- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

A D.C. nonprofit organization is the target of a federal investigation that began when police found more than $150,000 in a duffel bag inside the trunk of the president’s BMW last summer.

Federal authorities have since seized the money and the BMW from Duane McKinney, president of the Brotherhood of Men Inc., amid an investigation of real estate deals involving the nonprofit.

Federal records show that Mr. McKinney has not been charged in the case.

Investigators are looking into whether Mr. McKinney, acting through the Brotherhood of Men, sold property that neither he nor the nonprofit “properly owned,” seizure records show.

In at least two instances, investigators are looking at deals in which the Brotherhood of Men purportedly purchased property in the District from persons who were deceased at the time of the transaction, court records show.

Last month, Mr. McKinney, of Largo, filed court documents seeking the return of the car and the money, saying “there is no legal basis” for the seizure.

Mr. McKinney told The Washington Times this week that the Brotherhood of Men provides job-training services to disadvantaged youths in the District.

He declined to comment on the seizure.

Federal authorities seized the money and car in December, six months after Arlington County police pulled alongside Mr. McKinney’s BMW near Route 50 for what appeared to be a disabled vehicle, according to a seizure warrant filed in U.S. District Court in the District.

Arlington County police arrested Mr. McKinney on an outstanding warrant, searched the BMW and found a duffel bag in the trunk stuffed with $159,040 in cash, according to an affidavit by an Internal Revenue Service investigator.

Arlington County Police Detective Richard Rodriguez said Wednesday that the warrant that led to the arrest of Mr. McKinney, 33, stemmed from a simple assault charge in 1999.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William R. Cowden, chief of the forfeiture unit for the U.S. attorney’s office for the District, declined to comment on the investigation into the nonprofit or Mr. McKinney.

However, Mr. Cowden said civil forfeiture complaints in general are filed when authorities suspect the assets subject to seizure “are either derived from or are used to facilitate criminal activity.”

In the affidavit, authorities cited a federal law that allows for the forfeiture of property derived from statutes against money laundering. Prosecutors say the BMW and the cash are “traceable to a scheme to defraud” that involved forged securities and wire transmissions.

According to the affidavit, Mr. McKinney told authorities that the Brotherhood of Men paid him through a nontaxable stipend, not a salary.

He said the money found in the trunk of the BMW had been withdrawn from a Brotherhood of Men bank account, the affidavit indicates.

In a document filed last month in federal court in the District, Mr. McKinney said the seizure “prevents the corporation from carrying out its nonprofit corporate purpose and from paying its ordinary and customary business expenses.”

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