Legion is about a third toward its goal

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The American Legion Post 56’s campaign to raise money so that it can stay afloat financially and keep its building is about a third of the way to its target.

The post has raised $27,155 since the campaign began March 1. There have been 148 donors. The goal is to raise $85,000.

Roger Bakken

The donated funds are deposited with the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and are to be used for offsetting mortgage and debt. The hope is that will free the club’s cash flow so it can pay off payroll taxes it owes the federal government.

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People wishing to donate should send a check to the foundation at 2580 Bridge Ave. with the annotation “Legion Mortgage and Debt Reduction.” The donations are tax-deductible.

Post 56 Cmdr. Roger Bakken penned a column that printed May 20 in the Albert Lea Tribune. In it, he said, the mismanagement problems stem all the way back to the 1980s but also stated the club has turned a new page.

“Taxes were not paid, gambling funds were paid improperly, and the post had to take out a loan for $90,000 in 2002-03 to cover these shortfalls.”

He said new initiatives were started in the 2008 to correct the situation, but state and federal taxes remained a problem. It owed $12,500 to the state and still owes $120,000 to the federal government.

He said the club has paid its current taxes but is working on its back taxes.

“People remain cautious about supporting the Legion because of our management history,” he wrote. “It is important to know that Post 56 has new management to include a bookkeeper. We also have retained an accounting firm as an auditor, and we have also arranged for a business consultant to donate his services to study our financials and recommend best practices moving forward.”


About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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