Monday, September 11, 2006
Just stick your head in the sand part III
I have come under a bit of fire by some of the POD PEOPLE and one aspect of blogs like these should be made very clear. I, in no way think that giving to Charities or donating money to charities is a bad thing. There are thousands of great charities out there, and I would include the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation as one of them. However, I will question the motives of people who have a history of deception when it comes to raising money under the ruse of 'charity' and using that ruse in order to make their public persona 'look good.' As this story developed and continues to develope today, I have seen many problems that the "Southern Gentleman's" Manager and the way he feels that he can simply ignore legitimate and legal questions that are directed to him. After all, it is his job, if he doesn't want the resposibility of it, he should stay on the spotter's stand.
The reason why this has been divided into multiple parts is because of the amount of information (all over a $820 auction) that fact alone speaks volumes.
From what we have seen in part one and part two of this rant, we have indeed seen that because of the way this auction was handled from the very beginning, there were 'issues'. Even though Brett would not admit it, the problems stand out from each 'official' response.
Numerous emails I have received, let me know that I was not the only one asking questions about the auction to first the SFCWebmaster, then the Sean (yes, I understand that is one in the same), and lastly to Brett. To date, not one person got a response to any of the questions asked, only vague spin. To compound this spin, we had to deal with the 'multiple' personality of "Sean", just what is he? I send an Email to him, and he says I should send it to the Webmaster, I send it to the Webmaster, yet Sean responds. WE know Sean is the "Goatfish", but is he also the Webmaster? He sure seems to have that moniker today.
In part II, I showed my very lengthy "information request" email sent directly to the person(s) who I was told to divert these questions to in the first place, and in accordance with Federal Statue section 6104(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, and the Federal Trade Commissions guidelines, something I had a legal right to do. Within just a few short hours, I receive this response. (Note, I did "*" out some personal information even though that is pretty much public knowledge to many as well)
From: Brett Griffin
Cc: Sean Watts ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 1:07 PM
Subject: PHONE NUMBER
Can you please provide me with your phone number so we can chat about your concerns with the online auction?
Elliott Sadler Enterprises, Inc.
**** ***** ***** ****
******, ** *****
O: (704) 48*-****
F: (704) 48*-****
Now Brett 'wants to chat'? That chance has long gone either by a public post on the SFC Board, or via EZmail, or even direct email. Section 6104(e) does not refer to any need for a phone call, in fact it specifies that when such requests are made, that the information requested should be made in writting.
A day later I see another email from Brett:
I had hoped you would respond to my Email. First and foremost you should know that Elliott's foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities. In addition, this particular auction will yield at least 50% of the sale to the foundation. The total amount will be determined based upon several other variables. You should also know that I contribute to the foundation every year. I would like to speak with you regarding your Emails and posts when you have a chance. Please provide your contact information.
Before I get to my response to this email, lets break down the "Brett Spin'.
**"First and foremost you should know that Elliott's foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities."
Wasn't this the whole purpose of the information email, to actually understand some specifics and not some broad statement?
**"This particular auction will yield at least 50% of the sale to the foundation."
So now we are 'up' to 'at least 50%' from a 'portion', that’s progress in the making. But shouldn't the question be asked? Just what was the reason for the Sadler Fan Club, and Driver's Choice Motorsports Marketing felt the need to make a profit of $410 off this auction? According to the Better Business Bureau, they measure the effectiveness of a third party solicitor/fundraiser (in this case, Driver's Choice Motosports Marketing Group) as that the TOTAL FUND RAISING expenses, should not be over 35% of the TOTAL RELATED CONTRIBUTION. Brett's 'up to 50%' comment according the BBB fails as an 'effective and honest' 3rd party fundraiser.
**"The total amount will be determined based upon several other variables."
WHAT VARIABLES????? The FACT that the action was for $820? The FACT that SEAN 'hand delivered' the shirt to the winner personally at a distance less than a 20 mile round trip? (.35 cents a mile, you do the math)
$820 auction price
-$410 of the 'up to 50%'
- $7.80 (.39 cents a mile times 20 miles for the 'delivery fee')
-24.60 (eBay auction fee at 3%)
JUST WHAT OTHER VARIABLES? Again Brett, we are talking chump change here and the Transaction from the buyer and seller had taken place over a month prior.
**"You should also know that I contribute to the foundation every year."
While that is nice Brett, that is a non-issue and had you simply answered the questions asked by me, you would have known that this fact would or would not have been disclosed. Frankly, this is just a simpleton's attempt to deflect the issue at hand. Lastly Brett, would you have blindly donated any amount of money to a charity without first asking questions first?
Remember previous emails directly from Brett concerning other questions about the Foundation? And his answer of "We are in the process of forming a web site for the foundation."
THIS is the FOUNDATION'S web site in it's same form (under construction) and has not changed since at least before March when I started this type of searching. As you can see the 'links' are dead or at the very least pointing back to SFC. Just another example of the empty 'Brett' promises, and something that convinced me to search more deeply into the "Southern Gentleman's" dealings.
Now for my last response to Brett's spin and deflection emails less than 24 hours after his last:
At this point a casual conversation is neither necessary nor warranted. There have been ample opportunities to respond to questions via the Forum or the Forum Email and unfortunately that time has come and gone. Nothing asked in the formal request should require clarification or speculation and accordance with State and Federal Statutes, response should also be in writing.
Your response is pending
It doesn't get much more clearer than that, and for some 'marketing major', I'm thinking the University of South Carolina is not proud of their graduate at this point.
Brett's final response, and his ignorance of the situation is amazing. He really thinks that we as 'fans' should just stick our collective heads in the sand and believe what ever he or Elliott says, no matter how stupid it sounds.
Thank you for the timely response and we hope you are interested in future auctions relating to Elliott Sadler items. We have a fan club event planned in May and those proceeds will also benefit his foundation. Have a good week and maybe in the future your questions will be directed to the proper person(s) sooner in your process of questions. The message board was not intended for such questions and that's where you ran into problems.
Time for another 'breakdown'.
**"We hope you are interested in future auctions relating to Elliott Sadler items."
Have I not said this since day one, and tried to get more information BECAUSE I may have been interested in future auctions? But Brett and his cronies have stonewalled any attempt to understand more about the Sadler foundation, and the way they choose to raise funds and just who 'profits' from them?
**"We have a fan club event planned in May and those proceeds will also benefit his foundation."
Again, no specifics, jsut what percentage of 'proceeds' are you talking aobut Brett?. There is nothing wrong with this, with one exception; this event was not advertised as a 'Foundation fund raiser'. Why bring it up as one now?
**"Have a good week and maybe in the future your questions will be directed to the proper person(s) sooner in your process of questions."
Brett!!!! If you are not the 'proper' person(s), than who is? For years you have been the PR spokesman for both Elliott and the Sadler Foundation. Heck, you have even left your same email as the 'contact' as far back as 2001 for 'Foundation events'.
**"The message board was not intended for such questions and that's where you ran into problems."
However, the 'message board' WAS intended to publicly advertise this sale. Had I only voiced these questions, on your message board, Brett, you may have had a point, but we know now that is simply not the case. The only problem is your continual deception and spin in something that just doesn't seem right.
My final response to Brett:
From your generic and vague response it appears that you are refusing to comply with a specific legal request of written information. Your nonchalant attitude in this matter and failure to comply has left little choice but to escalate this when the deadline for such requests pass, as the protocol in matters like this is very specific. It is very unfortunate that this has come to that.
Your response is still pending
What Brett doesn't seem to understand is that Federal Law is very precise in matters like this. He had 30 days to respond and in my opinion, failed to even come close to doing that.
Thus there was little choice but to take further action. Some of that 'action' I was told I might never really know just what the 'authorities' did once I filed the paperwork for the complaint, or if there were any penalties issued, and honestly that was never my intentions. (That’s the way the Attorney General works in most states) I just want the Sadler's to do things right, and not deceive.
From the BBB and this is very appropriate:
Organizations that comply with these accountability standards have provided documentation that they meet basic standards:
* In how they govern their organization,
* In the ways they spend their money,
* In the truthfulness of their representations, and
* In their willingness to disclose basic information to the public.
Ever wonder why when you go to the Sadler Fan Club website and scroll down about 3/4 of this page ?
You will see this hotlink:
"* Own a piece of Elliott's Daytona Win
Bid on Elliott's Ebay item of the week."
Click on the link and you get this
"404 Object Not Found"
Just another attempt to sweep this under the carpet.
Lastly, a few emails and comments got me thinking about that Sadler’s 'public' claims of just how much actual money they raise and how much they actually claim legally for their events. (Thanks to the '$30,000 comment from the Barn Party) Part IV will discuss 'issues' with 'charity claims', based on press releases, and Tax information. And to think, all if this skeptism over a $820 auction and STILL no answer to a few very simple questions.
To be continued...........