Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard are asked to return donations made to their Dillard Family Ministries by angry donors who feel they have been duped. The Dillards have solicited funds for missionary work for the past three months, mostly drawing on the fan base of the now defunct TV reality show 19 Kids and Counting. In light of recent trips by Jill and Derick and lack of disclosure to donors about how their funds are being used, the anger against the couple and their solicitations is going public. In recent comments on Ring of Fire Radio, people are asking for their money back.
More scathing comments about Jill Duggar and Dillard Family Ministries were posted on Addicting Info. These comments questioned the religious purpose of Jill and Derick and what they are actually accomplishing in Central America.
The entire Duggar family, including Jill Duggar’s Husband Derick Dillard, has come under increased scrutiny since May 19, when it was revealed that Josh Duggar had molested at least four of his sisters, including Jill.
When the 19 Kids and Counting show was pulled from the air on the TLC network on May 22, Derick Dillard immediately resigned from his accounting job with Walmart and registered the non-profit with his wife, Jill, on June 17. The couple asked for donations from fans on their website. Three months down the road, donors are less than impressed.
On their blog, Derick and Jill initially claimed that they were going “abroad” to do missionary work. The Duggar family posted a tearful goodbye scene on YouTube, where family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar also claimed that the couple was going “overseas.” In the video, Jim Bob said that they would not see the Dillards for “several months.”
“Jill and Derick, we are so exited about you guys going overseas to do missionary work. And we’re not going to see you again for several months.”
That turned out to be untrue, because Jill and Derick were back in the States a month later and the two were photographed by tourists in New York City on August 13. As it turned out, Jill was there to film an episode about child sexual abuse for the TLC network – a taping that was announced on July 16, the day the 19 Kids and Counting show was permanently canceled by the network. Then, the Dillards flew to Tennessee to go to a friend’s wedding on August 15.
On July 5th, Jill and Derick posted this statement on their blog: “For security purposes, at this time, we’re not publicly discussing specific times and places of international service.” But, as was later revealed, they were already in Central America on July 5th and were actually serving as volunteers with S.O.S. Ministries for just a one-month stay with dozens of other volunteers. The two were never forthright about what they were doing in Central America and that they were just ordinary volunteers at the same Christian place the Duggar family has volunteered with once a year since 2006. The cost of that volunteer trip was about $5,000. Their whereabouts was finally discovered by the Daily Mail which sent photographers to the site. Not only that, but S.O.S. Ministries has no “security” problem disclosing its scheduled tours for volunteers.
Their tour with the volunteers went to the three Central American countries which Americans can visit on a single tourist visa: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Central America is part of the North American continent and is not “overseas” or “abroad.” It’s actually a shorter flight from Houston to El Salvador than it is from Houston to New York City. The tour lasted from July 5 through August 4. There isn’t another volunteer group with S.O.S. Ministries until December.
On August 16, Jill Duggar posted a picture of herself and her husband on a return flight to Central America, accompanied by Jill’s sister Joy-Anna and her friend Carlin Bates. Donors immediately questioned who paid for their guests’ tickets and wondered where the four were going.
Jill and Derick never revealed where they went on that return trip. The Duggar Family Blog posted that the Dillards were on their way back to Central America to focus on “learning Spanish” for the two weeks left in August. Two weeks to study Spanish hardly justified the plane tickets and donors, justifiably, wanted to know if their donated funds were being used for this travel and to take language courses, which they could have easily taken in Arkansas. If not for the photograph posted by another American tourist who spotted the four in Antigua, Guatemala, donors would not have even known where Jill and Derick were. In fact, the pair has yet to admit that they were in Guatemala at the popular tourist city.
Two weeks later, the Dillards flew back to Arkansas again to attend the wedding of Jill’s cousin Amy. Derick Dillard posted on the couple’s blog that they will remain in Arkansas for a month before returning to an undisclosed location in Central America for more “language studies.”
Looking back at Derick Dillard’s history, this is the kind of evasive behavior he displayed during his two-year jaunt in Nepal. Derick graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in accounting in the spring of 2011. It is unknown what he did for the next year, but in April, 2012, he left for Kathmandu, Nepal, a popular place for trekkers exploring the Himalayas. In the 19 Kids and Counting episode which aired on May 6, 2014, “Going the Distance for Love,” the Duggar family introduced Derick Dillard as a missionary working in Nepal who contacted the wealthy Jim Bob Duggar by email, asking for support. However, Derick Dillard said he was in Nepal at that time on a study visa, according to his postings on Twitter.
Trekking permits in Nepal cost $500 for a 10-day hike, and tour leaders must have a work visa. On his Instagram account, Derick said he was working on his “expense report,” which seems to indicate he was, in fact, doing some kind of work in the country while on a student visa.
Like Central America, Nepal is notorious for scam charities soliciting donations from gullible do-gooders, which is all the more reason why donors have every right to know exactly where their funds are going. If Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard cannot honestly answer simple questions about how donations are being used now, they might have difficulty filing the first report with the IRS for Duggar Family Ministries. According to the rules for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the majority of board members cannot be related and monies cannot be used for “private benefit.” With so many angry donors, it seems inevitable that at least one donor will call for an IRS audit of the charity’s tax return.
What do you think of Jill and Derick’s lack of disclosure to donors? Please scroll down to leave your comments and opinions.
[Intro photo from YouTube]