As construction on private border wall resumes in New Mexico, group is under investigation

Saturday, June 1, 2019
By Paul Martin

Rafael Carranza
June 1, 2019

The private group led by a University of Arizona graduate that has raised more than $23 million online from individual donors to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is now under investigation, just as construction a half-mile stretch of wall in private land in New Mexico is slate to resume.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it opened an investigation into WeBuildTheWall Inc. on May 17 after receiving three consumer complaints from the Office of the Florida Attorney General.

The group, which is registered in Florida as a tax-exempt non-profit organization, was founded by Brian Kolfage, a 37-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran who lived in Tucson for about 10 years and graduated from the University of Arizona.

“As this matter is now an active investigation, the Department cannot comment further. No additional information is available at this time,” a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said in a written statement.

But the complaints focus on the group’s tax exempt status and plans to raise additional funds for border wall construction.

Kolfage moved to Florida with his family after living in southern Arizona for a decade. In December, he launched a GoFundMe account to raise money online to build a border wall, raising about $20 million.

His initial plan was to transfer the funds to the federal government. But after they told him the money would go into a general fund, he founded WeBuildTheWall, Inc., to transfer the GoFundMe amount and raise additional money.

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