Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sandy Hook Charity Frauds: The Scams Never Stopped

(March 18, 2013) Sandy Hook Charitable Funds: Beyond the most well known Sandy Hook funds, The United Way and Sandy Hook Promise, there are many more charitable organizations that are trolling for dollars.

This article takes a look at the veritable cottage industry that has sprung up after the December 14, 2012 event and attempts to estimate the amount that has been raised.

Follow the Money -- Getting a handle on just how much money has been raised so far is a rather difficult task. Many of the private funds for individual families do not disclose the amount raised.

Those that do, like the Sandy Hook School Support Fund and the Newtown Memorial Fund have raised over 10 million and 1 million respectively. These two are just the tip of an enormous iceberg.

Here is a partial list of funds that accept donations on behalf of families, first responders, teachers, and Newtown itself:

Sandy Hook Charitable Funds

* Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund ($169,066)

* Newtown Rotary Sandy Hook School Fund ($700,000)

* Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund of the University of Connecticut (80,000)

* Fairfield County Community Foundation,

* The Taunton Press Newtown Family and Children’s Fund,

* Healing Newtown,

* NYA Sports and Fitness Center Community Commitment Fund,

* Donors Choose Campaign for Newtown,

* Sandy Hook Promise; previously named “Newtown United”,

* Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund,

* Sandy Hook Private Purpose Trust Fund,

* Newtown Youth and Family Services,

* Connecticut State Grange Foundation Sandy Hook Angels Fund,

* First Responders Fund,

* My Sandy Hook Family Fund,

* Newtown Memorial Fund,

* Newtown Parent Connection,

* Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs,

K* ids in Crisis Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

If your eyes started to glaze over, I understand. These are organizations listed with the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.

They do not list funds started for individual families or smaller funds selling ribbons, wristbands or bumper stickers, and there are plenty of those, but I won’t list them here.

I would like to focus on one or two in particular in the above list; let's begin with "Sandy Hook Promise".

This fund has been the topic of discussion among Newtown residents: Link to Sandy Hook Promise Facebook story

Sandy Hook Promise has created a stir recently because there are two arms of the organization, one for assisting families and the other for lobbying.

Sandy Hook Promise has not disclosed, to my knowledge, the amount of money they have collected for either arm of the fund. I called the main number to see if they would tell me and the volunteer I spoke with said she "couldn't say", either because she really had no clue, or she was instructed not to. People in Newtown are apparently starting to ask questions, at least concerning the appropriation of all that freaking money!

Looking at the committee in charge of the United Way 10 Million Dollar mega fund, we see a few familiar faces:

* Former US Senator Joe Lieberman;

* Father Weiss of St Rose of Lima;

* Benjamin Spragg, former Newtown finance director;

* Attorney Anne Ragusa;

* Dr Charles Herrick, Danbury Hospital Psychiatric Chair;

* And last but not least: Joseph DiCandido, President of Nutek Aerospace Corp.

Who the hell is he?? All the rest are to be expected I suppose, we've got Israel, the Vatican, a couple of locals, the Pharmaceutical industry and... the Military Industrial Complex I guess.

Joseph DiCandido seems way out of left field, I wonder why they couldn't include a janitor or lunchroom worker on the roster? As it is, the money is not fit to be in the hands of anyone unless they are already rich.

Poor people couldn’t possibly have any insight as to where this money could be best spent in the community. Newtown isn’t the kind of place where you see many poor people running around anyway, so perhaps this group represents the demographic well enough.

Speaking of demographics, let's take a look at the Fairfield County Community Foundation, also accepting donations on behalf of victims. On their About page, you will find that they are sitting on top of at least 150 million dollars. Yes, that's right, the county in Connecticut where the shooting took place is itself very well set with its own charitable organization that could easily afford to pay for therapy, scholarships, families utility bills and any number of other things is holding its hand out for more from the public.

Financial Information

Keep in mind that charitable orgs don't just let the money sit in some dusty old bank account or savings and loan, oh no, they are invested in CD's, mutual funds, and any number of other products in order to generate more income. The rich get richer. (Tax Free!)

In this case capitalizing on the mirage of dead children. (The last I looked, there is still no publicly available physical evidence proving anyone was actually killed that day…but I digress.)

In an article that appeared in the Denver Post December 19th, Kim White, from Santa Clarita, CA , who started, "Sandy Hook Elementary Donation" one of the "grassroots" Sandy donation pages on Facebook, was quoted as saying:

"Even though they don't know these kids, every single person was just devastated by what happened, everybody was just crying and sobbing about this tragedy, and I just decided to put this page up for them."

On her Facebook page she urges people to donate directly to the Sandy Hook PTA, but also has a PayPal account. White said that as of Wednesday afternoon, she hadn't received any donations through the service -- except for $5 from her daughter Jenna, 8, who contributed her tooth fairy money.

One may assume that her Facebook friends were so blinded by their veil of tears that they failed to notice the parents of the slain children appeared on television rather well equipped to deal with the demands of being national representatives for the gun control agenda, but that's neither here nor there.

What Ms. White was describing was unchecked human empathy, and the impetus behind the waves of cash and prizes being thrown at Newtown.

"I feel really bad, so I'm going to donate some money, then it won't hurt so much."

Virtual pain assuaged by fiat currency. Only in America!

I said I wouldn't cover the myriad individual family funds, and I will not renege on that promise, but I would like to share a tidbit about one, and that is the, started by her family to provide scholarships for students from her alma mater Naugatuck High School.

It is unclear how big a role consultants are playing in this fundraising extravaganza, but there appears to be at least a bit of that going on behind the scenes.

Dawn Hochsprung's memorial had a tie-in with California Pizza Oven on March 8th:

"Just print out this voucher and take it in to any CPO location in CT and 20% of your check will be donated to Dawn's fund!"

I don't know about you guys, but the last thing I want to be reminded of while dining on pizza is a mass shooting.

Another somewhat off-the-wall corporate tie-in was the Sandy Hook Nascar:

"A week before the car was unveiled and NASCAR's charitable drive was made public, a contingent of NASCAR officials that included Helton, Davis, Waltrip and NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France flew to Newtown, Conn., and held an emotional meeting in private with town officials, first responders, and several of the families of the victims to share their plans.

"When we walked into that room, and seven of the families that lost children in that shooting were sitting on the front row looking at you, first of all, that was very hard to keep your composure," Waltrip said. "But as we spoke, those crying faces turned to smiles."

"They're huge NASCAR fans up in that part of the country, and they got to realize that they're going to have a car in the Daytona 500 and it lit ’em up. It made me so proud that I was there to be part of such a special announcement."

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I cannot imagine parents being "lit up" upon hearing that the memory of their murdered child would be exploited at a car race. Not all family members are taking all this sitting down, however.

Cristina Lafferty Hassinger, daughter of principal Dawn Hochsprung who died in the shooting, voiced her frustration on her Facebook and Twitter account about United Way of Western not releasing funds to the victims families:

United Way of Western Holds Back Donations

According to the recent March 17th article in the Hartford Courant, about 15 million dollars has been raised so far by the various charities, spread out over 60 funds, but they are not altogether certain of the total.

"There is a lot of money out there coming from a lot of places," said William Rubenstein, commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection. "Keeping track of all that is virtually impossible."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Virtually impossible? Like the money raised by Bill Clinton for Haiti? Like the money raised for Hurricane Sandy victims? The scams never stop... )

Follow the Money in the Sandy Hook Scam

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