Jirard Khalil, better known as The Completionist, has finally broken his silence regarding the serious allegations leveled against his charity, The Open Hand Foundation.
These allegations, which have been a subject of heated debate and scrutiny, suggested that the funds raised were never disbursed to any charitable organizations, despite claims to the contrary.
In a detailed video response, The Completionist addresses these accusations head-on, aiming to clarify the situation and provide his side of the story.
Table of Contents
Initial Response to Allegations
In his video, The Completionist emphatically denies any criminal or financial fraud within the foundation.
“At no point in the foundation’s history was there any criminal or financial fraud,” he asserts, addressing the allegations directly.
He explains the delay in his response, stating, “When there is allegation after allegation being made, it takes a long time to gather the evidence and facts to refute claims.” This statement reflects his stance on the need for a careful and thorough approach in handling such serious accusations.
He also acknowledges the concerns raised by his silence, saying, “A lot of folks have been saying that if I didn’t do anything wrong, that I should have said something sooner.”
However, he emphasizes the complexity of the situation and the necessity of gathering all relevant information before making a public statement. This approach, according to him, was essential to ensure accuracy and fairness in addressing the myriad of claims made against him and his charity.
In a significant development, The Completionist revealed that The Open Hand Foundation has made a substantial donation.
“I can confirm that as of Wednesday, November 29th, 2023, the Open Hand Foundation has donated $600,000 to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration,” he announced.
This move comes after intense scrutiny over the alleged mismanagement of funds. Acknowledging the delay in this action, he expressed remorse, stating, “It did take too long to get to this moment, and for that, I am sorry.”
His apology underscores a commitment to rectifying the situation and the foundation’s dedication to its cause, albeit delayed.
The Open Hand Foundation’s Background
The Open Hand Foundation, at the heart of these allegations, was born out of a deeply personal struggle. The Completionist shared the foundation’s origins, rooted in his family’s experience with dementia.
“My mother got sick when I was young… she was diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration,” he recounted, illustrating the emotional impetus behind the charity. The foundation was established as a tribute to his mother, who battled the disease for nearly 15 years.
He further explained the foundation’s activities, including the annual golf tournament and the IndieLand event. “My father runs an annual golf tournament… in dedication to my mother to bring awareness to FTD,” he said, clarifying his limited role in these events. IndieLand, a more recent initiative, was described as a fusion of his passions for indie games and charity work, aimed at raising funds in honor of his mother.
These insights into the foundation’s background provide a clearer understanding of its objectives and activities. They paint a picture of a charity born from personal tragedy and driven by a desire to make a difference in the realm of dementia research and awareness.
Addressing Specific Allegations
The Completionist took time in his video to methodically address the specific allegations raised by Karl Jobst and SomeOrdinaryGamers.
One major point of contention was the foundation’s IRS status. He clarified, “In 2014, the Open Hand Foundation was originally registered as a 501(c)(3) private foundation… they sought out advice and switched to a public charity in February of 2016.” This response directly counters the claims about misclassification and potential legal issues related to the foundation’s tax status.
He also tackled the accusations regarding the handling of the foundation’s finances. “We can account for every single dollar received and spent in the last nine years,” he stated, emphasizing transparency in financial dealings. This statement was in direct response to allegations of unaccounted funds, particularly from the IndieLand event and the golf tournament.
Regarding the golf tournament, The Completionist explained, “The golf event hasn’t always contained a charitable component but has always been in dedication to my mother.” This was in response to claims that the tournament’s proceeds were not properly accounted for. He also addressed the complexities of managing event revenues and expenses, highlighting the logistical challenges involved.
Legal and Financial Compliance
In his video, The Completionist also delved into the legal and financial compliance of the foundation.
He emphasized the legitimacy of their electronic filing process, stating, “The foundation files all their taxes electronically, which does not require physical signatures on the actual forms.” This was a direct rebuttal to allegations of forgery due to the absence of physical signatures on tax documents.
He further discussed the foundation’s adherence to IRS regulations, particularly after their transition from a private to a public charity. “Since that time, the Open Hand Foundation has been compliant in operating as a public charity,” he assured, addressing concerns about potential legal missteps. He also mentioned an IRS audit conducted in 2016, which found no issues with the foundation’s filings, reinforcing the narrative of compliance and transparency.
This focus on legal and financial compliance serves to counter the allegations of mismanagement and potential fraud, presenting the foundation as an entity that has consistently adhered to legal standards and IRS regulations.
Refuting Claims of Personal Benefit
A critical aspect of The Completionist’s response was his firm denial of using charity funds for personal gain.
He stated emphatically, “No one at the foundation has ever drawn a salary… not a dollar raised from IndieLand and its supporters was ever used on anything to personally benefit me, my family, or any of our companies.”
This statement directly counters the allegations that suggested a misuse of the foundation’s funds for personal or family benefits.
Legal Actions and Future Steps
Looking ahead, The Completionist indicated potential legal actions in response to the allegations.
“My family and I are in serious conversations with our legal teams regarding next steps,” he stated, highlighting the gravity of the situation and the potential for legal recourse. This statement suggests a proactive approach in addressing the allegations, not just through public communication but also through legal channels.
Furthermore, he discussed the future of The Open Hand Foundation amidst these controversies. He announced his decision to step back, saying, “As the Open Hand Foundation board is currently restructuring, I’m taking this time to step away from my role as a board member.” This move indicates a significant shift in the foundation’s operations and governance in the wake of the allegations.
Additionally, he mentioned changes to the IndieLand event, a major fundraising source for the foundation. “IndieLand will solely be focused on highlighting indie games; there will be no charity component,” he clarified. This decision reflects a strategic pivot in the foundation’s activities, possibly aimed at simplifying operations and reducing the complexities that have led to the current situation.
In his concluding remarks, The Completionist reflected on the emotional journey and the ethos behind The Open Hand Foundation. He shared, “An open hand is always full, meaning the more you give, the more you will receive.”
This sentiment, deeply ingrained in his family’s philosophy, underscores the foundation’s mission and his personal commitment to philanthropy. He expressed his dedication to keeping his mother’s memory alive through advocacy and support for dementia research. Despite the challenges and allegations faced, his resolve to contribute positively to the community and honor his mother’s legacy remains steadfast.
The Completionist’s comprehensive response to the allegations against The Open Hand Foundation marks a pivotal moment in this unfolding story. While firmly denying any wrongdoing, he acknowledged the delays in action and announced significant changes in the foundation’s operations.