DENVER (CBS4) – Calendars featuring firefighters are supposed to raise money for children who are burn victims, but a CBS4 investigation questioned where the money really went.
On Wednesday attorneys for the woman behind it all said they have an explanation.
The calendars have been an annual event for years to raise money for young burn victims, but the future is doubt after the entire volunteer board of Fired Up for Kids has resigned, according to its now former president.
The former president says the charity’s founder Kirsten Hamling has also resigned. Sources close to the investigation say it comes as the district attorney and Denver police look at whether money was diverted to her personal accounts.
On Tuesday night when CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger broke the story, the attorneys for the woman at the center of the case said if CBS4 reported the story, CBS4 would not be allowed to a news conference on Wednesday. Sallinger appeared at the news conference anyway.
“You’re not welcome here,” a man told Sallinger when he arrived at the news conference.
The attorneys for Hamling, Molly Jensen and Curt Alfrey, ended up coming out to meet with Sallinger who told them he’d like to give them an opportunity to talk on behalf of their client.
“At this stage … there are other players out there that are going to affect what’s happening, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to issue a press release,” Alfrey told Sallinger.
The statement reads in part, “At no times did she mismanage funds or withhold funds from The Children’s Hospital and vehemently denies all allegations to the contrary.”
The organization has applied to the IRS for what’s called 501(c)(3) status in which charitable donations are tax deductible. But CBS4 learned although it had applied, Fired Up for Kids was never granted that designation. That means all donations to the organization for its events and calendar may not qualify as tax deductible, as donors may have thought.
The statement from Hamling’s attorneys says Fired Up for Kids was actually a “for profit organization,” and that she graciously donated money from to The Children’s Hospital, but was not contractually obligated to donate all proceedings.
The Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation issued a statement saying it is looking into the Fired Up for Kids program and that its priority is to safeguard the charitable contributions made by the donors.