GREAT NECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 9/11 charity that tapped the talent of big-name skating stars is now defending itself from accusations that the money never made it to victims families.
CBS 2’s John Slattery reports the charity is on thin ice with some.
The charity show “Stars, Stripes and Skates,” attracting big-name talent like Nancy Kerrigan, drew thousands of fans to rinks that included Madison Square Garden. The promoter, former skater Tara Modlin, said money raised would provide scholarships and aid to terror victims.
“World and Olympic champions raising money to give future victims of terrorism scholarships,” Modlin said.
Anne Ielpi, who lost her firefighter son, Jonathan, on 9/11, was an early supporter of the shows. Her daughter skated with Modlin growing up. She has questions about the money that came from the shows.
“I’m really very disappointed in her,” Ielpi said. “I just want to know where it is. Where did it go? Where did the money go? That’s all.”
But Modlin’s charity, called “9/11 Families Giving Back,” last month lost its IRS tax-exempt status because it did not file legally required annual reports for three years.
In a statement, Modlin said: “We were not singled out for fraudulent practices, nor has the IRS targeted the foundation for such. I inadvertently missed the filing re-certification deadline of May 2010.”
Modlin calls it an oversight, and as for the $200,000 she said the shows took in over 10 years, she claims to have never taken a dime, putting all the money back into the shows.
Families like the Ielpis, who supported the charity, now feel victimized, wondering if they’ve been had.
There was no show in 2010, yet the organizer plans to revive it, saying she is working with the IRS to get the tax-exempt status reinstated.
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