Fundraiser cancelled after questions surface about group hosting - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Fundraiser cancelled after questions surface about group hosting

A fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday in Henderson is cancelled after questions surfaced about the group hosting the event. 

The Touch-A-Thon at Audubon Chrysler in Henderson was supposed to raise money for area charities, but we found out those charities had no idea what was going on.

County officials tipped us off saying they were concerned where the money raised was going.

"The more research I did, the less I felt good about it," said Jeremy Niehaus, the General Manager at Audubon Chrysler.

Niehaus said he believes a scam was averted.

"It would've been a very bad situation, not only for the people that gave their money, even for us because we did have our name on it," Niehaus said.

Niehaus was contacted a few weeks ago by Hands Everywhere Loving People wanting to do an event to raise money for area charities. 

Niehaus was on board, saying his dealership is all about helping out in the community, but as the days progressed, the more uneasy he felt about this particular fundraiser.

"They put this together so fast. We didn't have our time to do our due diligence," Niehaus said. 

The charities the money was going to the Red Cross, Matthew 25, and the Make A Wish Foundation all had no idea. 

"If the charities didn't know anything about it, then we thought it was just a big scam all together," Niehaus said.

That's when the dealership decided to back out. 

14 News talked with Terry Pruitt, the Director of Hands Everywhere Loving People, on Wednesday who says it's all just a misunderstanding.

"The ones that we had contacted and that we felt we had the necessary proper paperwork was the American Red Cross Evansville chapter, the Elton John AIDS foundation, and Matthew 25," Pruitt said.

14 News followed up with those organizations. The American Red Cross in Evansville said they never agreed to the fundraiser, and Matthew 25 said the same. 

Despite that, Pruitt says they're not scamming anyone. 

"It's nowhere near a scam. We are here to take and help those organizations," Pruitt said.

Pruitt said he's been questioned by police. The Henderson Police Department said they do have an investigation open.

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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