Stenehjem tells non-profit to shape up

By Keith Loria | Jul 6, 2010


BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) - North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued a cease and desist order against a registered non-profit and its owners for allegedly violating state laws regarding charitable solicitations.

Under the order, The Liberian Center for Growth and Development and its principals -- Naboth Zondo, Peter B. Belleh and Jenkins Tarwoe -- are banned from engaging in misrepresentations concerning charitable solicitations in the state.

While The Liberian Center is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State as a domestic non-profit corporation, it is using a Fargo, N.D., mailing address, which is illegal under North Dakota law, Stenehjem says. The Center and its principals are not registered in North Dakota to solicit charitable donations, Stenehjem says.

Stenehjem says he is alarmed by a number of misrepresentations the organization has made about a fundraising event that will be held in Fargo later this month. The center falsely announced that the Liberian President and Governor John Hoeven would be attending, and that the governor had endorsed the charity personally, Stenehjem says.

According to claims by the center, the organization is raising money to establish a public library system in Liberia.

"I am concerned about the illegal solicitations and I'm particularly troubled by their misuse of the Governor's Office in an attempt to falsely create the State of North Dakota's stamp of approval for their fundraising activities or other agenda," Stenehjem said.

"While it is a wonderful goal to provide books to Liberia, if that is what is actually occurring, these individuals must do so in a lawful and straight forward manner."

Stenehjem has asked the Consumer Protection Division to issue a civil investigative demand to the Center and its principals to obtain further information in this matter.

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