Former board members: Nonprofit director wanted to buy a yacht with donations

SAN DIEGO - Team 10 is learning new allegations about the director of a San Diego nonprofit that is supposed to help female military veterans who are victims of sexual assault.

Two former board members said National Women Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) director Tara Jones wanted to use donations to buy a yacht to live on and then rent it to other nonprofits to make money.

Team 10 also heard from a woman who filed three complaints with the California Attorney General's Office.

Penny Goforth has been a grant writer with Grant Writing Specialists for 17 years. She said she had one reaction when she saw Team 10's first investigation on Jones.

"Yeah, my mouth is open so I can go OMG," said Goforth.

Goforth said Jones hired her company to do grant writing for NWVAA.

"Anytime we'd ask for numbers, we didn't get anything from her," she said.

Goforth said Jones could never explain how her group helped veterans.

"She said there were lines and lines of people waiting to be helped and when we went to her office in Liberty Station, no one was there and there were toys for a supposed toy drive but they were unwrapped. No children were playing with their toys," said Goforth.

When the grant writer asked repeatedly for a program description, she said Jones handed her another nonprofit's pilot program based out of Orange County.

"I said, 'No, this is what they are doing. What are you doing?'" said Goforth.

Team 10 broke the news of allegations from former employees that Jones gambled donations in Las Vegas. One of the original members of The Temptations says she owes him $15,000 from a gala where 20 people showed up.

Jones is still posting to the group's Facebook page and appears to be able to collect donations on her website. 

"All I'm thinking is, 'Oh, she's finally going to get that yacht she wants to get,'" said Goforth.

Two former NWVAA board members said Jones wanted to use donations to buy a yacht to live on and then rent the yacht to other nonprofits to make money for her group.

Former board members Latham Staples and Dayna Walker said they thought it was inappropriate for a small nonprofit to make such a large purchase.

Goforth filed three complaints with the state Office of the Attorney General, the agency that investigates alleged wrongdoing by nonprofit organizations.

The owner of an audio and visual company sent Team 10 a contract on Monday showing the NWVAA owes him $4,000 from the August gala.

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