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Dearborn Heights Organization Starts Petition to Save Nonprofit Status

HYPE Athletics was handed a hefty tax bill from the city that they say is unwarranted.

Dearborn Heights organization HYPE Athletics is currently fighting a battle to save their nonprofit status—an effort that is taking them to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

HYPE founder Ali Sayed said in a letter recently released to the community that the City of Dearborn Heights has assessed the organization with a tax bill for $200,000. This comes, he added, after the organization took “extra measures to ensure HYPE would not be assessed any taxes.”

Now, HYPE is looking at the possibility of major cuts as it grapples with the possibility of a mounting tax bill.

HYPE was formed in 2001 in Dearborn, and, according to Sayed, was awarded nonprofit status in 2006. The HYPE Recreation Center was constructed starting in 2010, and opened in 2012 in Dearborn Heights, off of Warren Avenue. The organization serves tens of thousands of individuals and families annually in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and beyond through health, education, mentoring and other programs.

The unexpected cost of those taxes, Sayed said, could be devastating to HYPE’s programs.

“Unanticipated expenses such as this could cripple programs such as substance abuse prevention and education, mentoring, tutoring, homework assistance, health education and so much more,” Sayed said.

According to the Dearborn Press and Guide, the City of Dearborn Heights said the issue lies with the organization’s nonprofit application, which was incomplete.

“If you’re qualified, you’re qualified,” Mayor Dan Paletko told the Press and Guide.

While HYPE awaits a hearing with the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the organization has also started a petition to urge community members to state their support for HYPE as a nonprofit entity.

Sayed said they’ve seen a “flood of supportive emails and petitions signed” since the matter came into public light in January. He added that HYPE’s not looking to start a war with the City of Dearborn Heights; just to preserve their tax-exempt status.

“HYPE is genuinely committed to a positive outcome and relationship with the City of Dearborn Heights Mayor and City Council,” Sayed said.

Find the petition here.

laplateau February 01, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Here we go again! If you can't qualify for anything these days, then resort to the good old race card. From all reports here, there is a standard way of applying for a tax exempt status. I don't know all the details here, but whatever application was submitted was incomplete in regard to the information required. This has resulted in a rejection of that request for tax exemption, but there is an open and public way of going forward with an appeal. This sounds like the very same type of appeal process that any homeowner would be required to take if they did not agree with the their property assessments. But here, with Mr, Sayed, his first action after being denied is to accuse the City of Dearborn Heights of racist motives.This he does even before he began the prescribed way of appealing by saying..."HYPE is facing “racial discrimination” and its 14th Amendment rights of due process and equal protection of the laws are being violated." Where, I ask, is he or his organization being denied his rights when there is a "due process" open to him as there is anyone else? There is a very specific process and well defined outline for being classified as a charitable organization, but even as he is taking advantage of the due process he finds it necessary to call those denying his application doing so as racist.
laplateau February 01, 2013 at 12:45 PM
If Mr. Sayed accuses Mr. Paletko (a Caucasian) and others being racist, I suggest he look at his birth certificate. Being and Arab IS being a Caucasian! Mr. Sayed, in my opinion, has just lowered my opinion of him and his organization by promptly playing the race card and opening a petition drive when he doesn’t get his way. How childish, un-patriotic, despicable and shameful to make this accusation with absolutely no factual proof of racial discrimination where none has been evident. He has done nothing but garner disgust, and rightfully so, until and if he can bring forth any facts that would be a basis for his claims.
bitsy08 February 01, 2013 at 02:16 PM
IF they haven't filled out paperwork properly to make their non-profit legal, then they need to do so. As they say - ignorance of the law doesn't mean you're not guilty. It doesn't matter how many people they get to sign the petition. If they haven't followed the law, they're not eligible. I'm sure the Tax Tribunal will sort it all out.
Chris February 02, 2013 at 12:54 AM
I don't get it- the organization didn't hold themselves accountable for their own tax-exempt status and now they think a petition is going to change that? I'm sorry, but this guy had over 6 years to make sure this was squared away. It's hard to respect someone who won't take responsibility for their actions (or non-actions), especially when they play the race card in place of ignorance.
Millie February 02, 2013 at 02:09 AM
I'm with the Mayor on this one. Fill the paperwork out right the first time. Otherwise, go to the tax tribunal and plead your case. Sick to death of the race card crap.

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