By Mary Calvi

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.

SOUND-OFF: Share Your Thoughts About This Story In The Comments Section…

Mary Calvi

Comments (11)
  1. T'ain't nothin new says:

    K-A-R-S Kars for Kidz

  2. lydia says:

    I don’t see any conflict with the mission statement for this ice show — I read it, and education and inspiration are clearly their primary goals, not the distribution of dollars. There’s nothing unusual about that.
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  3. Lee Ruth says:

    Why doesn’t anybody take a look at other 9/11 charities??
    Especially the charity created by the Ielpis? Ann Ielpi’s husband,Lee, has been taking every penny brought in to his “charity” and putting it right in his pocket, claiming his is a “victim” of 9/11. How dare he!?!?!? His son was a “victim”, the Ielpi’s are profiteers. It’s a shame that some 9/11 families have made a disgusting mockery of what happened that day. They have made millions of dollars and are fiending for more. God knows you cant question them because they will say you are unamerican. Lee Ielpi is one of the biggest profiteers out there. Google him. You’ll see him all over the internet with Sarah Palin. He should be ashamed. The Attorney General will catch up with them soon enough. The 9/11 widows are created one of the largest , untouchable organized crime syndicates the US has ever seen.

    1. Melissa Ielpi-Brengel says:

      Who the hell do you think you are Ruth. Every one please please please google my fathers name, Lee Ielpi and my mother’s name, she is Anne Ielpi.

      First off, my father NEVER started any charity so I am not too sure where you got that from.

      Second, There son,my brother, is a victim. He ran into the south tower and helped save thousands of people before it fell. He knew going in that there was a huge chance he wasn’t making it out but he went any way. Leaving behind his wife, two children and a family that will always be heart broken by his death.

      Third, My father is all over the internet talking about the events of that horrid day. He does this so that ignorant people, such as yourself, never forget what happened to our country that day. His main goal in life is to make sure that NO ONE ever forgets the people who died and always remember how it felt that day and the months following. Yes he has met a lot of people over the ten years but just because you don’t like the political views of some of those people, doesn’t mean he or anyone else should be ashamed.

      And fourth, Where is this lavish life style that you speak of with the money my family has taken? Were are the new cars and expensive homes and crazy vacations in 5 star hotels? Where are the fancy dinners and bottles of $500 champagne?

      Maybe before you decided to bash people or talk car about them, you should actually do the research and read the articles you find. Not just skim over them and guess that since he has become an advocate for 9-11-01 and remembering that day, doesn’t mean that he is stealing any thing or an evil person. It just makes him, and the rest of my family, much better people then you will EVER be.


  4. Dale Auburn says:

    Everybody knows by now that it is ILLEGAL to question any charity with “9/11” in its name. CBS should be stripped of its broadcast license and its reporters arrested.


  5. Carlos Liriano says:

    she took the money, no doubt, if you shake her a little harder the money will show up

  6. Mrs j says:

    I’m sure a bunch of firefighters or there greedy wives stuffed there boots with the cash

    1. doc in NJ says:

      ….after getting drunk following a long day clearing trees from a friend’s yard – and on disability, at that.

  7. jh says:

    she looks guilty…

  8. Wendy says:

    I don’t see any conflict with the mission statement for this ice show — I read it, and education and inspiration are clearly their primary goals, not the distribution of dollars. There’s nothing unusual about that.

    This was one of ~275,000 non-profits that had their status revoked by the IRS when a new tax filing requirement went into effect in June. That’s a HUGE number — a lot of small orgs were obviously caught by surprise.

    I hope their official charity status is reinstated quickly, I was looking forward to this year’s show.

    1. DanTe says:

      WOW!! That Modlin just can’t stop lying. It’s so ingrain, it even lie about it’s name now – right “Wendy”?

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