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  • Writer's picturePulse Families and Survivors for Justice

Pulse: A Timeline for Accountability

Updated: 6 days ago

June 12, 2016 - The Pulse Nightclub Shooting occurred, resulting in the murder of 49 people, 53 others wounded by gunfire, and hundreds of survivors who were injured and/or traumatized. Occurring on Latin Night, the shooting disproportionately affected Black and Latinx LGTBQ+ people, with the majority of victims being of Puerto Rican descent.

June 29, 2016 - Evidence of blocked exits at the Pulse Nightclub make the news, with WESH 2 erroneously reporting that a "Coke Machine" was not blocking an exit, even though the City documented after the shooting that it was blocking an exit. They were told specifically by the Pulse owners' attorney at the time, Gus Benitez, that the beverage cooler was in front of a door to a storage room. However, neither this storage room nor the door existed. There was no fact-checking and Matt Grant (reporter with WESH) relied on the floor plans given to him by the City of Orlando, which were inaccurate due to unpermitted renovations done to the nightclub under the ownership and management of Rosario and Barbara Poma. FBI photos released months later showed that there was no door on the back, west side of the nightclub.

July 7, 2016 - Less than one month after the mass shooting, the OnePULSE Foundation is founded by Pulse Nightclub Owners Barbara and Rosario Poma. The Board of Directors is Barbara Poma, Jason Felts (Virgin CEO), and Gus Benitez (the Pomas' personal, long-time lawyer). The mission is to provide "immediate financial assistance to victims affected by the attack," conceive, fund, and aid "in the construction of a permanent memorial on the existing Pulse site in Orlando and other relevant sites as determined by the Board," make "distributions to organizations... for related purposes," and to sell, lease, convey, or otherwise dispose "of any such property and to invest and reinvest proceeds of and earnings from such property."

Articles of Incorporation 2016
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990s 2016
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July 1, 2016 - WFTV News Channel 9 questions whether or not the Pulse nightclub was over capacity on the night of the shooting. No definitive answer is given, but it is reported that the Orlando Police said 321 people were in the club, despite its legal occupancy load limit to be capped at 300. The required clicker counter was not taken into evidence.

July 30, 2016 - The Orlando Sentinel reports of unpermitted renovations at the Pulse Nightclub, which included a fence that trapped victims. This is front-page news. Other news organizations also recorded this in other stories.

August 12, 2016 - The onePULSE Foundation is collecting donations on its website claiming that its mission is to "provide financial assistance to the victims affected by the attack at Pulse Nightclub."

December 5, 2016 - After months in negotiations with the City of Orlando to purchase the Pulse Nightclub for a public memorial, Barbara and Rosario Poma announce that they will not sell the nightclub property to the City of Orlando. Instead, the Pomas say they will lead the community's memorialization efforts privately and say they do not have a plan in place. The Pomas wanted $4M for the property and an inflated appraisal (where the appraiser never entered the building, inspected the building, and relied on information provided by co-owner Rosario Poma) shows the property was only worth a fraction of that price. This deal does not happen, despite prior announcements that a deal had been reached.

Pulse Appraisal
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April 28, 2017 - The Pomas' personal, long-time lawyer—Gus Benitez—files Amended Articles of Incorporation with the State of Florida. His neice Aly Benitez is on the Board of the Foundation. Less than a year in operation, the onePULSE Foundation changes its mission statement to: "The onePULSE Foundation Inc. will support the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of a memorial and museum; community grants to care for the victims' families and survivors, educational programs to promote amity among all segments of society, and endowed scholarships to honor each of the 49 angels."

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990 2017
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May 8, 2018 - The Interim Memorial opens on the Pulse Nightclub property, with significant improvements made to the property that Barbara Poma, Founder and CEO of the OnePULSE Foundation owned. These improvements included in-kind donations and improvements paid for by the Foundation. According to the 2018 Financial Audit, the cost of the Interim Memorial was $135,075.00. The property was also being rented from the Pomas by the Foundation, with a fair rental market value priced at $28,233.00. There was an additional property and equipment cost listed as $251,589.00. It appears these improvements were transferred to the City of Orlando when they purchased the property for $2M in 2023.

Download PDF • 684KB

September 26, 2018 - ProPublica reports that 16 victims could have lived had they received the proper medical care sooner. The law enforcement response at the Pulse Nightclub took 3 hours.

May 2, 2019 - The Orlando Sentinel reports allegations. thatthe Pulse Nightclub property was transferred illegally to two LLCs, owned by Barbara and Rosario Poma, for $100 via quit claim deed. The two new LLCs were named 1299 SIA, LLC and 71495 RBP, LLC and they were set up by the Pomas' lawyer Gus Benitez. In 2018, the Articles of Organization for 1299 SIA, LLC were amended and Mike Panaggio was added as manager of the company. Graham Bowley of the New York Times asked about this and he reported that Mike Panaggio was "a friend and financial partner" to the Pomas. The article states, "Mr. Panaggio, 67, said the change acknowledged a loan he had made to the Pomas when they started the Pulse nightclub and that he supports their project. 'I don’t care if I get any money back as long as their dream comes true,' he said." However, it would later turn out in 2023 that Panaggio became the hold out preventing the donation of the property to the onePULSE Foundation. The Pulse owners later said Panaggio wanted to get paid back for the loan he gave to the Pomas. Panaggio was not a part of any prior sales negotiations with the City of Orlando in 2016.

June 19, 2019 - The onePULSE Foundation's plan for a $45M museum and a $150,000.00 salary for Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma is made public through their application for a $10M Tourism Development Tax grant from Orange County. This is immediately met with opposition from Pulse families, survivors, and members of Orlando's queer community (see here and here). One victim's mother even started an online petition to stop the museum and the owner's profiting off pain through the onePULSE Foundation. Mass shooting victims from across the country even signed an open letter to stop a mass shooting museum from being built in Orlando. These voices were silenced by the onePULSE Foundation's public relations team by spreading lies about those speaking out so that the media would not interview them or cover the criticism. An agreement between the County and the nonprofit was signed months prior.

OnePULSE Executed Agreement
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June 20, 2019 - WESH News investigates the financial position of the onePULSE Foundation following their announcement to build a $45M memorial-museum campus and criticism from Pulse families, survivors, and former Pulse patrons.

July 24, 2019 - Barbara Poma, Pulse owner and CEO of the onePULSE Foundation, pens an open letter stating that criticism of her and the nonprofit is unwarranted. She also positions herself as a victim, even though she was on vacation in Mexico at the time of the shooting. Through this attempt to silence critics, Poma claimed that recent news stories were "inspired by one family member who lost a child in the Pulse tragedy" and contained "untrue accusations... falsehoods, exaggerations and misstatements of fact." Poma defended the "good work of the onePULSE Foundation, where I now work" and said the criticisms were "smear campaigns because it temporarily feels good to blame others." Barbara Poma would go on to take hundreds of thousands from the foundation and millions more from the City of Orlando.

August 2019 - City of Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan calls Dr. Zachary Blair (former Pulse patron and community member) and tells him about the unpermitted renovations inside of the Pulse Nightclub and that they hindered rescue. She stated that this is one of the reasons why the police response took 3 hours. She told him to look into the public records and that if he could find evidence that one of the exits was blocked, he could stop Barbara Poma from profiting off the massacre. This began 4.5 years of research into the public records. Sheehan told this to multiple people after speaking to Dr. Blair.

July 30, 2020 - Pulse Families and Survivors, along with members of the Pulse-affected community, release the 49 Questions campaign in full seeking answers from the City of Orlando about the documented unpermitted renovations and code violations at the Pulse Nightclub that hindered the escape and rescue of shooting victims on June 12, 2016. None of these questions were ever answered.

May 2, 2021 - Survivors and victim advocates go through public records and discover the true extent of the issues with code violations and unpermitted renovations at the Pulse Nightclub using newly acquired evidence. Research into public records continues.

June 9, 2021 - At the 5-year mark, after ongoing criticism of the onePULSE Foundation from survivors, WESH 2's journalist Michelle Imperato investigates the nonprofit and finds that survivors are not getting help from onePULSE even though they have fundraised to provide financial help to survivors.

August 23, 2021 - After posting on social media and the internet that Rosario Poma was on the Board of John Mina's Orange County Sheriff's Foundation, Poma was removed from the Board of the Foundation. Prior to Poma being on the Board, the neice of his lawyer, Aly Benitez, was Vice Chair of the Board since 2013.

We began publicly calling out this conflict of interest in April 2021, stating that the Orlando Police Department under John Mina's leadership never conducted a criminal investigation into the Pomas despite the evidence of code violations and unpermitted renovations at the Pulse Nightclub. We also questioned why Rosario Poma, who was a character witness for Jesse Maali, would be on the Board of the Orange County Sheriff's Foundation. Mali was dubbed as the "boss of I-Drive" by an FBI counterterrorism specialist and he died in prison after being investigated by both the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the FBI and charged with multiple crimes.

August - December 2021 - Paul Oppedisano (a personal friend of the onePULSE Foundation's Vice Chairman George A. Kalogridis and who also worked at Walt Disney World) is hired as Interim Chief Executive Officer. He quits after 5 months. Paul's pay is not listed in the organization's 990s. There is no public record of him working for the onePULSE Foundation other than screenshots from the nonprofit's website. According to a onePULSE employee, Oppedisano was paid around $19,000.00 each month, however, there is no record of payment to Oppedisano in the organization's audit or IRS filings.

February 9, 2022 - A job posting for Executive Director of the onePULSE Foundation is posted on LinkedIn, signaling something is amiss at the nonprofit which was founded and run by Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma since 2016.

February 22, 2022 - Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the onePULSE Foundation Barbara Poma, who continued to own the Pulse Nightclub property at this time, is demoted as "keeper of the story." Barbara Poma is no longer CEO of the nonprofit she founded.

June 6, 2022 - The onePULSE Foundation continues to fraudulently fundraise off the backs of victims' families and survivors, falsely claiming in fundraising materials given to Tijuana Flats' Just in Queso Foundation that the onePULSE Foundation provides "community grants" to shooting victims. The nonprofit removed "community grants" from its mission in 2019 and did not provide financial assistance to shooting victims/survivors according to its own CEO Barbara Poma.

June 12, 2022 - Families and survivors stage a protest at the site of the Pulse Nightclub during the annual Remembrance Ceremony put on by the onePULSE Foundation. The guest speaker is Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg who was the United States Secretary of Transportation. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also spoke at the event. Survivors called out Barbara Poma for the unpermitted renovations and code violations at the Pulse Nightclub that hindered the escape and rescue of shooting victims. The only local media outlet to report on the protests was the Orlando Weekly.

June 28, 2022 - Deborah Bowie is hired as the Executive Director of the onePULSE Foundation at $150,000.00 per year, despite years of public criticism of the nonprofit.

September 16, 2022 - The OnePULSE Foundation receives a Department of Homeland Security Grant for educational programs delivered through an online educational platform to combat terrorism. The onePULSE Foundation had no online educational platform and claimed that their OutLoveHate Fundraising campaign was an educational platform. It was not. It was used exclusively to collect donations, promising donors their photo would be placed on a digital mural inside the museum that was never built. According to the application (below), a significant portion of the grant went to pay the salary of Dr. Earl Mowatt, the onePULSE Foundation's Vice President of Education.

Homeland Security DHS grant application OnePULSE
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December 9, 2022 - Another open letter is released regarding Barbara Poma, whose current role was to fundraise for the onePULSE Foundation and serve as "keeper of the story."

April 5, 2023 - Barbara Poma cuts ties with the onePULSE Foundation amidst failed negotiations for the Pulse Nightclub property that Barbara Poma still owned at the time. OnePULSE Foundation employees have claimed that Board Chairman Earl Crittenden sent her an email telling her not to return to the office after learning that Poma would not donate the Pulse Nightclub property to the nonprofit she founded to build a memorial on the property she owns. In addition to receiving an insurance payout after the shooting for the complete loss of the property, the onePULSE Foundation released a letter from their lawyers that stated the nonprofit was also paying the property taxes on the property privately owned by its CEO and Founder (Poma would later sell to the City of Orlando for more than twice its market value, see October 23, 2023). The onePULSE Foundation also paid Poma a six-figure salary for years. With Barbara Poma's departure, other Board members also left the Foundation including Lance Bass, Jason Felts, and Sharon Hagle.

May 3, 2023 - It is announced that the Pulse property owners (Barbara Poma, Rosario Poma, and their friend Mike Panaggio who was added to an LLC that the property was transferred to, which was originally owned by the Pomas) will not donate the property to the onePULSE Foundation, despite Barbara Poma being the Founder of the nonprofit, receiving a six-figure salary for years, and also receiving an insurance payout for loss of the property after the shooting. The Pomas say they were willing to donate their share, but discussions began to sell to the City (the City denied these talks) and the Pomas do not end up donating their share. The onePULSE Foundation falsely claims it remains committed to building a memorial and museum and is moving forward with their capital projects.

May 14, 2023 - On Mother's Day, the mothers and family members of victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall. They are joined by Orlando community members and victim advocates. They call for a criminal investigation into the unpermitted renovations and code violations at the Pulse Nightclub that hindered the escape and rescue of shooting victims. These issues were never investigated and the building was never inspected after the shooting. Survivors also demand control over the onePULSE Foundation.

June 2 - 3, 2023 - With not enough money to break ground on any project, Deborah Bowie of the onePULSE Foundation publicly claims that the nonprofit is looking into new plans for a museum. Months later, the nonprofit would return the property purchased with public money to Orange County and forfeit the remaining grant money. Bowie blames rising costs and the lack of donations, despite quarterly reports provided to the County that suggest they are in a financial position to move forward with their mission. She also says that they will survey families and survivors. The Foundation will later dissolve instead.

July 20, 2023 - Complaints are submitted to the City of Orlando Permitting Division asking them to inspect the Pulse Nightclub for code violations since the building is being leased by the onePULSE Foundation and is no longer vacant. In the past, the City has claimed that it is not required to inspect vacant buildings and this is why a post-shooting inspection was never done. Within the two-day timeframe the City has to inspect the building, the onePULSE Foundation broke its lease with the Pulse owners due to more permitting issues—making the building vacant once again.

URGENT Pulse Nightclub Inspection and Current Permit Issue
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July 21, 2023 - A request for email lists to the Public Records Department of the City of Orlando comes back with an estimated cost of $630,374.83. The request is closed but then re-opened by the City after someone else requests this public record. The City then sends a letter stating they will re-evaluate the cost. They then sent a lower estimate for $51,523. This request was for email lists from 17 individuals (sender, recipient, subject line, and date) for emails sent/received between June 1, 2010 and October 15, 2010.

August 8, 2023 - The onePULSE Foundation finally publicly releases its 990s from the previous year, showing salary increases for its paid staff. It is reported that the nonprofit took hundreds of thousands in loans from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (Employee Retention Tax Credit).

October 3, 2023 - Buddy Dyer, Mayor of the City of Orlando, refuses to resign from the onePULSE Foundation amid controversy and conflicts of interest.

October 26, 2023 - The Chairman of the Board of the onePULSE Foundation resigns from the nonprofit. Earl Crittenden, who is an eminent domain attorney employed by the local law firm Gray Robinson, is also the City of Orlando's Chief Protocol Officer appointed by Mayor Buddy Dyer. City Attorney Mayanne Downs is also employed by Gray Robinson. Ms. Downs was the President, Managing Director, and Shareholder of Gray Robinson at the time of the shooting and in its aftermath.

October 23, 2023 - The City of Orlando votes to approve the purchase of the Pulse Nightclub property for a public memorial. They purchased the property for $2M, which Commissioner Jim Gray noted was more than double what the property was worth. The City did not conduct an appraisal and pushed the vote and the purchase through within a week after announcing it. For the first time, Patty Sheehan admits to telling Dr. Zachary Blair about the unpermitted renovations at Pulse. Survivors and community members confront the Mayor about the coverup (also see here, here, and here). Again, Pulse survivors call for a third-party investigation. Mayor Buddy Dyer ignores conflicts of interest, including that he held a position on the onePULSE Foundation's Chairman's Council and refused to resign. Also, that the Foundation's Chairman was his Chief Protocol Officer, Earl Crittenden. The Pomas also had a Wildside Cafe inside City Hall.

For years, the City has publicly denied there were code enforcement issues at the Pulse Nightclub at the time of the mass shooting, although the City's spokespeople have changed their statements over the years—at times even contradicting themselves. Despite reporting that proves there were issues at the nightclub and public records that also show issues at the Pulse Nightclub, the City released the following statements:

  • City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer: “I do know that we looked at issues surrounding life safety back in 2016, but we couldn’t find any issues related to that with Pulse building itself."

  • City of Orlando Public Information Officer (PIO) Cassandra Bell: "we don’t have records that indicate whether a permit was received [for the fencing] or not."

  • City of Orlando Public Information Officer (PIO) Cassandra Bell: Orlando spokeswoman Cassandra Bell said city code enforcement officers investigated complaints and found no evidence of violations alleged. The City, however, never inspected the Pulse building after the shooting to document code violations and unpermitted renovations. An inspection to be done by Fire Marshal Tammy Hughes for this explicit purpose was called off by the City.

  • City of Orlando: "The city of Orlando cooperated with the FBI’s investigation of the Pulse tragedy and provided full transparency by the release of all public records online. The city continues to support the victims, survivors, their families and all those impacted by the Pulse tragedy in a variety of ways and continues to work to create a sanctuary of hope here in our community.”

  • City attorney Heather Fagan (2016) - The city was working with Poma to get permits and bring the fence up to code, but that never happened, city spokeswoman Heather Fagan said. “I really don’t have the answer as to what happened and why it was never done,” she said. Fagan, who noted that the city handles thousands of permits annually, said code enforcement was not involved in this issue, which is why no citations or fines have been issued in the years since then.

  • Cassandra Bell tells the New York Times - The city’s press secretary, Cassandra Bell, insisted that while the records show “inconsistencies,” the club was safe and in full compliance with regulations. She acknowledged that the city “does not have records that indicate whether a permit was received or not” for the fence.

  • Patty Sheehan confirms with ClickOrlando that there was never a building inspection done after the shooting and that the City has no idea what condition the building is in and still needs to do a building inspection. “Something needs to happen there because it really is a big wound -- seeing that awful building with the holes in it, and I don’t even know what condition it’s in,” she said. “There’s differences of opinions -- should we keep the building, should we not? There’s a building that’s been sitting there for seven-and-a-half years with holes in the side, and I kind of doubt that it’s going to be in any condition. We’ll evaluate that.” The City has avoided an inspection despite several recent complaints, some of which led to the onePULSE Foundation terminating its lease with the Pulse owners due to ongoing permit issues.

October 27, 2023 - Despite months of saying they were still on track to build one or two memorials and a museum, the onePULSE Foundation changes course and officially abandons plans to build a museum. The nonprofit gives land purchased with public tourism development tax dollars back to Orange County.

onePULSE Letter - Terminating Plans for Museum
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October 31, 2023 - Despite prior public claims that the OnePULSE Foundation is moving forward with a museum, the nonprofit announced that the nonprofit is not moving forward with a museum. Even though they did not acknowledge pushback from families, survivors, and the queer community, the media does and survivors praise the end of the museum project. This was a huge win for those resisting the exploitation of the mass shooting and efforts to turn it into Orlando's next tourist attraction.

November 2, 2023 - ClickOrlando News Channel 6 looks at the onePULSE Foundation's financials as survivors and families of those murdered at the Pulse Nightclub increasingly vocalize their criticism of the nonprofit.

November 10, 2023 - Two open letters are released by different groups of Pulse families and survivors following the purchase of the Pulse Nightclub property by the City for a public memorial. The largest group calls for the dissolution of the OnePULSE Foundation and an inspection of the building before it is demolished. Both groups call for the families of those murdered to lead the public memorial project.

November 13, 2023 - Executive Director Deborah Bowie resigns from the onePULSE Foundation amid a financial scandal and with Pulse families, survivors, and local politicians calling for audits of the nonprofit she runs. The nonprofit also backtracks on a statement she made publicly that designated donations would be refunded. The Foundation later stated it had no plans to refund donations. This is not the first financial scandal that Ms. Bowie has been involved in.

November 21, 2023 - The onePULSE Foundation is sent a Cease and Desist letter from Orange County in response to the nonprofit violating its contract with the County for Tourism Development Tax money by leasing out the property purchased for a museum to Nassal Companies.

Notice of Default 2
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November 22, 2023 - The onePULSE Foundation announces that its Board has voted to dissolve the organization. WFTV News Channel 9 reports that financial questions remain.

November 28, 2023 - The Orange County Board of Commissioners meets to discuss the dissolution of the onePULSE Foundation and the $10M Tourism Development Tax grant awarded to the Foundation. Through this meeting, the public learns that Orange County may be on the hook for monies owed by the nonprofit to the State of Florida. Orange County is also forced to evict tenants from the museum property forfeited by the onePULSE Foundation back to the County and inspect the building of potential hazards left by the current tenant: Nassal Companies. The Foundation, now through Kalogridis, continues to claim that financial support for their commemoration projects waned, however, the quarterly reports the nonprofit provided to the County throughout 2023 for the continued distribution of tourism development tax dollars portray a fully-supported nonprofit and a different financial picture.

TDT Funding Update Dec 2022 1.31.23
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OnePulse Quarterly Report July 2023
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TDT Funding Update Oct 10-31-23 Final
Download PDF • 216KB

December 6, 2023 - News breaks that the onePULSE Foundation owes the Department of State (Florida) $394,321.00, which the nonprofit must repay. The full letter sent to the onePULSE Foundation from the State of Florida is below. It is again reported that it is unlikely that the onePULSE Foundation will refund donations.

onePULSE notice 12.5.2023
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December 7, 2023 - WFTV's Ashlyn Webb gets the lease agreements made between the onePULSE Foundation and Nassal companies showing that the Foundation was to collect $129,000.00 through their agreements, which were signed by both Barbara Poma and Deborah Bowie and in violation of their agreement with the County.

License Agreement - 18000 sf
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License Agreement - East Parking
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License Agreement - Flex
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License Agreement - Parking
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December 13, 2023 - We continue to wait for outstanding records requests from the City of Orlando about various issues with the code violations and unpermitted renovations at Pulse, in addition to other conflicts of interest between the Pulse owners, the onePULSE Foundation, and the City of Orlando. A total of 335 requests have been made to date. 25 remain open, with the earliest of those open requests having been made on May 17, 2023—a request for email lists for emails sent from Ron Legler (former Pulse owner who pitched the idea for Pulse to the Pomas for funding) between 2003-2011. The City said this request would cost $3,422.02.

December 20, 2023 - Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer gives a press conference where he stresses that the City will do its best to communicate with Pulse victims/survivors and that the City will be transparent throughout the memorial process. However, no Spanish translation is made available and on the same day, the property behind Pulse was sold to RMS Investments LLC, a firm tied to GOP megadonor Craig Mateer, whose attorney is Mayanne Downs (Orlando's City Attorney). It is made clear through reporting that Mayanne Downs helped broker the deal, allowing her client to get the .63 acre property that the OnePULSE Foundation was forced to liquidate upon its dissolution for $1M. The property expands behind the Pulse Nightclub property and the adjacent window tinting property, noticeably larger than the Pulse Nightclub property that the City of Orlando purchased in October for twice the price—a $2M price tag. Commissioner Jim Gray stated in the City Council Meeting that the property was only worth $700,000.00 and that the City was giving the Pulse owners more than twice what it was worth. The newly purchased property is to "be made available" to the City (for purchase) for the future memorial and Mayanne Downs asked her client to "be a bridge" between the City of Orlando and the dissolving onePULSE Foundation. The City plans to collect donations through its nonprofit and use that money to finance the Pulse memorial, avoiding the public processes required when using public tax dollars. When Wesh 2 News asked Orlando Mayor's Chief of Staff about an audit of the onePULSE Foundation. The City stated that there are no plans to do an audit and they understand that there is very little money left. Mayor Buddy Dyer and his Chief Protocol Officer Earl Crittenden had leadership roles within the nonprofit. Earl Crittenden is also an attorney at Mayanne Downs' law firm Gray Robinson. It is clear to us that the City is not being transparent and is doing the same lip service that the onePULSE Foundation did as they try to collect millions to enrich their friends through back-door property deals. Buddy Dyer made no mention of the property sale during his press conference and it is clear the City did not intend the news to get out.

January 3 - 4, 2023 - News breaks that the OnePULSE Foundation has formally dissolved and has filed dissolution paperwork with the State of Florida (below). As part of their dissolution, the OnePULSE Foundation terminated a number of positions but kept on spokesperson Scott Bowman and their Chief Financial Officer, Claudia Mason. The organization claimed in its dissolution paperwork that, “The Company is insolvent and funds will be insufficient to pay unsecured creditors in full.” According to the nonprofit's records, the OnePULSE Foundation should have hundreds of thousands of dollars remaining that are designated for scholarships. According to their attorney, R. Scott Shuker, "the appropriate next step is to liquidate all assets and distribute any funds pro rata to creditors." This sounds like bankruptcy. We know that at least one scholarship was paid in 2023 on a credit card in Scott Bowman's name.

OnePULSE Articles of Dissolution
Download PDF • 412KB

January 9, 2024 - Multiple emails are sent to Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioners, and Luis Martinez (who is the City of Orlando's LGBTQ+ liaison) demanding that they hold a meeting with Pulse families and survivors immediately. They demanded to lead the public memorial projects, which include the inappropriately branded the "Orlando Health Survivors Walk." Pulse families and survivors also demanded to be involved in the planning for the Remembrance Ceremony, which the City assumed responsibility for and takes place on the year mark, and that planning starts immediately. They received a generic boiler plate response and the City stated they will seek feedback soon. However, families and survivors want to be more involved than simply providing the City with feedback.

January 12, 2024 - The City of Orlando says in Public Records Request 24-131 that they have not received memorial designs or documentation from the onePULSE Foundation. The nonprofit dissolved on December 31, 2023. The City stated that they would start the memorial project in January 2023, 2 months after purchasing the Pulse property. They have not. There is no telling if/when the City will get design materials from the now dissolved onePULSE Foundation. When emailing the Foundation, former PR contact Scott Bowman has put up an automated reply that directs people to the nonprofit's current lawyer R. Scott Shuker of Shuker & Dorris, PA.

February 5, 2024 - The sign at Pulse Nightclub was tagged with graffiti and we learn that the City has not maintained security at the site they purchased for $2M (more than double the market value). We also learn that the City of Orlando has not paid to maintain 24-hour surveillance using the existing security cameras that were transferred with the property when it was sold to the City. The City has let security and surveillance lapse, even though there was no security at the front door at Pulse on the night of the shooting and the interim memorial was previously set on fire by an arsonist (caught on the security cameras). The City also required the onePULSE Foundation to maintain security at the site per the Conditional Use Permit for the interim memorial that the Foundation/property owners did not renew for over a year from 2022-2023 before being contacted by the City following our complaints to the Permitting Division. The bottom line is that the City of Orlando is not maintaining any form of security now that it owns the interim memorial property.

February 11, 2024 - As Orange County looks at funding for another nonprofit Visit Orlando, which in 2022 added Barbara Poma to its Board for her failed attempt to turn the mass shooting into Orlando's next tourist attraction, the Orlando Sentinel reports that:

Lobbyist Chris Carmody wrote a state bill (Senate Bill 1994) to secure funding for the waste-of-money nonprofit Visit Orlando.

Carmody is also an attorney with GrayRobinson, "a law firm Orange County pays $72,000 annually to lobby on its behalf. The county’s contract with GrayRobinson, in place since at least 2018, will expire in April unless extended."

"Commissioner Mayra Uribe, who had proposed shaving Visit Orlando’s share of tourist-tax revenue from 30% to 25%, questioned whom Carmody was representing when he offered language to usurp Orange County’s authority over its revenues."

”Where does the loyalty lie,” she said. “If he helped write that bill, he’s fighting against us.”

It is clear that GrayRobinson has infiltrated our local and state politics and has amassed too much power:

  • Orlando City Attorney Mayanne Downs is also employed by GrayRobinson (and was the former President of the law firm).

  • Orange County hired GrayRobinson to do lobbying.

  • GrayRobinson lawyers are drafting bills for our elected representatives.

  • onePULSE Foundation's Chairman Earl Crittenden also works for GrayRobinson, in addition to being Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's Chief Protocol Officer in the Office of the Mayor.

  • The Historical Society of Central Florida, which runs the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando, has on its Board GrayRobinson attorney Heather Blom-Ramos. This is the organization responsible for creating Pulse shooting museum exhibits that centered Barbara Poma and were curated by her friend Pamela Schwartz, who was also paid by the onePULSE Foundation through the Orange County TDT grant.

March 7, 2024 - WFTV's Ashlyn Webb reports that the onePULSE Foundation misled the public and donors regarding its financial position and the cost of the memorial/museum project. Former onePULSE Foundation employee Mark Cady-Achilla stated that executives made decisions behind closed doors and would not allow fundraising efforts to mention the projected cost of the memorial-museum project.

March 8, 2024 - WESH 2 News reports that the City of Orlando has not fulfilled its promise to communicate with victims' families and survivors regarding the memorial project that the City took over, as well as the annual Remembrance Ceremony. This comes roughly three months after WESH 2 reported other communication issues between the City of Orlando and Pulse families and survivors.

March 12, 2024 - In a blow to public transparency, the onePULSE Foundation refused to provide Orange County with the bank statements and meeting minutes the County requested. The County stated that it is not pursuing these records, despite Commissioners previously stating publicly that they wanted an audit of the nonprofit.

March 13, 2024 - The Orlando Sentinel published an extensive report by Amanda Rabines on the failure of the onePULSE Foundation. Questions remain and not every issue was covered, but the report provided additional proof that Barbara Poma was always looking to make money off the massacre and lied many times to the public, particularly about Michael Panaggio and the refusal to donate the nightclub property to the nonprofit she started. The report also chronicled the mismanagement of both the nonprofit and its funds. Purposeful misrepresentation to the public is also covered.

March 14, 2024 - Following reporting by the Orlando Sentinel, Bill Mick Live on WMMB (iHeart Radio) refers to the onePULSE Foundation as "a scam run on the back of the slain."

March 19, 2024 - WFTV reports that Pulse Nightclub owners Barbara Poma and Rosario Poma received a $1.3M insurance payout soon after the shooting. This is in addition to the $2M the owners received from the City of Orlando for the purchase of the nightclub property in the Fall of 2023. None of the insurance money was put into the building, the onePULSE Foundation paid for the Poma's property taxes, improvements, and monthly maintenance of the nightclub property, and the City paid more than twice the property's market value without doing an up-to-date appraisal. Buddy Dyer was on the Chairman's Council of Barbara Poma's nonprofit and did not publicly disclose this on Form 6. His Chief Protocol Officer, Earl Crittenden, was the Chairman of the onePULSE Foundation.

March 22, 2024 - Pamela Schwartz announces her resignation from the Executive Director position at the Orange County Regional History Center. This comes after we published the Investigative Report that Orange County was conducting into her toxic work environment with half of the allegations made against her sustained as violating County policy, as well as her being named publicly by a local news station as the only individual to receive a payout (over $90,000.00) from Orange County's TDT grant through the onePULSE Foundation. Schwartz said in her resignation letter that she is leaving the state. This, while the County is currently investigating/auditing the now combative OnePULSE Foundation for their (mis)use of TDT Funds.

March 24, 2024 - Despite supporting the onePULSE Foundation and its exploitative efforts in the past, the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board changed its perspective and published an op-ed saying that the victims, survivors, and community "deserved better" and "should have been able to visit the memorial they thought they were funding." They also wrote: "The need for more investigation and a comprehensive, forensic audit is clear — including a definitive tally of the funds that flowed to the owners of the former club."

March 26, 2024 - Orange County Commissioners hold a meeting and discuss taxpayers paying the $51,000.00+ owed in unpaid property taxes left by the onePULSE Foundation. During this meeting, Mayor Jerry Demings stated, "From a legal perspective, we are pursuing every lawful means to recover whatever we can, including records." Demings also stated, "What I have directed our staff to do is explore getting access and we will likely contract with a document firm to make official copies of all records that they do have in storage... They are required to retain records for a period of time under the laws of our state and regarding Internal Revenue requirements as well. So, we are trying to make certain that we just don't take the excuse that they don't have anybody to actually pull it, so we will explore that so we can memorialize whatever records going forward that can be of assistance to the Comptroller and whatever audit that he would do to respond to some of the requests made by our Board."

March 28, 2024 - The Orlando Sentinel publishes our Commentary, which criticizes the City of Orlando's memorial process and crass fundraising efforts adopted from the dissolved onePULSE Foundation. This is the day after Commissioner Regina Hill was indicted and arrested for elderly abuse and fraud.

March 29, 2024 - News breaks that the onePULSE Foundation is withholding documents from Orange County and provoked them to initiate litigation. We were told by a reliable source that the former President of the onePULSE Foundation, George Kalogridis, is paying for legal representation out of his own pocket since the disgraced onePULSE Foundation has dissolved and claimed to have no money to pay its debts. We want to know, what is he trying to hide by having his lawyer keep the nonprofit's financials out of the public eye? We were also told that records were kept electronically and little (if any) would be in boxes.

April 9, 2024 - The City of Orlando hires a conflict resolution consultant based in Texas to spearhead communication efforts with victims/survivors. $88,735 will be paid for this service by the City through their nonprofit, Strengthen Orlando. As reported by WFTV, Mayor Buddy Dyer has already pushed back the desired completion date from the 10-year mark of the Pulse shooting (2 years) to his final year in office (4 years). Dr. Schooler has previously worked on the Virginia Beach shooting memorial, which has not yet been built as the victims/survivors there approach the 5-year mark since the shooting. Pulse shooting survivors speak out.

April 17, 2024 - Survivors tell WFTV they are still skeptical about the City of Orlando and the role Dr. Schooler will play for the City, since City leaders walked "hand in hand" with a "culpable party" without an investigation for over 7 years.

May 2024 - Numerous survivors and victims' families meet with Dr. Schooler, hired by the City of Orlando to serve as a mediator between the City and Pulse shooting victims. The focus groups were the first time that victims/survivors could voice their issues with the City, but overall the focus groups were not fruitful and a waste of time. These were sparsely attended by victims/survivors and also included Jesse Arias from the LGBTQ+ Center (who primarily listened to conversations), Priscilla Manzanet from Hispanic Family Counseling (who also primarily listened), and Donna Wyche with the City of Orlando (who took notes of what was said). These focus groups were supposed to begin conversations about the memorial, but they were primarily used as an opportunity to air grievances with the City of Orlando, especially since Dr. Schooler had NO INFORMATION or KNOWLEDGE about the journey of Pulse shooting victims/survivors, the current state of affairs with the City of Orlando, a memorial budget, or anything else. He tried to befriend and relate to victims/survivors using obvious and ineffective psychological tactics. The next steps were told to be private one-on-one meetings with victims/survivors, followed by public community meetings for additional conversations. He promised transparency. The City of Orlando created a website claiming transparency, but it is rarely updated. The last press release added to the site regarding the memorial was published on December 19, 2023. It omits later updates and press releases, such as this one from April 2024. This indicates that the website is poorly managed and outdated, serving only as a superficial display of transparency and effective communication.

May 16, 2024 - After the Department of Justice responded to the 75-minute police response in Uvalde with a Grand Jury, we reviewed the "After Action" Report published by the Department of Justice (DOJ). We realized that the report was actually written by a nonprofit called The Police Foundation. The facts were not analyzed by the DOJ, but a pro-police nonprofit. We noticed that their report was missing critical information and that it falsely claimed that the 3-hour-long police response was "appropriate and consistent with national guidelines" and reflected "great heroism" when police failed to have the courage to approach and neutralize the shooter. So, we sent a FOIA request to the DOJ for the data they collected, which included, "semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups with local, state, and federal law enforcement and first responder including dispatchers, officers and deputies, and public safety executives and managers; city, state, and federal officials; medical responders; a survivor; and community and faith leaders." According to the report, more than 75 individuals were interviewed during site visits and subsequent phone interviews. The DOJ responded to the FOIA request by calling us and letting us know that the DOJ did not obtain or review this data and they only had their lawyers review and edit the report provided to them by the Police Foundation. They suggested that we reach out to the Police Foundation to obtain this data. So we did. The Police Foundation, which is now called the National Policing Institute, responded to our request for the data and stated that they did not keep any of the data they collected on what was the deadliest mass shooting in US History. So, we submitted a records request with the City of Orlando as a last-ditch effort to get our hands on these interviews with responding officers that were used to inform the authors of the Police Foundation report. The City of Orlando also did not have this data. Thus, this data is forever gone. Pro-police nonprofits should NEVER be tasked with doing "after action" police reports that are supposed to objectively analyze police responses to mass shootings. Data collected on police responses should be housed with government agencies and maintained so that they can be scrutinized by the public.

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