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Scandal or Just Stupidity?

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UPDATE:  Here is the full statement from Stars, Stripes and Skates in response to the recent New York Post article.


So, the past few days have seen a couple of articles about a charity run in part by Johnny Weir's agent, Tara Modlin.  Modlin was an organizer of 9/11 Families Giving Back, a charity for terror victims and families of terror victims. The charity raised money through the "Stars, Stripes, and Skates" shows.  The New York Post and other outlets are reporting that no money was ever paid to any beneficiaries (although it appears that the charity changed its mission from helping victims to just general 9/11 awareness pretty early on).  Additionally, the reports are that the IRS stripped the charity of its tax exempt status because of a failure to file income reports.

Modlin states in the Post that the tax issue was because a volunteer accountant did not file the reports.

The link to the Post article.

**Updated:  I am going to point out that the Post article has pertinent facts wrong, such as naming skaters who did not even appear in the shows.  I have removed those skaters names and apologize for ever putting that blurb on the blog...

According to CBS, Modlin has released a statement including the following:

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.

It is important to reiterate from above that it appears that the charity is only being accused of failing to file forms. And some articles and sources are implying that the charity was misleading because it never actually paid out any money to victims (this is not illegal, though, if the charity never claimed it would do so).  It has also been reported that young skaters looking to participate were encouraged to pay audition fees and donations.

Apparently Modlin told the Post that the group changed its mission to focus on the memorial skating shows. It rubs me the wrong way that the charity is taking people's money on the pretext of teaching people about 9/11 through a skating show; I just don't really understand how that worked.  I think maybe it's time for the group to examine whether its mission is truly being accomplished and whether ticket purchasers and contributors really understand that the money is only going back into the ice shows.  

Some major skaters and their families have been coming out to deny involvement, which I guess are efforts to distance themselves from this because it's definitely being reported sensationally right now.