Comment: Dona Aña County has cautiously abandoned their single source agreement with Kelly Barker. (See the Sunday columns April 11 and May 30, 2021.) Currently, Barker is still soliciting donations for his “nonprofit organization,” Uncaged Paws, but allegedly uses his funds for other purposes.
Former business partner Kathy Tarochione says she saw through Kelly. She has apologized to the people she helped attack Barker and is now ready to speak candidly about Barker. (They bought and own a house together. Barker – understandably – reacted badly to Tarochione’s franchise. Tarochione recently moved out, after accusing Barker of elder abuse.) Tarochione says Barker filed a check from the association on their joint account to pay off the mortgage. Barker’s bank statements raise questions. People who are considering donating deserve to know the truth, whatever it is.
Ms Barker did not respond to me in April, then told a third party that she would not speak, on the advice of a lawyer. On September 1, I wrote to his lawyer. Nothing. Five days later, I was writing again. He responded by asking many detailed, dumbest questions, an obvious delay tactic. I responded quickly, answering questions that were reasonable. He never offered anything to counter Tarochione’s revelations and other critics.
Regarding the personal use of nonprofit funds, Barker’s lawyer only replied, “What does ‘for personal use’ mean? If neither he nor his client know, the association could have serious problems. (Barker’s nonprofit is no longer in good standing with the state, possibly for not having filed the required documents.)
We knew Ms. Barker had been tried for fraud over $ 50,000 in a Michigan court. More recently, a woman made a detailed allegation of fraudulent behavior by Ms. Barker, claiming to have lost over $ 200,000. (There is evidence, including a promissory note.) A wealthy Detroit businessman told me he loaned Barker over a million and got ripped off. (As in the case of the fraud judgment, the money going to Dubai was part of the story.)
Tarochione says Barker lied to the mortgage company by failing to disclose the federal tax liens and the promissory note. I saw the privilege and the note.
Tarochione also said Barker collects unemployment. Tarochione said when she asked Barker how she got unemployment, not having been employed, Barker said, “They don’t know.” A “final collection letter” from NM Workforce Solutions warned Barker that the department would register a lien on his property and could take further legal action regarding the $ 18,274 he was allegedly “overpaid”.
I believe the GA office is investigating Uncaged Paws for fraud. (This does not necessarily mean Barker is guilty, only that complaints have been received.) Barker obtained a COVID-19 EIDL loan and allegedly used some of the funds in an unacceptable manner. One of the goals of the Economic Disaster Loan Program is employee protection, which Uncaged Paws does not have. Bank documents appear to confirm Tarochione’s accusation that Barker used the EIDL loan for other purposes.
I cannot say that Mrs Barker is trying to defraud donors. I am not the prosecutor. I cannot subpoena her files, or force her to speak to me. People are making various allegations and various authorities are investigating or warning her. Ms Barker declined to deny or explain her conduct, and her lawyer attempted to mislead me with her overdue letter, while he and Barker apparently had no intention of frankly discussing these matters.
Again, I can’t say how all of these issues should come out. I hope if Barker has any explanations or defenses she will share them for some time.