Curious about its donations to local political figures, reporter Jeff Testerman and researcher John Martin began trying to unravel the mystery behind the Navy Veterans charity. In a six-month investigation, the Times could find only one officer in the entire organization, and the nonprofit declined to reveal where its millions of dollars of income went. Its headquarters: a dilapidated duplex in Ybor City.
IRS-approved charities are not supposed to show partisanship nor endorse politicians. Yet Bobby Thompson, the head of Navy Veterans Association, raised thousands of dollars through a political action commmittee associated with Navy Veterans, all the while hobnobbing with politicans from George W. Bush to Charlie Crist to Pam Iorio.
CLEVELAND — He claimed to be a retired Naval commander and raised more than $100 million from generous Americans for his charity in Tampa.
CLEVELAND — It took the jury only three hours to decide Bobby Thompson's fate.
CLEVELAND — The first week of the trial of Bobby Thompson elicited plenty of damaging testimony about the founder of the Tampa charity known as the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.
CLEVELAND — A former telemarketer for U.S. Navy Veterans Association testified Wednesday that the man who ran the Tampa charity put unusual conditions on fundraising in some states.
CLEVELAND — Bobby Thompson was a "Machiavellian genius" who drank four Bloody Marys at a business breakfast, dressed like a homeless man and claimed he was funded through a "black box" budget at the CIA.
CLEVELAND — In hindsight, maybe Bobby Thompson's lawyer should have seen the red flags.
The man known as Bobby Thompson goes on trial in state court in Cleveland today.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio attorney general's multi-state case against a man accused of fraud after collecting as much as $100 million in the name of Navy veterans doesn't address the man's donations to a who's who of mostly Republican politicians, including the attorney general himself.
On Mother's Day in May 1984, a young lawyer in Arizona named John Donald Cody sent flowers to his mom in Clearwater.
Then he vanished.
The mystery of Bobby Thompson's identity has been resolved.