NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Where is the money?
That’s the question facing the president of a 9/11 charity that used big-name skating stars to raise cash — money that allegedly never made it to the victim’s families.
It is a story CBS 2 first told you about last week and Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with Mary Calvi, Tara Modlin responded to her critics about the alleged charity charade.
Modlin founded the charity “Stars, Stripes and Skates,” which attracted Olympic stars such as Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul and Sasha Cohen to the organization’s ICEtravaganza shows.
But the organization lost its non-profit status and there have been questions raised by 9/11 families about how the money’s been spent.
Calvi: “What many might ask is: where’s the money now?”
Modlin: “Every dollar we brought in, we put back into the events that commemorated 9/11.”
Calvi: “How much money was given to 9/11 families?”
Modlin: “Our mission was never to donate money to 9/11 families. The dollars that we raised went into producing these events and whether it was renting the venues or paying the insurance or paying the flights for the skaters.”
Calvi: “Are you saying that no money went to 9/11 families?”
Modlin: “The mission of our foundation was to commemorate 9/11. So when we got money, that was donated to us, we put that into events that commemorated 9/11.”
However, back in 2003, Modlin said her charity was “raising money to give future victims of terrorists scholarships.”
But no money ever went to scholarships. Modlin said the costs of producing the ice skating shows exhausted the profits. In fact, according to her documents, while the shows brought it hundreds of thousands of dollars, there were no profits.
“After our first show, when we learned what we did was so incredible — that the commemoration of 9/11 meant so much to the children that were involved, we changed the mission of the foundation,” Modlin said.
Traci Sedaka’s daughter was one of those children involved. She paid to have her daughter audition to be in the show and wants it to go on.
“We had a wonderful experience. Can’t say enough about how much it built the patriotism in our family,” Sedaka said.
Modlin wants to produce another show for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. But with not a cent going to families in the past, questions still linger about whether the curtain can be raised.
Calvi: “What do you say to the people who are wondering what did you make out of this?”
Modlin: “I made nothing. I never took one dime from this foundation. And I have time, effort. Never ever, ever did I or anyone around me receive one dime of payment or anything.”
Modlin claims a clerical oversight caused her organization to lose its non-profit status and is working to get it back. As of Tuesday, that status has not changed — leaving any future skating shows on ice.
The law states that if a non-profit changes its mission, it is obligated to report it. The attorney general’s office would not say if Modlin’s charity did report it, saying it couldn’t comment on “potential or ongoing matter.”
Modlin’s attorney said she believes the state was notified of the change.
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