Friday, December 10, 2010

Political writer Lee Cary asks educator/Northeastern IL University chairman/former Save-A-Life Foundation director Carlos Azcoitia about investigation(s) of SALF

Carlos M. Azcoitia PhD
Presentation by Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) founder/president Carol Spizzirri and Carlos Azcoitia at a 1999 Chicago School Board meeting with Paul Vallas & Gery Chico. Azcoitia, who according to IRS records was SALF's Director for three years (page down), appears in the video at timestamp 8:30. Dr. Azcoitia is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Northeastern Illinois University and an assistant professor at Chicago's National-Louis University

E-mailed to  and faxed to (312)261-3121

December 10, 2010

Carlos M. Azcoitia PhD
Assistant Professor
National-Louis University
122 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603    
Dear Dr. Azcoitia,

I’m reporting about the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), a Chicago-area nonprofit. In November 2006, ABC7 Chicago reported a variety of false claims associated with the organization and its founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri. Since then, dozens of media reports have raised additional related concerns, such as a San Diego newspaper article last month that reported Ms. Spizzirri’s criminal record.

Since you’re identified as Corporate Director on several years of SALF’s tax returns and you helped the organization gain entrĂ©e to the Chicago Public Schools, I’d appreciate your answers to the following quick questions.

1. SALF is reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General. Have you or has anyone you know been contacted by anyone connected with that investigation? If so, please provide details.

The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) awarded $3.33 million in federal grants to SALF. In financial reports submitted to the CDC, SALF stated that the money was used to provide first aid training classes to thousands of Chicago Public School (CPS) students. Last year, SALF’s founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri told the Chicago Tribune that her organization trained hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Chicago Schools students. Here’s a list of hundreds of Chicago schools in which SALF allegedly provided the training. (The list also highlights Chicago schools at which SALF allegedly trained thousands of students in a program funded by Ronald McDonald House Charities.)

However, in response to a federal subpoena and FOIA requests, CPS records fail to support these claims. In fact, CPS’s entire records re: SALF apparently consist of 22 invoices dating from 2000-2007 indicating that at best a few hundred people may have received training.

As described in a Bagwell for Congress press release last month, a public letter was sent by Tim Bagwell to the Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) requesting an investigation to determine if the CDC millions were properly administered.

2. Do you recommend that the HHS Inspector General initiate such an investigation?

At a 1999 Chicago School Board meeting, in response to a question by board president Gery Chico asking how much her organization’s first aid training program costs, Ms. Spizzirri stated, "It's at 75 cents a child. Except it's a dollar for the instructor." The 22 invoices show CPS paid SALF about $62,000 from 2000-2007. Again, however, CPS records indicate that at best a few hundred people may have received training.

3. Do you think that CPS Inspector General James M. Sullivan should initiate an investigation to determine if the $62,000 in public funds paid by CPS to SALF was properly administered?

Please feel free to add any related comments of any length. Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to receiving your answers, preferably by Wednesday, December 15. If you require more time, please let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate your schedule.


Lee Cary
Writer, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, the American Thinker

Gery Chico, Chico & Nunes P.C.

Carlos Azcoitia listed as Corporate Director on Save-A-Life Foundation IRS returns, 2000-02

2/1/01 Save-A-Life Foundation letter listing corporate officers