September 7, 2005
St. Louis, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a lawsuit to prevent a St. Louis man who has captured multiple Web site addresses in the name of Hurricane Katrina relief from misleading consumers and redirecting money collected to anti-Semitic and racist organizations.
The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, seeks to freeze the assets of Frank Weltner — a self-proclaimed white separatist — and prohibit him from soliciting funds under the guise of hurricane relief. Nixon is also asking the court to order the shutdown of the Web site internetdonations.org, which serves as a central collection point for at least 10 Weltner-operated Web sites with hurricane relief-related themes. Weltner also operates a Web site known as "Jew Watch," a widely regarded anti-Semitic hate speech site, which collects donations through internetdonations.org.
"It is an outrage for someone to solicit funds from well-meaning Americans eager to lend a helping hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, only to funnel those donations to something that is nothing more than a racist hate site," Nixon said. "Donors to the thousands of legitimate and worthwhile charities providing hurricane relief need to be reassured that their hard-earned dollars are going toward their intended purpose, and flim-flam artists working this tragedy for personal gain will not be tolerated."
From 1992 to January 2005, Weltner was known as "Couch Potato" on his St. Louis radio show that boasted racist and anti-Semitic themes. He is also associated with the National Alliance, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the nation's most active neo-Nazi hate groups.
Nixon said that Weltner is "taking advantage of the generosity of Americans from coast-to-coast to promote racism and hate." Neither Weltner nor any of his affiliated organizations have ever been registered with Nixon's office to solicit charitable donations in Missouri.
Nixon noted that scam artists will typically try to exploit tragedies and natural disasters to deceive would-be donors into giving money to bogus charities.
Last month, Nixon launched his "Check A Charity" Web site — available through www.ago.mo.gov — where donors can research charitable organizations and access such information as what percentage of donations are used for charitable programs and what percent is used for administrative expenses.
Other tips for charitable giving include:
For more information about charitable giving, go to the Attorney General's Web site or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222.