Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Actor David Hasselhoff says nonprofit now under investigation lied about him in grant applications, fundraising materials, media reports [UPDATED]

11/25/13 UPDATE ARTICLE BASED ON NEWLY-AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS: Why did actor David Hasselhoff lie to me about his role with a shady nonprofit now under investigation for "possible $9m misappropriation"?


For almost a decade, the nonprofit Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) claimed actor David Hasselhoff served as the organization's "Honorary Chairman."

Reportedly now under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General for the "possible misappropriation of $9 million" of federal and Illinois funds -- money which was supposed to provide first aid training classes in public schools -- SALF touted Hasselhoff's affiliation in the media, on their website, in fundraising materials, and in grant applications for which SALF received hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the Baywatch star says it's all a lie.

Per an e-mail I received last week from his press agent, Judy Katz (copy posted below):
He was never SALF's Honorary Chairman. He never had any financial relationship with SALF. He never had any personal contact with SALF.
So who originated SALF's claims about The Hoff?

Via Surf's Up For Cpr Crusade As `Baywatch' Star Signs On by Christi Parsons, Chicago Tribune, December 30, 1993:

This part's on the level:

And here's a letter I obtained from my father's archives at the University of Cincinnati:

But when I asked her about the PSA and the letter, after conferring with Hasselhoff, here's what Judy Katz wrote me:
(SALF) had requested, through the production office at Baywatch, for David to do a psa about saving lives back in the 1990's while he was starring on Baywatch. The letter you sent me was prepared and written by someone in the Baywatch production office around the same time.
Here's a screenshot from grant applications SALF submitted to the IL Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) in 2002, resulting in SALF receiving $200,000 to buy an office building in Springfield, the state capitol: 

It's unclear why grant co-sponsors State Senator Raymond Poe and former senator Walter Dudycz thought taxpayers should buy a building for a Chicago nonprofit.

But, per You Paid For It: Where's the money?, a hard-hitting March 14, 2013 story by investigative reporter Steve Staeger at Springfield's CBS-TV affiliate, the sale of the property helped trigger the Attorney General's investigation of SALF. (I added the link to the documents.)
As (SALF) was looking to move its operation statewide in 2003, it got $200,000 in state grants to buy a building on Capitol Avenue in Springfield. When the foundation dissolved in 2009, it sold the Springfield building for $109,750, according to tax records.

But the group did not list the sale in its final filing with the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau. WCIA-3 News obtained documents revealing correspondence between Save-A-Life officials and the Illinois Attorney General.

In the months following the dissolution, the AG repeatedly asks for documentation on the money obtained thought the sale. Spizzirri never provides any accounting of the money. The correspondence ends in August of 2010.
Don't miss the video which documents other bogus claims made by SALF:

The $200,000 for the building wasn't the only grant SALF obtained using Hasselhoff's name and claimed affiliation.

I'll be reporting about that in the near future.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Huffington Post scrubs Boston-area "comedy" duo's YouTube containing anti-Jewish slur (UPDATE: MTV site deletes it, too)

On Saturday, I reported about a widely-viewed YouTube video that includes an anti-Jewish slur. Here's a screenshot from this morning:

A July 11 Huffington Post item about the video -- created by and starring "comedy" duo Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker who run a media production business in Danvers, Mass. -- has since been deleted.

Clicking the link to the original post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/11/universal-studios-intro-in-real-life_n_3579434.html?utm_hp_ref=comedy) leads to a blank page with this explanation:

As a result of an earlier YouTube video that went viral, Craig and Parker were the subject of recent profiles by Glenn Yoder in the Boston Globe and by Sara Gaynes in the Boston Herald.

Here are some screenshots related to the deleted HuffPo item that was uploaded by Senior Comedy Editor Carol Hartsell, who presumably thought it was a hoot. 

UPDATE (10:30AM): NextMovie.com, an MTV property, published this July 15 item by Christopher Rosa:

Apparently doing a Winston Smith, NextMovie also disappeared the item, but without an explanation.

Here's what's at http://www.nextmovie.com/blog/universal-logo-funny-video now:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Anti-Jewish slur by Boston-area "comedy" duo in follow-up to their viral YouTube video

Also see my July 16, 2013 follow-up, Huffington Post scrubs Boston-area "comedy" duo's YouTube containing anti-Jewish slur (UPDATE: MTV site deletes it, too)

Source: Boston Herald, 11/29/12

Via Trying to ride viral videos to wider fame -- Billerica video-making duo aims to take viral success to Hollywood by Glenn Yoder, a January 1, 2013 feature in the Boston Globe:
For a couple of comedians, Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker don’t joke around much. Not, that is, when discussing their craft.

...“This is what we want,” he continues. “This is what we want to do with our lives.”

They’re hoping they get that chance after the recent triumph of “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend”...The clip, shot in their hometown of Billerica and posted in late November, went viral, collecting nearly 7 million YouTube plays in its first month and a segment on the “Today” show.
Clip from their most recent attempt at humor, published July 8, 2013 on YouTube

Move over Paula Deen -- Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker are in the house.

More from the Globe:
...Craig and Parker formed a two-man corporate video production company called Methodloft in January 2011, partnering with McDougall Interactive, a marketing agency that was seeking an in-house video team..."Immediately it was a match made in heaven (says company president John McDougall).
Via McDougall's website:

Screenshots from Methodloft's website, presumably some of their clients:

Finally, from Quick Tips for Making a Corporate Video by Jimmy Craig, October 22, 2012

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin: C. Everett Koop's 1985 pro-Heimlich statement (based on Ed Patrick's junk research) "probably needs to be looked at"

It took me months of e-mails and phone calls, but last Thursday I had a half-hour phone call with outgoing US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin about her office's policy on the best way to respond to a choking emergency.

Via the June 18, 2013 Houston Chronicle:
There has been an ongoing debate about the Heimlich maneuver and whether or not (the Heimlich maneuver) is the most effective method (for responding to a choking emergency). In 1985, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “Millions of Americans have been taught to treat persons who are choking with back blows, chest thrusts and abdominal thrusts. Now, they must be advised…and I ask for the participation of the Red Cross, the American Heart Association and public health authorities everywhere…that these methods are hazardous, even lethal.”

The American Heart Association and American Red Cross criticized Dr. Koop, but later followed suggested guidelines by only teaching the Heimlich. In 2005, the AHA and ARC changed their position by stating that “back blows, abdominal thrusts and chest compressions are equally effective” treatments for responding to a choking emergency.

The Red Cross stated that there is no clear scientific evidence to say that one technique is more effective than the others when treating a choking victim.
Per my June 10 letter to Dr. Benjamin, I've been trying to find out if the Office of the Surgeon General still stands behind Dr. Koop's outdated claims.

During our call I found Dr. Benjamin to be down to earth and easy to talk to. She explained that current governmental procedures are more complicated than in Koop's day -- no surprise there -- and that evaluating and processing new recommendations required months of reviews by committees.

But she did tell me that my inquiry "sparked out interest to start thinking about it...I certainly think it's an interesting topic that probably needs to be looked at."

Next week is her last week on the job, but she offered to share the information with the Acting Surgeon General, so we'll see where that goes.

Edward A. Patrick MD PhD (via the BMJ)
I also explained my concerns about the evidence on which Koop said he relied -- unpublished research by Dr. Edward A. Patrick, my father's shady 30-year crony whose one-of-a-kind, full-page obituary in the March 13, 2010 British Medical Journal sounds like a character from The Simpsons.

Two 1985 news reports about Koop's "pro-Heimlich" statement (Washington Post, Pittsburgh Press) identify Dr. Patrick as a professor at the University of Cincinnati. 

Dr. Benjamin asked me to send along that information, which I did in the following letter which raises obvious questions about Dr. Koop's due diligence.

Beyond that, as I told Creator's Syndicate columnist Lenore Skenazy in 2007:
"Koop was an old friend of my father's, and he did it as a buddy favor."

Note: I've revised this item a few times.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Steady, big fella: Vincent Davis, the "$10 million Barack Obama e-mail" -- and ABC7 Chicago gets subpoenaed in the Melongo case

Vincent Davis and my father, Dr. Henry J. Heimlich

A story by reporter Erin Murphy in last week's Dubuque (IA) Telegraph Herald, Email links Obama to embattled nonprofit, broke some interesting new ground in the ongoing Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) scandal about the once high-flying, politically-connected organization now under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General.

Before getting to that, check out this clip from The Maneuver Part I, the November 2006 ABC7 Chicago expose by investigative reporter Chuck Goudie that first pried the lid off the SALF can of worms:

The big fella who leads SALF founder/president out of the room and tells the ABC7 crew to "show yourselves out" was Vincent Davis, SALF's "Director of Operations and Military Affairs."

Here's an e-mail Davis received from Eric Brandmeyer, who for years was involved with SALF. The date is about a week after Goudie's fourth and (so far) last ABC Chicago report about SALF aired on May 30, 2007. ("Carrie" is undoubtedly Carrie Viehweg of Staunton, IL, who ran SALF's Springfield office.)

And Davis's response: 

Imagine my surprise to find myself and Chuck Goudie being trashed by Davis as he assures Brandmeyer that Mr. Obama, then a United States Senator, will be shoring up SALF's finances!

As for Davis's June 2007 prediction that Goudie "will likely be out of a job soon," six years later, according to his LinkedIn:

Meanwhile, six months later, via Davis's LinkedIn:

Interestingly, Davis's "Obama e-mail" came to light courtesy of a June 19, 2013 subpoena filed by the defense in the Cook County Criminal Court case, Illinois v. Annabel Melongo, the former SALF employee who in October 2006 was charged with tampering with SALF's computer files after she left the company.

As it happens, the subpoena was issued to ABC7 Chicago (WLS-TV).