Manny Pacquiao’s advisor has informed RingTV.com that the fighter’s foundation is being restructured in the wake of recent controversy surrounding a lawsuit that charges his organization with failure to pay shipping charges on a consignment that was seized by customs authorities in his native Philippines.
According to a report by Yahoo!Sports, an attempt by Pacquiao to ship used clothing as “relief goods” from the United States to the Philippines in 2009 was aborted by customs officials, who impounded the material.
Used clothes do not qualify as “relief goods,” but as a result of the load not being delivered, the foundation refused to pay the shipping fee.
Koncz said Pacquiao has retained lawyer David Marroso, who is a senior attorney with the Los Angeles-based O’Melveny and Myers law firm. Marroso’s partner, Daniel Petrocelli, gained a wrongful death conviction against O.J. Simpson in 1997.
Marroso told RingTV.com that the lawsuit was filed by a S.R. Intel Freight, adding, “we’re just getting up to speed on it.”
According to Yahoo!Sports, S.R. Freight is trying to recover the shipping charges — nearly $36,000 — plus interest, while the loaded containers remain idle at a port in the Philippines.
“It’s a legitimate foundation, but the problem is we’ve not utilized the foundation to its full and maximum potential,” said Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz. “We believe that we’re leaving behind millions of dollars in donations.”
As a result, the new board of trustees for the Manny Pacquiao Foundation, which serves the fighter’s favorite charities, will include his promoter, Top RanK CEO Bob Arum, Las Vegas hotel and casino owner Steve Wynn, as well as “a few doctors who are Arum’s friends from the Cleveland Clinic,” according to Koncz.
“They’re all billionaire guys. We’re losing millions of dollars in donations, and in order for us to utilize Manny’s name and his likeness and make the foundation work, we need to put reputable people on the board of directors. It’s very simple. There’s no ulterior motives and no secret,” said Koncz.
“I mean, American people aren’t going to donate large sums of money to foundations when they’re not familiar with or don’t feel comfortable with the board of directors. My opinion is that there has to be accountability. It’s not just Manny’s name, but you need credible people underneath him. Credible, reputable and noteworthy people.”
Pacquiao has a June 9 defense of his WBO welterweight belt against WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, for which he already has been training for the past week in General Santos City with assistant Restituto “BuBoy” Fernandez.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org