Monday, April 30, 2012

My mother's book reveals my father's "ménage" with conductor "Tommy" Schippers' secretary

My mother, Jane Heimlich (source)

From Jane Murray Heimlich's new memoir recalls life with famous father and husband by Lauren Bishop, Cincinnati Enquirer, April 25, 2010:

Based on this - and knowing my mother - I assumed her book, entitled Out of Step, would also fail to disclose what really went on in her life, first growing up as the daughter of dance studio moguls Arthur and Kathryn Murray, then being married to my father for about six decades.

To put it mildly, I'm not big on sweeping dirt under rugs. And, per the Enquirer story, I didn't appreciate being rendered invisible, so I was in no hurry to read her book.

Well, I just picked up a copy and it turns out that my assumption that she'd skirt some awful truths was mostly correct.

However, she did include a revelation that wasn't reported by the Enquirer or, to my knowledge, by anyone else.

Before getting to that, the book does mention me in passing a couple of times. There's also a childhood photo of yours truly, so I wasn't completely disappeared.

But my brother and my sisters got exactly the same treatment. We're all sort of bit players who turn up very occasionally, usually as part of an anecdote or a supposed life lesson.  

To her credit, she cops to being an absentee mother:

This mid-1970s episode is what interested me:

Thomas J. Schippers, 1930-1977 (source)

Thomas Schippers was an American conductor who in an all too brief career was highly-regarded for his work in opera...(In 1970, he) took up a full time position with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Regrettably, soon after building the orchestra's international reputation and recording with them, he died of lung cancer at the early age of 47...A good looking, reportedly gay man, rumours of intimate associations with Gian Carlo Menotti, mathemetician (sic) Sean Clarke and Leonard Bernstein ran throughout his all too short career....
More via WOSU-FM, Columbus, Ohio:
Schippers (sic) gifts as a musician were indisputable. Added to the mix, he was devastatingly handsome. Thomas Schippers was one of those people attractive to any gender or sexual preference. He was part of the Samuel Barber-Gian Carlo Menotti menage. The chilly and autocratic Rudolf Bing, director the Metropolitan Opera, was rumored to be besotted with Schippers.
In the mid-1970s when I was living in Cincinnati, my father, a lifelong opera devotee, was utterly besotted with Schippers, who had everything my father wanted: physical beauty, talent, and, above all, fame.

Interestingly, both Schippers and my father had humble beginnings, both married heiresses that enabled them to enter high society, and both attracted admirers of both genders.

My father (circa 1965?)

According to my mother, the relationship went further:

The story's no surprise to me.

At the time I was about 21. My father introduced me to The Golden Girl without giving me any indication that she was his lover. She tried to ingratiate herself with me, offering me free rock concert tickets she got through her job as Schippers' assistant.

It didn't take me long to figure out what my 55 year-old father was doing with the much younger hot blonde.

Plus the relationship included a perk: access to "Tommy."

The soul of indiscretion, my father flagrantly squired her around town and took her calls at our home. As a result, their "secret" blew up pretty quickly.

The blonde then skipped town, my father went back to the comfort and security of Arthur Murray's money, and "Tommy" dropped dead.

As to the nature of the relationships between my father, Schippers, and The Golden Girl, my mother teasingly calls it a "ménage," but leaves the reader to fill in the rest.

My father at an April 25, 2010 book signing party for my mother's book (source)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

9 years after getting the information, the Cincinnati Enquirer finally reports Ed Patrick's claim to have co-developed the Heimlich maneuver. What took 'em so long? Ask reporter Robert Anglen...

From a May 28, 2003 press release issued by Edward A. Patrick MD PhD (punctuation and emphasis from original):
A reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer walked up the driveway of my home on May 19, 2003..... The reporter.. (indicated) he was looking for Dr. Edward Patrick as he (the reporter) is doing a story on Dr. Patrick and Dr. Henry Heimlich. He asked why I did not get proper credit for the development of what now is called the Heimlich maneuver.

I have the greatest respect for Dr. Heimlich, his work, and his contributions. He himself once told me that I have not received proper credit for the development of what has become known as the Heimlich maneuver. In any case, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help develop a treatment for choking that has saved many lives.

...I have always viewed that Dr. Heimlich and I worked together to develop what has become known as the Heimlich maneuver just as the Wright brothers worked together to develop the first flying machine.
Nine years after he issued the press release and eight years after being scooped on the story in 2004 by - no kidding - the Cornell Alumni Magazine, a few days ago the Enquirer finally got the information into print.

Here's how the Queen City's paper of record reported this journalistic landmark, by burying it in a sidebar attached to a rah-rah article by reporter Cliff Radel about "Heimlich Heroes," a new first aid training program launched by the Heimlich Institute:

(Yesterday, before I'd seen Radel's story, I blogged my observations about the "Heimlich Heroes" venture. Long story short? I think it's iffy.)

The above boxed squib also marks the paper's first mention of a significant news event from Spring 2006. That's when the American Red Cross made the first major change in 20 years to their choking rescue guidelines by "downgrading" the Heimlich maneuver to a secondary treatment response.

Better late than never, but you might expect more timely reporting in the city where my father introduced the maneuver in 1974 and where he's been considered an icon ever since.

The Enquirer reporter mentioned in Dr. Patrick's press release, the one who showed up in his driveway? That was Robert Anglen, who left Cincinnati in late 2003 to work for the Arizona Republic. I know because at the time I was working closely with him.

Robert Anglen

In the months preceding Dr. Patrick's press release, Anglen had reported these two Sunday Enquirer front-page barn burners (both almost entirely based on my original research):

February 16, 2003 - Scientists Linked to Heimlich Investigated, exposing prominent UCLA researchers who were connected to the Heimlich Institute's notorious experiments in which Chinese AIDS patients were deliberately infected with malaria. The story went global, with separate bylined articles soon appearing in the NY Times, the LA Times, Reuters, and numerous other media outlets.

March 16, 2003 - Heimlich Falsely Claims He Invented Procedure, about how for decades my father falsely took credit for inventing an operation to replace a damaged esophagus. In Anglen's article, the actual inventor, Dr. Dan Gavriliu of Bucharest, called my father "a liar and a thief."

Riding high on these stories, why couldn't Anglen get the "Patrick maneuver" story into print almost a decade ago? He told me he repeatedly interviewed Dr. Patrick who gave him some eye-popping quotes. And why did he leave the Enquirer?

An enterprising reporter could certainly ask Anglen.

The result might turn out to be yet another journalistic landmark, Cincinnati-style.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Via program in Cincinnati schools, the Heimlich Institute tries to resuscitate its damaged brand

Along with the following description, this two-minute public relations video appeared yesterday on the websites of a bunch of Gannett newspapers
Young students soon to become "Heimlich Heroes" as part of a multidisciplinary curriculum with posters, lesson plans and T-shirts emblazoned with an triangular crest surrounding an “H” that resembles Superman’s “S.”

Based on the video, Patrick Ward, Executive Director at Deaconess Associations (the Cincinnati health services corporation that has wholly owned the Heimlich Institute since 1997) appears to have dreamed up the program. The video includes interviews with him and with my father, both board members of the Heimlich Institute.

Here's Ward wearing a "Heimlich Heroes" polo shirt and my father wearing - yes - a "Heimlich Heroes" lab coat.

As I understand the program, EMTs visit local schools and teach students how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and hand out "Heimlich Hero" t-shirts.

According to the video, the curriculum was developed by Michelle Mellea, a science teacher at Cincinnati's Bethany School, "an Episcopal day school, serving girls and boys from kindergarten through the eighth grade."

If Ward's program is an attempt to revive the "Heimlich brand" to counter the scores of critical media reports that have appeared since 2003 about my father and the Institute, he's probably got his work cut out for him.

First, in 2006 the American Red Cross "downgraded" the Heimlich maneuver to a secondary treatment response for choking. The Red Cross now recommends first performing a series of back blows. If that fails to remove the obstruction, rescuers are instructed to proceed with "abdominal thrusts." They don't even call the procedure "the Heimlich maneuver" anymore.

Second, the Heimlich Institute's website continues to promote my father's long-discredited claims that the Heimlich maneuver is effective for reviving drowning victims, for stopping asthma attacks, and for curing cystic fibrosis.

Third, as recently as 2005, reportedly the Heimlich Institute was conducting illegal, unsupervised medical experiments on prostitutes in Ethiopia and Gabon, alleged "research" based on a treatment my father calls "malariotherapy." Over the decades, he's claimed that cancer, Lyme Disease, and AIDS can be cured by infecting patients with malaria and his organization has engaged in a series of notorious, violative human experiments on both US and foreign nationals.

This 2007 ABC 20/20 report by Brian Ross covered that and my father's other crackpot medical claims:

Fourth, per this 2006 ABC Chicago I-Team report, for years the Heimlich Institute has been an organization in name only - no office, no employees, just a website.

Fifth - and this may be the kicker - the shirts make you look like a major dork.

UPDATE, 4/22/12, 10:30AM: I just came across this Cincinnati Enquirer story on the program, Young students soon to become Heimlich Heroes by reporter Cliff Radel. It's dated 4/20/12, but didn't show up on my Google News search until this morning. It includes some interesting information that I plan to report in a follow-up Sidebar item.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beartooth NBC (Montana) celebrates National Heimlich Maneuver Week, but in Australia it's "Not 'round here, mate!"


From Abdominal Thrust, a Helena, Montana TV news report that aired yesterday:
In tonight's your Health Report, Beartooth NBC’s Jessica Hoppe shows how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver properly and why it's so important....This year April 8 through April 14 is designated as National Heimlich Maneuver Week to celebrate the technique and educate others about it.
Based on this newspaper article last year, it's unlikely the celebration will ever catch on in the land down under (emphasis/asterisk added).
As the assistant CEO of St John Ambulance Australia's Queensland branch, it has been (Stephen Dean's) job to teach and train people across the resuscitation industry.

He proved his devotion to teaching and developing resuscitation techniques when he became a member of the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) 21 years ago.

In that time, Stephen has been involved in developing guidelines, policies and training materials for the council of which he is now chairperson for the Queensland branch.
..."In the US, they still advocate the Heimlich Manoeuvre for choking but in Australia, we believe the evidence shows it is dangerous* and so our guidelines don't promote it," Stephen said.
Aviva Ziegler (source)
And from Aviva Ziegler's "Heimlich manoeuvre" audio documentary, first aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in July 2009, and which you owe it to yourself to check out because it's terrific (emphasis/asterisks added):
Aviva Ziegler: (You) might be shocked to learn that the Heimlich manoeuvre appears to have never been accepted practice in Australia. We are one of the only countries in the world where it's not officially on the books. This is a typical Australian first aid training course held by the St John Ambulance.

Trainer: The learning outcomes for this session is we should be able to firstly identify a person who is choking, if somebody is gagging with something partially obstructed in the upper airway we should ask the person to relax and encourage them to cough. Our research has been proven on a conscious casualty a good cough is generally better than anything else. Now if the good cough is not effective we then have to hit that person, we give them what we call back slaps, he's leaning forward, in the centre of the shoulder blades in an upwards direction I would give him five nice solid slaps. If that is unsuccessful we should place a hand in the centre of the back on the sternum and we just press down sharply five chest thrusts and if that is unsuccessful we alternate between the two.

...Aviva Ziegler: As you will hear later, the assertion that back slaps are dangerous is probably only in Dr Heimlich's mind. But anecdotally it seems that the Heimlich manoeuvre can save lives. So if we are the only country not using it, who's right, them or us? Professor Ian Jacobs from the University of Western Australia is Chair of the Australian Resuscitation Council and a member of the International Liaison Committee in Resuscitation.
Professor Ian Jacobs (source)
 Ian Jacobs: There is actually very little or no evidence to support the Heimlich manoeuvre and the literature is awash with reports of harm and this includes things such as fractured sternums, ruptured livers and other serious consequences of this Heimlich manoeuvre.*

Apart from a few case reports there is no other evidence to support what Henry Heimlich has advocated. There's no published data of any substantial nature except for a few case reports and lots of TV programs and there were substantial reports in the literature of harm.

Trainer: A question that often comes up in our courses is to why we don't do the Heimlich manoeuvre in Australia. So are you all aware of that where they get that sort of a bear hug squeeze from behind? OK, the reason it's not taught is the simple fact that research conducted here in Australia and also overseas has proven that it can be dangerous because there's a risk of damaging internal organs such as the spleen, the liver, pancreas etc.* We follow the policy statements as laid down by the Australian Resuscitation Council, they are saying that if there was any clinical evidence to prove that it was effective they'd put a policy on it and we would have it in our book. Any other questions?

Note: A previous version of this item included the case report articles in a different format. I changed it to this embedded Scribd document for ease of updating.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

IL Attorney General's letter inadvertently provides a blueprint for nonprofits on how to rip off taxpayers


Last week I reported about a scorching letter IL Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) recently sent to Attorney General Lisa Madigan about the status of her reported investigation of the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF).

Here's what he wanted to know:
Undoubtedly you agree that we have a duty to assure the public that the millions in public and private dollars SALF obtained weren't misappropriated.
His sentiments were echoed by Gery Chico, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, in this recent newspaper report:
“Where’s our money going?” Bivins said. “Where’s our tax dollars going? Where did it go?... As taxpayers, we have a right to know where the money’s going.”

The former Lee County sheriff wants investigations and audits of these groups, he said.
Chico agreed.

“I think if there’s probable cause for wrongdoing, especially if it involves public money, there ought to be an investigation, sure,” Chico said
Based on a March 2 reply to Sen. Bivins, the Attorney General disagrees.

What's more, the AG's letter, signed by Chief Deputy Attorney General Brent Stratton (page down), could serve as a blueprint for teaching nonprofits how to get away with ripping off Illinois taxpayers.

Stratton wrote:
(Where) grants from state agencies are involved, the (Attorney General's) Office typically becomes involved through referrals from the granting agencies. We have never received a referral from a state agency raising any concerns regarding a grant made to SALF. 
...SALF was registered as an Illinois charitable organization with this Office from 1994 through 2009, during which period it filed complete annual reports accompanied by audits when required by law. In September 2009, SALF filed articles of dissolution with the Secretary of State. It then filed a final report with this Office in April 2010. When we first received complaints in June, 2010, SALF was no longer an active charity, for which the concerns about on-going fund-raising and the protection of charitable assets are paramount.
In other words....

A. Nonprofit XYZ is awarded millions of dollars from IL state agencies, but none of the funding agencies file complaints with the Attorney General.

B. XYZ closes it doors.

C. As far as the Attorney General is concerned, the millions of tax dollars awarded to XYZ are water under the bridge.

The principals at XYZ can rest easy for another reason.

Even if their organization has been the subject of dozens of media exposes all over the country (as SALF has been), Illinois' top law enforcement officer apparently won't lift a finger to find out what happened to the millions of taxpayer dollars awarded to XYZ.

March 2, 2012

Illinois State Senator Tim Bivins
M103B State Capitol
Springfield, Illinois 62706

Re: Save-A-Life Foundation

Dear Senator Bivins;

I am writing in response to your letter regarding the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF).

First, allow me to correct what may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding regarding this Office's investigation of Ms. Spizzirri's current whereabouts. Without trying to reconstruct your conversation with Mr. Kenyatta of this Office, let me assure you that we have been aware of Ms. Spizzirri's whereabouts since she moved to California. Her current address, which we certainly have, does not explain why our investigation of SALF is ongoing. As you acknowledge, we do not discuss the details of an ongoing investigation, so we will not be able to provide you with more information about the status of our investigation. But, let me emphasize that, as with all such allegations against charitable organizations, we took these allegations very seriously and immediately initiated an investigation of SALF regarding the financial and other reporting issues raised by the complainants.

Second, as background, please understand that this Office's Charitable Trust Bureau has as its primary mission the protection of charitable assets held by charitable organizations registered in Illinois. The Bureau does not have jurisdiction to investigate or prosecute criminal conduct, which would fall under the jurisdiction of local State's Attorneys, but rather enforces the Charitable Trust Act through civil court actions. Additionally, where grants from state agencies are involved, the Office typically becomes involved through referrals from the granting agencies. We have never received a referral from a state agency raising any concerns regarding a grant made to SALF.

Third, as further background information, SALF was registered as an Illinois charitable organization with this Office from 1994 through 2009, during which period it filed complete annual reports accompanied by audits when required by law. In September 2009, SALF filed articles of dissolution with the Secretary of State. It then filed a final report with this Office in April 2010. When we first received complaints in June, 2010, SALF was no longer an active charity, for which the concerns about on-going fund-raising and the protection of charitable assets are paramount.

We hope that this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me at 312-814-4499 with questions you may have regarding this matter.

Brent D. Stratton
Chief Deputy Attorney General

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Outside magazine deep-sixes the Heimlich maneuver for drowning rescue; why do these organizations continue to put the public at risk by recommending my father's dangerous, thoroughly-discredited claims?

"America's leading active-lifestyle and adventure-travel magazine" just drowned the idea that the Heimlich maneuver should be used to revive drowning victims.

Photo from Outside magazine

From Drowning: The Heimlich maneuver won't save you, published yesterday on Outside magazine's website:
The Heimlich has been used for decades to clear the airways of choking victims. For that purpose, it has proved to be a lifesaver. However, the medical community is now advising against its use in drowning cases - despite the claims of Henry Heimlich, it has never been established that the technique can remove water from the lungs. Instead, it may cause a victim to regurgitate and then inhale his or her vomit.
Despite the overwhelming consensus of every major first aid organization and resuscitation expert, these three companies continue to recommend performing the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) on drowning victims.

THE HEIMLICH INSTITUTE. For decades, this Cincinnati nonprofit has been hyping the Heimlich for drowning rescue, the Heimlich to stop asthma attacks, the Heimlich to cure cystic fibrosis, and "curing" AIDS, cancer, and Lyme Disease by infecting patients with malaria.

Heimlich Institute board members from the organization's 2010 IRS 990

THE NATIONAL AQUATIC SAFETY COMPANY. This Houston-area lifeguard training company, which claims to have over 73 clients as of 2008, proudly takes credit for introducing "the abdominal maneuver into aquatic rescue" in 1993.

NASCO instructor Brian Cole teaches lifeguards to perform the Heimlich

The rationale? From An Open Letter To Our Clients, The Public and The Press on NASCO's website:
The reasons that abdominal thrusts are embedded in our rescue protocol can be simply stated as:
  • It works and works well.
  • It does no additional harm to the victim.
  • It delays the initiation of on deck CPR only a very small amount of time, and
  • It initiates a respiration step early in the rescue sequence.
Meanwhile, from last year's Washington Post article by reporter Tom Jackman about NASCO's use of the Heimlich on drowning victims:
In Tampa, which has one of the highest drowning rates in the country, Dr. James Orlowski said he has documented nearly 40 cases where rescuers performing the Heimlich maneuver have caused complications for the victim. Orlowski is chief of pediatrics and pediatric intensive care at University Community Hospital in Tampa.

“You’ve got one man and a few small supporters,” Orlowski said, ”that continue to push this in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

THE PHYSICIANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE. This DC-area nonprofit produced a PSA and issued a press release hyping the Heimlich for drowning. My father's a longtime member of the advisory board of the organization, which every couple of years presents the Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine.

In this 2004 letter to the editor, Neal Barnard MD, a nonpracticing psychiatrist who's the group's founder/president, shares his understanding of the physiology of drowning:
Dr. Heimlich is right to point out the value of using the Heimlich maneuver to clear water from the lungs in near-drowning cases. Rather than waste minute after agonizing minute in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when the lungs are filled with water, the maneuver clears the water out.
Here's an interview Dr. Barnard gave to Brian Ross for the ABC 20/20 report about my father's crackpot medical claims:

Added May 2, 2012

C.H.A.S.E. FOR LIFE. In this June 9, 2007 WCBS-TV interview, Farley Boyle, former runway model turned founder/president of a Little Silver, NJ first aid training nonprofit, advises that "it's crucial that you get the water out" of near-drowning victims and that rescuers should "try to expel the water using abdominal thrusts":

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Illinois senator calls out Attorney General Lisa Madigan re: her stalled Save-A-Life Foundation investigation, tags former IL mayor & CDC exec in Atlanta who were key players at the tainted nonprofit

Is the Illinois Attorney General pretending to investigate the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF)?

That's the question posed in a December blog item by "Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter" on a mystery site called called Illinois Pay to Play. It's a mystery to me anyway. (Hey, Hugo, if you're reading this, could you send me a copy of your driver's license? Okay, I'll settle for a library card.)

Regardless of Hugo's bona fides, Illinois State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), who spent three decades working in law enforcement, has raised more or less the same question in an acerbic letter he recently sent to IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

IL Sen.Tim Bivins (R-Dixon)

First, some quick catch-up.

Via Possible Charity Scam by Sophia Beausoleil, WCIA-TV News, Champaign-Urbana, IL, October 20, 2010:
Save a Life Foundation was a Chicago based non-profit that would teach children all over the state and country emergency rescue techniques...A representative for the Attorney General's office said they are looking into the organization's charitable contributions and assets.
Click here for the correspondence between SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri and the Attorney General's Office that triggered the investigation.

Don't miss Spizzirri's unusual June 11, 2010 letter to Assistant Attorney General Barry Goldberg accompanied by a weird attached "Cyber Sabotage Activities" report in which I and others are named as "co-conspirators."

Apparently that's what you're called if you ask questions about what happened to the reported $8.6 million federal and state tax dollars awarded to Spizzirri's organization

If that's so, according to this recent article, the latest "co-conspirators" are Sen. Bivins and Gery Chico, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education:
Save-A-Life Foundation is one of a couple organizations Bivins is looking at...The former Lee County sheriff wants investigations and audits of these groups, he said.
Chico agreed.

"I think if there's probable cause for wrongdoing, especially if it involves public money, there ought to be an investigation, sure," Chico said.
I think Hugo would also agree.

Gery Chico receives SALF award from Carol Spizzirri (photo from SALF's 2003 Annual Corporate report)

I don't know if Chico has taken any action, but here's the letter Sen. Bivins sent. For a copy of the original, click here or page down.

Note: I've added links to the names of the four Save-A-Life Foundation principals that lead to more information about them. Quick FYI, Douglas R. Browne is an executive at the US Centers for Disease Control here in Atlanta; John Donleavy is the former president of VELCO, one of Vermont's largest energy companies.

January 18, 2012

Lisa Madigan
IL Attorney General
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Attorney General Madigan,

I'm writing you in regard to your office's investigation of the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), an investigation which reportedly has been underway for about 18 months.

When I recently phoned your office to inquire about the status of the case, your legislative aide Kareem Kenyatta told me the investigation was open but only because they couldn't locate Carol J. Spizzirri, SALF's founder and president.

Frankly, I was stunned. Having served over three decades in law enforcement, I couldn't imagine anyone working for me making such a feeble excuse.

To prove the point, shortly after that conversation, I located the following information on the Internet in about 30 seconds:
1930 W. San Marcos Blvd #285
San Marcos, CA 92078
Less than an hour later, the San Diego County Assessor confirmed that the property was purchased on August 7, 2006 by Spizzirri and Scott Anderson, a former SALF Treasurer and Corporate Director.

Mr. Kenyatta didn't indicate whether your investigators had attempted to contact these other members of SALF's most recent Corporate Board, but here's their contact information as well, all of which was quickly obtained by searching Google:
858 N. Virginia Lake Ct.
Palatine, IL 60074

2851 Evans Woods Dr.
Doraville, GA 30340

325 3rd Street South
Naples FL 34102
Incidentally, according to her Facebook page, Spizzirri spent this Christmas with Mullins, who served as mayor of Palatine for 20 years.

Reportedly SALF received almost $9 million taxpayer dollars to provide first aid training to children, "many of them from the Chicago Public Schools," according to Spizzirri. But in response to a federal court subpoena and FOIAs, the Chicago Schools and other school districts where SALF claimed to have trained many thousands of students have been unable to locate any training records.

Spizzirri and her organization have a history of other serious misrepresentations.

For example, SALF's fund raising materials represented Spizzirri as a Registered Nurse with a specialty in renal transplants who possessed a four-year degree from a college in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. SALF also claimed Spizzirri's motivation for founding the organization was triggered by the death of her teenage daughter who supposedly bled to death following a hit and run accident, a story repeated ad infinitum over the 16-year existence of the corporation.

Since 2006 a growing body of media reports in Illinois and around the country has proved all those claims to be false. Further, last year a San Diego newspaper reported that Spizzirri is a twice convicted adult shoplifter whose daughter took out a protective order against her based on allegations of extreme physical abuse.

Last month Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico told the Executive Appointments Committee (on which I serve) that SALF falsely claimed he and his wife were members of the organization's board. According to a recent New York newspaper article, the Health Commissioner of Westchester County, NY, says SALF also falsely claimed she was a board member.

Given such overwhelming evidence, it's questionable whether the Save-A-Life Foundation ever told the truth about anything.

Undoubtedly you agree that we have a duty to assure the public that the millions in public and private dollars SALF obtained weren't misappropriated. I realize that by law you're not permitted to discuss the details of an ongoing investigation, however, based on my conversation with Mr. Kenyatta, I'd appreciate some indication from you how seriously your office is pursuing these matters.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your reply.


Tim Bivins
State Senator 45th District

SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri (right) spends Xmas 2011 at the Palatine, IL home of her SALF colleague, Rita Mullins (left) 
Rita Mullins (seated) & Carol J. Spizzirri (next to Santa Claus)