By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
This is a sidebar to this week's feature, Wize Guys"
However, his media company, Splash, claims to own Traders Television Network, GlobalTec's satellite TV channel. The subscription-only network costs $495 a month for DISH TV subscribers. Subscribers who "purchase quality software products from GlobalTec" get it for $99 a month, according to the Web site. That price is the same for the Internet-only version. And both Sparks's and GlobalTec's Web sites claim that a charity run by Sparks is a "nonprofit subsidiary" of GlobalTec. That charity, Sparky's Kids, claims to have donated hundreds of computers to disadvantaged children.
Under Texas law, there is no such thing as a nonprofit subsidiary of a for-profit corporation. The Press's attempts to clarify this issue with Sparks were unsuccessful.
In e-mails to the Press, Splash representative Kerri Coffin stated that Sparky's Kids is a "private, nonprofit organization funded 99.5 percent by Marc Sparks; however, George Thompson has made donations in the past."
She also said the charity does not solicit donations. However, there is a donation form on the charity's Web site. Coffin added that since Sparky's Kids is a private organization, it does not need, nor does it have, a board of directors. "There is no one to answer to," she wrote.
But Texas law says there is. The state's nonprofit corporation statute requires all nonprofits to have a board of directors. Moreover, according to Sparky's Kids' own articles of incorporation filed with the office of the Texas Secretary of State, the charity has a board of directors, although no names are provided. The charity's registered agent, who filed the articles, is Fred Sims, a Dallas CPA who also hosts GlobalTec's Tax Talk Internet radio show.
Sparks is a defendant in pending litigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a former auto insurance company, Unistar Financial. (At one time Sparks told members of the media that he wanted Unistar to be "the McDonald's of insurance.") Specifically, Sparks is accused of manipulating stock prices and releasing fraudulent reports on the stock's value, as well as making unregistered transactions from which he reaped millions.
Sparks previously settled a Unistar class-action lawsuit filed in Dallas. In that suit, Sparks was accused of issuing statements about the company's assets that were "plucked out of thin air."
Unistar was delisted from the American Stock Exchange in 1999 and put into receivership by the Texas Department of Insurance in 2000.
Coffin stated in an e-mail in January: "We are confident that there will be a satisfactory resolution."