Tom Ross, former UNC System President, was asked to resign from that post in March 2015.
Ross was Executive Director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for eight years, from 2002 , during Tom Ross’s tenure as Executive Director heavily funded the infamous group ACORN.. From 2004-2006, Ross pumped over $100,000 into ACORN. In 2007 alone, Ross’s last year as executive director, he contributed an additional $150,000 to the ACORN organization, “for general operating support to support and expand its North Carolina ACORN chapters.” These gifts were given with the explicit caveat that the money was to be used to foster local branches of this sort of community organizing planting roots in counties across North Carolina including Wake and Mecklenburg. Ross funneled this money via the American Institute for Social Justice, a sister organization that contributed $5.6 million to ACORN’s coffers in 2008. This 2007 contribution helped to develop the infrastructure for a massive get out the vote effort to support Democratic Party efforts in 2008.
ACORN is an organization of community organizers with a tarnished history of fraud, embezzlement, and conflict of interest. ACORN employees have been tried and convicted of systematic voter registration fraud according to Factcheck.org. There have been reported cases of this kind of fraud in Missouri, Washington, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and in 2007, ACORN’s Las Vegas office was even raided by state criminal investigators. In addition to fraud, co-founder Dale Rathke was found to have embezzled nearly $1 million from the so-called “charitable” funds of his organization. ACORN had strong ties to President Obama, and was actively engaged, in conjunction with other groups of identifying and turning out Obama voters in NC and across the nation for the 2008 election.