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Feds probing former Packer's charity work

AP - Sports

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The IRS is looking into the charity that's run by former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler.

The agency is probing why Butler has been raising money in Wisconsin over the last decade but has made only one annual filing, Gannett Wisconsin Media reported Thursday (http://gbpg.net/1bFoiSB).

The LeRoy Butler Foundation hasn't filed with the IRS since 2002, even though Butler continued raising money under that name through this year. A scholarship fund founded in 2009 had its tax-exempt status revoked after failing to file returns by 2012. The only return on file from Butler since 2002 is a short-form 2011 filing for the fund.

Butler, 45, was a four-time All-Pro and played for the Packers from 1990 to 2001.

Gannett Wisconsin Media reports Butler didn't respond to an email inquiry seeking comment and a cellphone Butler had been using as of late last week is no longer in service.

The media outlet ran a story on Monday about athletes' charities incorrectly reporting expenses or failing to file returns. The story mentioned that Butler's scholarship fund was among them.

Butler has reacted on social media to the report, but did not comment directly to Gannett Wisconsin Media. On Facebook, Butler posted that his foundation is conducting an independent review of compliance with federal guidelines. And in a tweet, he said the story made him look ''money hungry'' when he was just trying to help people.

Gannett Wisconsin Media reported that Butler has previously said all money raised by his charity went to help women diagnosed with breast cancer or their families, though that statement contradicts his own admission that he took appearance fees from charity events that were profitable.

Thursday's story said federal investigators have contacted two Butler associates who helped him run a charity golf tournament and collected money for his foundation. An IRS spokesman would not confirm the investigation into Butler, however, saying the agency doesn't comment on specific charities.

A message was posted on The LeRoy Butler Foundation website less than a week ago announcing the charity will shut down after a final fundraising cruise in February.

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Information from: Press-Gazette Media, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

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