Colo. Firefighters Take Over Charity Calendar

DENVER --

The Colorado Attorney General has filed a suit aimed at dissolving the nonprofit organization behind the Colorado Firefighters calendar.

According to the complaint, filed in Denver District Court, Fired Up For Kids solicited donations through the sale of calendars to raise money for the Childrens Hospital Burn Unit.

"Although the organization presented itself as a nonprofit entity and was registered with the Colorado Secretary of States Office as a nonprofit, Fired Up For Kids was for-profit entity, according to its president and sole board member, Kirsten Hamling," the attorney general's office said.

Shortly after the nonprofit formed Hamling began using its accounts and assets for personal uses, including gym memberships, airline tickets, and at nail and hair salons, according to the attorney general's complaint.

Hamling resigned from the organization in September after the executive committee asked for her resignation, accusing her of co-mingling her personal finances, finances for her for-profit company, Traction Communications, with Fired Up for Kids finances.

Former volunteers with the previous calendars created a new nonprofit called Colorado Firefighter Calendar, Inc.

However, Hamling refused to turn over to the successor organization the intellectual and physical property of the organization, including its bank accounts and calendar inventory, the attorney general's office said. The attorney general's office said the lawsuit was filed so the successor organization can continue the entitys mission as a nonprofit organization.

The Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporations Act allows the Attorney General to request that a judge dissolve a nonprofit if it had obtained its articles of incorporation through fraud or if it has continued to exceed or abuse its authority under the law.

Fired Up for Kids incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on Nov. 27, 2007. Its articles of incorporation listed two initial members of the Board of Directors: Hamling and Alison Heller. However, Heller contacted the state and filed a statement on Oct. 4 that she had never been an acting member of the board of directors and had not realized she was listed as a board member until September of this year.

Even though Fired Up for Kids represented itself on its pamphlets and on its website as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, the organization never received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS and has never paid taxes, the attorney general's office said.

It has since changed the wording on its website to say it is simply an "organization" that donates only a "portion" of the proceeds it receives to the Colorado Children's Hospital Burn Center.

The Denver District Attorneys office said it is investigating allegations of theft at the organization, but wont say how much money was allegedly stolen. A former volunteer with the group estimates the theft at $50,000 minimum.

Sales of the 2012 calendar have been suspended. Once that organization is up and running, the calendars will be sold again, benefiting burn victims.

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