4Dec/111

Is the Illinois AG Pretending to Investigate the Defunct Save A Life Foundation?

Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter

About five years ago, Chicago ABC7 I-Team reporter Chuck Goudie, in a series of investigative reports, exposed the questionable veracity of the founder of the Save A Life Foundation (SALF) and the organization’s claimed achievements. Here is the first of Goudie’s reports.

That was the beginning of the end for the “charity” founded in 1993.  During its lifetime, the SALF received millions of dollars ($7,856,869 to be exact) in federal ($2.6 million alone from the Centers for Disease Control) and state grants from several Illinois agencies.

SALF lived off the state and federal largess by enjoying the advocacy of a host of state and federal officials, including, but not limited to, Arne Duncan, who ran the Chicago Public Schools then and is now the Secretary of Education, Illinois State Democrat Senators Emil Jones and Donnie Trotter, plus U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D), and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) – a very active promoter for SALF.

It wasn’t all Democrats, though, who hyped SALF.  Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. MN) tried, but failed, to get millions more for SALF from the federal treasury. And, current Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk openly supported SALF and once accepted an award from the “charity”. But the majority of the pols promoting SALF were Democrats.

About three years after Chuck Goudie poked a hole in the SALF balloon, it closed up shop in 2009.  But that’s not the end of the story.

A writer for the conservative website, American Thinker, gathered all the Illinois Form 990’s – the annual forms that all charities are required to submit reporting their receipts to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  When the grant monies that SALF reported having received over the years were compared to what the various granting agencies reported they’d given SALF over those same years, there was a discrepancy.  SALF had not accounted for having received $853,709.  Oops!

In July 2010, this discrepancy was brought to the attention of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office – where apparently math is not a strong suit since they never noticed the discrepancy – and the AG’s Charitable Trust Bureau, the department responsible for monitoring Illinois charities, allegedly began an investigation of SALF’s finances.

It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half now, and the “investigation” is still…“open.”  Of course, “open” doesn’t necessarily mean being pursued. In only means…not closed. It could stay open for…well, indefinitely.  That would be The Chicago Way.

So what happened to the missing money? Can we say – Illinois Pay-to-Play?

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  1. Thanks for this post.

    In addition to the ongoing investigation by the IL Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau, there’s also at least one federal agency taking a closer look – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which awarded SALF about $3.33 million.

    That investigation was triggered by a letter last year from Democratic congressional challenger Tim Bagwell to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (which oversees the CDC). Bagwell’s letter was reported in The Hill: http://bit.ly/cShdGg

    More recent developments via this item I blogged last month: “While Arne Duncan & Dick Durbin hide, my congressman Rob Woodall is asking about million$ the CDC awarded to a tainted Illinois nonprofit whose Corporate Treasurer was – ouch! – a top executive at the Atlanta agency”: http://bit.ly/uvYFtC

    Long story short, in sworn applications and financial reports, SALF claimed CDC funds were used to provide first aid training classes to many thousands of public school students, primarily in Chicago and Milwaukee. However, in response to a federal court subpoena and FOIAs, both school systems have failed to produce any training records.

    Finally, per this recent article in the Sauk Valley Telegraph, IL State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico (former president of the Chicago Board of Education) stated they’re in favor of investigations of SALF: http://bit.ly/vjChzg

    Peter M. Heimlich
    Atlanta
    (208)474-7283
    e-mail: pmh@medfraud.info
    website: http://medfraud.info
    blog: http://www.the-sidebar.com


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