The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation was dissolved by the State of Missouri last December because required paperwork was not filed with the state.
State law requires foundations to file annual reports. Despite a warning letter dated October 3, 2007, the required paperwork was not filed by the December 2, 2007 deadline.
In a form letter dated December 27, a representative of the Secretary of State's office informed the foundation's attorney it had been dissolved for failing to comply with the law.
The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation was created in 2003 by Pam and Craig Akers, Shawn Hornbeck's parents. Its mission is preventing child abdcutions and helping find missing children. Hornbeck was abducted from Jefferson county in 2002 and was found alive with another missing boy in 2006.
In an interview outside his workplace Wednesday morning, Craig Akers was apologetic for the oversight that led to the dissolution of the foundation.
"That's the way it is," Craig Akers said. "Sometimes these things slip through the cracks, especially when you don't have a dedicated, paid adminstrative staff."
The foundation was also dissolved by the state in 2006 for the same paperwork problem. It was eventually reinstated retroactively, protecting the foundation's work during the period it was not recognized as a Missouri not-for-profit organization.
The registered agent for the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation is Hillsboro attorney Randall Sherman.
A spokesperson for Sherman said Pam Akers did sign the 2007 paperwork and returned it to Sherman's office, but it was received several days after the deadline to file. Because the foundation missed the deadline, the only option was to proceed with reinstating the foundation as a not-for-profit organization. The spokesperson was not familiar with the 2006 incident.
Craig Akers said the reinstatement process will be handled by the foundation's new attorney. Akers expects a member of the Bryan Cave firm in St. Louis to assume duties as the foundation's registered agent. Until then, he says foundation events will continue as scheduled.
"We will continue on," Akers said. "We have already sent in for a tax clearance letter, we're waiting for the form to be sent in to the Secretary of State. We anticipate having that here in the next day or so, and this will all be behind us by the end of the week."
Dissolutions of corporations are quite common in Missouri, said a spokesperson for the Secretary of State. Approximately 3,000 not-for-profits were dissolved in 2007 for failing to file paperwork in time.
Because they can be reinstated retroactively, not-for-profit operations are allowed to continue as long as steps are taken to quickly submit their required papers.
While the state dissolved the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation in December, it came to light Wednesday because of a St. Louis television station.
KSDK-TV began airing a promotional spot for a piece that would tell the story of why Missouri "...shut down the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation."
In that promotional spot, a tearful Pam Akers is heard saying how she had let people down as a result of the paperwork problem.
"It was a shock," Pam Akers said in a joint interview with her husband Wednesday morning. "I didn't think it was going to be portrayed like that."
Craig Akers was critical of KSDK's portrayal of his wife and the station's story in general.
"How is a paperwork oversight, after five months adminstratively dissolved, how is that headline news," he said.
Akers said he complained to KSDK management after the spot begain airing. By late afternoon, KSDK had altered its promotion. The shot of a crying Pam Akers had been removed.