Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill fire board learns fundraising complaints fall outside its authority

SPRING HILL — The Spring Hill fire board has been told there is little it can do to control professional fundraisers who are soliciting donations for the district's firefighters union.

Fire district attorney Andrew Salzman told commissioners at their meeting Wednesday night that complaints about New Port Richey telemarketer Bay Area Council Inc. are a matter for state regulators who oversee such organizations.

The group solicits money on behalf of charities run by firefighters in Pasco, Hernando and other counties.

"We have no control over what the union does," Salzman told the board. The union's fundraising methods, he said, "is done at their peril" and are outside the purview of the district's leaders.

On Salzman's suggestion, the board voted to have him to draft a letter instructing the union to include a disclaimer on all future correspondence that it was not directly affiliated with the district. The board also asked Fire Chief Mike Rampino to sign the letter as well.

The matter came before the board in response to a complaint made recently by Ronald Wegner of Hudson, who said his 94-year-old mother, a resident of a Spring Hill assisted living facility, had received an invoice in March from the Spring Hill Association of Firefighters & Paramedics that resembled a bill.

Wegner told commissioners that he felt such tactics were meant to trick the elderly into sending money.

"I'm not a fan of dishonesty," said Wegner, who roundly criticized union president Scott Edmiston's earlier remarks that using an outside group to solicit donations was more fruitful than doing it themselves.

Although the Florida Division of Corporations indicates that the not-for-profit Bay Area Council has been incorporated since 1998, the company is now listed as inactive on the agency's Web site. According to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the company has been under investigation since September.

Commissioner Rob Giammarco said he was more concerned about the public's perception that the district somehow endorsed such fundraising efforts.

"This is very, very serious," Giammarco said. "It's our reputation, responsibility and accountability, not theirs."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1435.

Spring Hill fire board learns fundraising complaints fall outside its authority 12/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nelson, Rubio want Trump to back off cuts to drug office

    Blogs

    Citing an opioid crisis “devastating Florida,” Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are asking the Trump administration to back off plans to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    A letter to the Office of Management and Budget
  2. US President Donald Trump, left,  meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Monday, in Jerusalem. Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, a two-day stop aimed at testing the waters for jumpstarting the dormant Middle East peace process. [AP photo]
  3. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times
  4. Flynn to invoke 5th Amendment, won't hand over documents in Russia probe, source says

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he notifies a Senate panel that he won't hand over documents in the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

    In this Feb. 13, 2017 file photo, Mike Flynn arrives for a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The former national security adviser will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday. [Associated Press]
  5. Department store chain from Puerto Rico coming to University Mall

    Retail

    TAMPA — Grand's, a department store chain from Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in September.

    Grand's, a department store chain from n Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in Tampa in September. Coloring rendering of revamped University Mall.
[CBRE Group]