Monday, November 21, 2011

Westchester NY Health Commish & IL State Education Chief Gery Chico say Save-A-Life Foundation falsely listed them as board members, so I notified the Illinois Attorney General

SALF executives Rita Mullins (straw hat) & Carol Spizzirri (black pants suit) and US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (turquoise shirt), Punjabi Sports Festival, Chicago, July 15, 2007 (source)

From Possible Charity Scam by Sophia Beausoleil, WCIA News, Champaign, IL:
According to the Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, the Save a Life Foundation (SALF) closed it's doors Sept., 2009.  Whenever a non-profit shuts down, the state does an investigation, but over the summer the state received complaints and documents questioning the organizations handling of finances. A representative for the Attorney General's office said they are looking into the organizations charitable contributions and assets.
Here's more for the Attorney General to look into, a letter I e-mailed today (slightly revised for clarity).


November 21, 2011

Barry Goldberg
Assistant Illinois Attorney General
Charitable Trust Bureau
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Dear Assistant Attorney General Goldberg:

This is to request that, in addition to the previous information I've provided to you, that you include the following information in your office’s investigation of the Save-A-Life Foundation Inc. (SALF).

According to a November 19, 2011 article by Theresa Juva-Brown published in the Westchester, NY, Journal News, New Westchester health chief Sherlita Amler brings experience from Arkansas to Putnam:
(Dr.) Amler graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, moved to New Orleans for a residency in pediatrics and eventually landed at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

...When she and her husband worked for federal health agencies, they had ties to the Save A Life Foundation, a charity in Illinois that taught first-aid skills to children. The foundation, which received millions in federal grant money, was discredited after a 2006 television news investigation revealed that its founder, Carol Spizzirri, lied about being a registered nurse, the circumstances of her daughter’s fatal car crash (the reason the foundation was created) and the number of children it had trained.

Amler said the CDC assigned her to advise the group on how to measure whether its teaching was effective. After she found out in 2008 that she was listed on SALF’s website as a board member, she called the organization to take off her name.

“I had nothing to do with their board,” she said.
The following is a screen capture from SALF's now-defunct website, still available via an online cache. According to that service, this information was posted on SALF's website from at least June 30, 2007 - May 11, 2008: 

Please also see these pages from SALF's Annual Corporate Reports which, based on the Journal News report, falsely claim that Dr. Amler served on the organization's Medical Advisory Board from 2005-08.

2005-08 Save-A-Life Foundation Annual Reports list Dr. Sherlita Amler as a board member

Further, you'll recall my letter of February 19, 2011 in which I brought to your attention another apparently problematic claim by SALF, that Gery J. Chico (now Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education) served as a member of the organization's National Board of Directors. As I informed you in that letter, Mr. Chico has denied that claim.

Per a November 10, 2011 article by reporter Emily Coleman and published in the Sauk Valley Telegraph, Mr. Chico reiterated his position that SALF falsely claimed he served on the organization's board. The article also includes:
“I think if there’s probable cause for wrongdoing, especially if it involves public money, there ought to be an investigation, sure,” Chico said.
The examples of Dr. Amler and Mr. Chico raise reasonable concerns about potential misrepresentations of other individuals SALF claimed as board members. Presumably such questions may be resolved by Rita Mullins, former mayor of Palatine, IL, for 20 years, who according to SALF's IRS tax returns served as the organization's Vice-Chairwoman and Corporate Secretary from 2004-08.
Rita Mullins listed as corporate officer on Save-A-Life Foundation's IRS tax returns, 1/1/04-6/30/08

Here's a screen capture from today via

Thank you for your ongoing attention to this matter.


Peter M. Heimlich
Ph: (208)474-7283


blog: The Sidebar


The Hon. Rob Woodall, United States House of Representatives
The Hon. Tim Bivins, IL State Senate
Gery J. Chico, Chairman, IL State Board of Education
Sherlita Amler MD, Health Commissioner, Westchester County, NY
Theresa Juva-Brown, Journal News
Emily K. Coleman, Sauk Valley Telegraph
Robyn Ziegler, Press Secretary, Office of the Illinois Attorney General

From now-defunct "Re-Elect Rita Mullins" website (2009)