Thursday, January 13, 2011

Did Save-A-Life rip off Carpentersville, Illinois? If so, maybe Rita Mullins can help locate the missing funds!

From 2009 Citizens for Mullins re-election campaign (click here for complete bio)

"I know (the Save-A-Life Foundation) to be a very well-run organization.”

That's what Rita Mullins, then-mayor of Palatine, Illinois and Save-A-Life's Director of Government Affairs, told the Daily Herald, according to a May 9, 2007 article.

Based on the following letters, city officials and business owners in the neighboring village of Carpentersville might disagree.

Here's a June 18, 2008 letter from Bill Sarto, then-mayor of Carpentersville, to Carrie Viehweg, Save-A-Life's Illinois State Director. Mayor Sarto's letter included $4,200 in donation checks from local businesses (payable to Save-A-Life), contracting the organization to provide first aid training classes to students in the Carpentersville schools.
Carpentersville Mayor Bill Sarto sends $4200 to Save-A-Life Foundation's Carrie Viehweg, 6/18/08

Was Mayor Sarto was aware that two years before, Save-A-Life had been the subject of four scorching exposes by ABC Chicago? Did Ms. Viehweg or any other Save-A-Life representatives inform him about those reports so that he could inform donors? If so, Mayor Sarto gave no indication in a June 16, 2008 blog in which he hyped the program
Through the generosity of several of our local businesses we now have the seed money to begin the program. We have raised over $5,000.00 toward this worthwhile endeavor.
Hey, wait a minute. If over $5,000 was raised for "this worthwhile endeavor," how come Mayor Sarto only sent $4,200 to Ms. Viewheg a couple of days later?

Dunno, but per this letter they both signed, Mayor Sarto and Ms. Viehweg then went shopping for more funding. Note their claim that "more than a million school-aged children and youth have" received first aid training from Save-A-Life. Does anyone have any records to back up that claim? (Hello, Ms. Viehweg? Ms. Mullins?):
$5000 grant request from Carpentersville Mayor Bill Sarto & SALF's Carrie Viehweg, 8/25/08

A year later, based on this October 22, 2009 financial reimbursement demand and seeming legal threat from Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt to Save-A-Life's founder/president Carol Spizzirri, the deal had gone waaaay south:
Carpentersvile Fire Chief demands return of funds from Save-A-Life Foundation, 10/22/09

It's not known if Chief Schuldt recovered the money or if he asked Save-A-Life's second-in-command Rita Mullins to help him to reimburse the Carpentersville donors.

Six months before his letter, Mullins was defeated by a landslide in her 2009 re-election bid. On October 22, 2009, the Village of Palatine held a dedication ceremony to re-name a local landmark as "Rita L. Mullins Volunteer Plaza" for her 20 years of service as mayor.

Coincidentally, that's the same date as the chief's demand letter to Mullins's "very well run" organization.

According to the October 11, 2009 Chicago Tribune, Mullins is now partners in a new business venture with her "close friend" Carol Spizzirri (page down for photo gallery).

According to the November 17, 2010 San Diego Reader, Spizzirri - who now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, California - is a twice-convicted shoplifter whose daughter filed a protective order against her that included allegations of physical abuse.

According to recent reports in The Hill and other news outlets, the Save-A-Life Foundation is being investigated by the Illinois Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Bureau.

Save-A-Life founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri consoles Rita Mullins after losing her 20-year Palatine mayor, Election Night 2009
Business partners Rita Mullins & Carol Spizzirri, March 2010
Save-A-Life Director Dane Neal, Carol Spizzirri, ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rita Mullins
Carol Spizzirri, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rita Mullins
IL Secretary of State Jesse White & Rita Mullins (center), Carol Spizzirri (right)