DENVER (CBS4) – A female firefighter who auditioned for Denver’s annual firefighters calendar says she and her fellow firefighters feel they may have been taken advantage of following allegations of misuse of funds by the calendar’s organizer.
Rebecca Clark told CBS4 she recently attended a charity event celebrating the calendar and was under the assumption all proceeds would go to The Children’s Hospital burn center. Clark wasn’t selected for the calendar, but she says she and others who were involved in the auditions were big fans of the cause.
“I told all my friends, ‘You guys, it’s a great cause,” Clark said.
The calendar is a project of Fired Up for Kids. Its founder, Kirsten Hamling, is now under investigation by the Denver district attorney’s office after allegations emerged that she took some of the money and spent it on herself.
“It’s our names that are on that — you know, Colorado firefighters calendar,” Clark said. “It’s really hard for us for to think people were using us in this way.”
CBS4 learned some of the expenses on the organization’s credit card include a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, a fitness center, a pet store, restaurants, groceries, liquor, a nail salon and more. The question is, should these funds have gone to help children with burns?
“And so when I find out they’ve been using it on trips to Disneyland and shopping; anything other than The Children’s Hospital, it really, really upsets me and makes me and makes me feel used and taken advantage of,” Clark said.
Clark says she’s angered that Fired Up for Kids has repeatedly stated that all proceeds go The Children’s Hospital burns center, and for the 2012 calendar it now states only a portion goes there.
Clark and other firefighters are disturbed that Fired Up for Kids has billed itself as a nonprofit organization. This week attorneys for its founder are claiming it is really a for-profit company controlled by Hamling.
The Denver district attorney’s office says it could take several weeks to complete its investigation.