Michigan billionaire Elsa Prince’s second greatest claim to fame is that she was a founder in 1977 of Focus of the Family, a nonprofit group that, despite its warm and fuzzy name, is in tenor and in practice an anti-gay hate group.
Prince’s top claim to fame, however, is that she is the mother of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, the scandal-plagued BushCo mercenary group that, since 2004, has been paid at least $323 million on a $1 billion no-bid government contract. Blackwater is in the headlines now because six of its mercenaries may be facing charges for the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in September 2007. Earlier scandals have included the abrupt resignation of State Dept. Inspector Howard Krongard over Blackwater-related perjury charges, allegations that Blackwater employees were traitorously recruiting U.S. troops in the war zone and that and Blackwater security shot a dog belonging to the New York Times Baghdad bureau.
In August, Elsa Prince made two donations that totaled $450,000 to Proposition 8, the California initiative that narrowly passed on Nov. 4, and will amend the state constitution to revoke the right of gay people to marry, if it is not overturned by the California Supreme Court.
Around the same time, Focus on the Family reportedly donated over $439,000 to the anti-gay cause. In October, just months after Prince and Focus on the Family donated a combined $889,000 to the California hate initiative, Focus on the Family announced it would lay off or reassign 46 of 1,300 employees. Now it says there will be more layoffs due to restructuring of its distribution arm.
It’s a dead cinch the families of the dozens of employees who are about to be fired would have preferred that the nearly $900,000 donated to Prop 8 by Prince and their bosses had gone toward salaries.
They may also be wondering where the group’s other millions have gone. In fiscal year 2006, Focus on the Family reported total revenue of $142,279,843 and net assets of $79,316,290. More current figures were not readily available.
According to PrideSource, other top donors to Prop 8 included Robert Hurtt, president of California company Container Supply ($550,000), Howard Ahmanson, owner of California company Fieldstead & Co. ($995,000) and John and Josephine Templeton of Pennsylvania, where John is president of the John Templeton Foundation ($1,000,000).