest Area Command Patrol Investigations Section received a report of the theft of a surveillance camera from the front porch of a residence located in the area of West Lake Mead Boulevard and North Rampart Boulevard. The victim in this case became aware of other residents in the neighborhood who had been the victim of similar crimes.
16-year-old boy fatally shot in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas police were investigating the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, marking the department’s first homicide investigation this year. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
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