Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Faith In Teaching is A Paper Nonprofit

What a future Florida licence plate may look like.

Post by Lindsay Beyerstein and Michael Hussey

Faith in Teaching (FIT) is a nonprofit paper company. The FIT web site www.faithinteaching.org is down. The web site can still be seen on Google cache. The frontpage had a message urging readers to support the I Believe licence plate.

When faith based schools close, good jobs are lost, teachers leave the state, and more tax dollars are required for public schools to absorb the children. The Miami Herald reported that for Catholic schools alone almost 1,300 schools have closed, and almost 400,000 children displaced due to decreased funding. When all Christian and Hebrew schools are included the numbers are even more staggering. The I Believe plate provides immediate impact to keeps jobs, teachers and lower school and property taxes in Florida. Our funding is 100% private donations, at no cost to taxpayers. Funds are distributed only within the state of Florida.

The amendment for the I Believe plates past 22 to 13 in the Florida Senate. There is no longer a need for the FIT web site. Beyond putting up $60,000 and doing some preliminary research to prove demand, it doesn't appear that FIT has to do any work for this money, in terms of manufacturing or distributing a product.

No current address can be found for FIT on Google Maps. The nonprofit was known to exist at 120 EAST ROBINSON STREET, ORLANDO FL. The defunct nonprofit Christian Offering Plate was at the same address. The nonprofits officers were David Mallen and Robert Wellen. Their wives Carla A. Mallen and Catherine L. Wellen are the president and vice-president of Faith in Teaching.

None of FIT players are education professionals. The Wellens work for TaxChex.

Robert J. Wellen, Jr. C.P.A.- An Accounting firm that provides personal and corporate tax preparations, as well as, Set-Up Corporations and Limited Liability Companies. The Wellen office is located on the corner of Parsons and Martin Luther King Blvd in Brandon. Quarterly Tax filings are now available.The Wellen Family are members of the Nativity Catholic Parish in Brandon. The telephone number for Robert J. Wellen, Jr.

David Mallen lost a race for the for the 9 Circuit Court judgeship in 2006. He works as a lawyer and a lobbyist. Carla Mallen is a homemaker.

The Mallens live in Orlando. The Wellens reside in Seffner. The Mallens have contribution $5,000 to Vern Buchanan in the last two election cycles. The Wellens have contributed $9,200 to Buchanan.

The Mallens and Wellens got Ronda Storms to sponsor the I Believe plate. Passage failed in 2008. Storms pushed too hard and alienated fellow Republicans.

The Mallens and Wellens were able to raise the $60,000 application fee. The money is to study if enough people would buy the $25.00 plates. FIT did not submit a professional survey last year. That didn't stop Storms from backing the I Believe plate. FIT would collect money from the sold plates and distribute tax dollars without oversight. The Wellens and Mallens are not education professionals and do not run an actual Christian education company. FIT exists only on paper. The amendment for the licence plate was put in late in the session because FIT could not withstand scrutiny.

Side note: this post could not have been written without the help of Lindsay Beyerstein.

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