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Months before San Ysidro school officials paid $276,000 for an after-school program that never got off the ground, the national After-School All-Stars nonprofit started by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it had revoked the local group’s right to use the name.
Why this matters
The San Ysidro School District, which serves some of the poorest students in San Diego County, has been dogged by controversy for years, often involving questions of financial mismanagement.
Ben Paul, president and CEO of the national group, said he learned from inewsource’s recent reporting about the contract Tyree Dillingham’s Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars had with San Ysidro.
“This individual did not represent After-School All-Stars when she entered her contract with San Ysidro School District — in fact, her rights to use the name had already been revoked by our national office,” Paul told inewsource in a statement.
He said Dillingham had a free license agreement to use the All-Stars branding, but that arrangement ended in March 2016. Dillingham, who had worked for Schwarzenegger when he was governor, signed a no-bid contract in July 2016 with the San Ysidro district. She used the All-Stars name and promised to provide a yearlong sports and cheer program for more than 1,600 students.
The district terminated the contract three months later when no program was provided. A district spokesman has told inewsource negotiations are continuing to get a refund on the $276,000 paid upfront to Dillingham’s nonprofit.
A spokesman for Dillingham said she disputes that her group’s agreement with the All-Stars ended in March 2016, claiming the national office provided insurance coverage for her events later that year.
Paul said Dillingham is wrong, and the national office stopped providing the San Diego group insurance coverage in 2015.
He said he reached out to inewsource to protect the After School All-Stars’ “good name and reputation.” When asked if the company would pursue legal action against Dillingham, Paul said, “We hope it doesn’t have to come to that, but at this point we’ll keep all of our options open.”
Paul said the After-School All-Stars had terminated its agreement with Dillingham because she was not running the local organization up to the standards of the national office. The San Diego chapter began in 1995, and Dillingham became executive director in 2010.
Paul first sent Dillingham a letter terminating the license agreement after the San Diego All-Stars group informed his office no school contracts would be renewed for the 2015-16 school year.
Even so, she continued to use the All-Stars branding, Paul said, and in May 2018 he again sent Dillingham a letter demanding she “cease and desist” from using the name and logo, among other things.
“It has come to our attention that you are continuing to use ASAS’ name and logo, as well as the likeness of our founder Arnold Schwarzenegger, in marketing and other materials,” Paul wrote.
He said she didn’t respond to the letter.
From 2010 to 2016, Dillingham’s after-school program landed nearly $2 million in contracts with the San Diego Unified, Sweetwater and San Ysidro school districts using the licensing agreement with After-School All-Stars.
The agreement allowed her to run an independent nonprofit using the company’s name and get free support from the organization, including help fundraising and marketing her local program.
Dillingham began doing business as Inspirement Tribe in June 2017, but her company is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office as the Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars. Paul said she was required to remove the All-Stars name from her registration when the agreement with the national organization ended in March 2016.
Public records show Dillingham’s organization lost its nonprofit status in 2017 and has been suspended by the state Franchise Tax Board. The state Attorney General’s Office has also declared the group delinquent for failing to file tax records and pay fees required of charities in California. That means Dillingham’s group can’t legally operate or solicit donations in the state.
Clarification: This story was updated to clarify that it’s Dillingham’s group, not the national All-Stars organization that can’t legally operate or solicit donations in California.
Tyree Dillingham promised that her Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars would provide a yearlong sports and cheer program for more than 1,600 of San Ysidro’s students.
District officials first requested reimbursement from the company in 2016, and again this past October when inewsource began asking questions about the payment.
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