A South Florida businessman has racked up some impressive donations to the community.
According to the Miami Herald, he's donated tens of thousands of dollars to charities for at-risk and underprivileged children. He has helped keep parks open, bought uniforms for a high school football team and supported bands across South Florida. His recent golf tournament raised $82,000 -- 90 percent of which will be donated to causes such as sending disabled kids to Dolphins games, money for Toys for Tots, police charities, Haiti relief, the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross, he said.
But his business? He runs a couple strip clubs.
Lap dance anyone?
Now an elementary school in Palm Beach County is considering returning a $20,000 gift because the district learned that the donor, Rodriguez, is not just a wealthy businessman who gives to charity.
No, he also runs a legal business.
Rodriguez has always donated anonymously. Now the word is out, and he doesn't understand:
I've been doing this for years and I always do it quietly, Rodriguez said. Now, for some reason they want to make a big deal out of it.
Yeah. So much for trying to be a nice guy.
So Rodriguez used $20,000 made off of businessmen and college kids looking at naked women and gave it to a elementary school in a low income neighborhood.
Thankfully the media found out and not "citing policy," it looks like the school principal will have to give it all back.
Rodriguez still doesn't understand:
I think it's very small-minded, he said. If you ask someone who has cancer if the money to help them is coming from a strip club, I don't think they would care.
Depends on who has cancer I guess.
Cue the Christian Family Coalition, an organization I believe is not affiliated with the public school system:
The school district should consider what the decision will teach its students, said Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition.
Praise the Lord.
Fearing the school would make a big announcement at the elementary school, naked women and all, Verdugo lays out the tenuous argument:
It came from someone associated with the exploitation of women -- and that demeans half the population, Verdugo said. If you do that, where do you draw the line? That's not the message to send to kids -- that it's OK to exploit women.
And of course if we take these donations, the terrorists win.
Let's not mention that Rodriguez has his own idea of morality - he's a former Marine that has been married 30 years and has six children.
Not everyone objects to Rodriguez' money. He also gave $50,000 to keep a park open for at-risk teenagers. The mayor of that city said while he didn't "condone" Rodriguez' career choice - the donation kept 300 to 400 kids off the streets.
He also makes this shocking statement:
One has to look at the broader picture, Jones said. This is a business that is legal, even though, in a lot of circles, it isn't fully received by society. But we're not living in a world where anyone is on a perfect pedestal. You have to ask Does the good outweigh the bad?
Oh boy, where's the leadership? "Look at the broader (no pun intended) picture?" The business is "legal?" Does the good outweigh the bad?
There are so many messages here, many lessons.
I remember when the newly incorporated city I live in started it's own police department. They were going to have a picnic to welcome the police officers. I spoke to a city official and then followed up with a letter offering to sponsor the event. No response. Yes, I live in the community, raise children in the community, support business in the community, but then again, I do defend criminals for a living.
We see these separations of our citizenry daily. We white people lock the doors in black neighborhoods, we stay away from people who do things of which we don't approve, legalty aside. We cannot comprehend that someone who pays taxes, raises a family, but runs a risque business, can do wonderful things for the community. It says more about us then it does about guys like Rodriguez.
At least we have clean corporations like insurance companies to make donations to schools and parks - when they're not denying life saving procedures to their customers.
Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Post to Twitter
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