PROVIDENCE (CN) - A CBS affiliate aired an unfounded story accusing the Institute for International Sport of soliciting donations as tax deductible after it lost its tax-exempt status, the founder of the multimilliondollar nonprofit organization claims in court.
Daniel Doyle Jr, who is awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement, forgery and obtaining money under false pretenses, founded the institute in 1986. According to an 11-page complaint filed Monday in superior court, it provides scholar-athlete and sportsmanship programs throughout the world, and uses sports to promote world peace.
Doyle says in May 2014, CBS television network affiliate WPRI-TV in East Providence, R.I., aired a story that stated though the Institute, based on the University of Rhode Island's Kingston campus, claimed it had not received any donations since its tax exempt status was revoked, its website still had active links for donations it claimed were tax deductible.
WPRI stated it was also able to donate money to the Institute on multiple occasions through these links on the Institute's website and was never informed that the donations were not tax deductible, according to the complaint.
Doyle also says WPRI "ambushed" him at the Institute to interview him and included the footage in their coverage.
Doyle claims over the span of four decades he "has developed working relationships with world leaders in politics, education, entertainment, publishing, sport, and the arts on behalf of the Institute," and "these relationships and [his] reputation have been severely compromised by defendants' inaccurate and inflammatory reporting."
Doyle has requested that WPRI correct what he contends was erroneous information, but it has refused to do so, the complaint states.
The Institute lost its tax-exempt status after it did not file the proper forms for three consecutive years, according to Internal Revenue Service reports.
In May 2013, Doyle was arrested for allegedly embezzling more $1 million from his foundation, and indicted on 18 counts of embezzlement, forgery and obtaining money under false pretenses, The Hartford Courant reported.
He was released on a bail of $100,000, the newspaper said.
The government claims Doyle used the Institute's money for an unauthorized salary increase and personal expenses, including his daughters' college tuition, the Hartford Courant reported.
Doyle and his organization sued WPRI-TV; its owners: TVL Broadcasting LLC, Media General Operations Inc., and Media General Inc.; as well as, its reporter Walter G. Buteau libel, slander, false light and trespass.
Doyle and the Institute seek equitable relief and compensatory, special, consequential, and punitive damages.
They are represented by Chip Muller.
Muller and WPRI did not immediately return calls for comment.
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