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Department of Homeland Security Washington, DC 20528 Dear Secretary Napolitano: According to a FEMA press release, the Save-A-Life Foundation of Schiller Park, IL has been a member organization of Citizens Corps since January 23, 2003. 1 The Citizen Corps website states that Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security, therefore I’m writing to you. Since at least November 2006, senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have been aware that the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) has misrepresented itself with a variety of false claims. This letter is a request that you review the following information in order to determine if DHS has adequately addressed these issues and that you provide me with a copy of that determination within a reasonable period of time. The following is the complete text from “The Maneuver,” a November 16-17, 2006 report 2 published on the website of WLS-TV a/k/a ABC7, the Chicago affiliate of the American Broadcasting Company:
One of Illinois' highest profile charities teaches the Heimlich maneuver to children while maneuvering the truth to get money from government and big business. It's called the Save-A-Life Foundation and is known across Illinois as an organization that teaches schoolchildren how to respond in emergencies. For the past few years, Save-A-Life has received millions of dollars in government funds and corporate donations. An ABC7 ITeam investigation has uncovered a series of misleading claims and deceptive credentials that raise doubts about Save-A-Life's integrity, funding and training. Save-A-Life officials say they have taught the Heimlich maneuver and other first aid techniques to more than 1 million schoolchildren since 1995. They claim to have taught nearly 70,000 children how to save a life in the Chicago Public Schools this year alone. On the Save-A-Life website, the organization promotes itself with a cartoon character of Schools' CEO Arnie (sic) Duncan, who acts as an animated pitchman. Spizzirri is the matriarch of the Save-A-Life Foundation, based in west suburban Schiller Park, and she has captured the attention -- and the funding -- of those who hold government purse
This press release may be found on the enclosed CD-ROM, along with all other documents marked with footnotes in this letter. The number of the footnote also identifies the sequence of the corresponding files on the disk. For example, this footnote 1 refers to the file on the disk named 1-press-release-1-2303_FEMA-SALF.pdf. Also, a digitized copy of this letter is included on the CD-ROM with the filename GTPratt-Napolitano_5-1-09.pdf. ABC7-SALF_11-17-06.pdf
strings. For nearly 15 years, to mayors and members of congress, she has represented herself as trained, registered nurse. Spizzirri says she got her nursing degree in Wisconsin. Currently, Save-A-Life's website and her bio claim, not only that she is an RN, but that she specializes in kidney transplants. The I-Team asked if that is true. "Not at this time," Spizzirri said. "I no longer have. I haven't registered in a number of years." According to state officials, the now-defunct Wisconsin college where Spizzirri claims to have received a nursing degree never awarded her a degree of any kind, and government records show she has never been registered as a nurse in either Wisconsin, as she told the I-Team she was, or in Illinois. "I had a nursing degree and I have worked in a hospital," said Spizzirri. Officials at the Milwaukee hospital where she claims to have been a transplant nurse say she had a paid job for a couple of years, as a patient care assistant akin to a candy striper. "Absolutely it's fair game to go after her for her credentials and her alleged story of how she got started in all of this, because if they are incorrect or fraudulent or misrepresented, then how can you believe anything she says after that?" said Dr. Robert Baratz, National Council Against Health Fraud. The president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, a watchdog organization of medical professionals, says that federal and state funding agencies have been defrauded by Spizzirri's claims that she has a nursing degree and license. "It's free to the children. We bring this course to schools for free," Spizzirri said. But it wasn't free to the Chicago Public Schools, where officials say Save-A-Life charged them $50,000 the past two years. Schools CEO Arnie (sic) Duncan says it seems unlikely that Carol Spizzirri's organization could have taught the number of students they claim, and it's not free to the taxpayers, who give Save-A-Life more than $1 million a year through the Homeland Security department, Centers For Disease Control and the State of Illinois. "If you have an organization that has mostly volunteers, where's the million dollars going?" said Baratz. "It doesn't take a million dollars to print a pamphlet." Spizzirri pays herself an annual salary of $120,000, according to Save-A-Life records on file with the Illinois attorney general. She travels on a generous expense account while working to obtain additional government funding for expansion of her organization nationally. Spizzirri repeatedly tells politicians and public this story of her motivation:
"My daughter was coming home from work on Labor Day of '92. She was struck by a hitand-run, and her arm had been severely injured, and she bled to death before EMS arrived," said Spizzirri. But even that isn't true, according to police and hospital reports and an inquest by the Lake County coroner. The official record states that 18-year-old Christina Spizzirri was legally drunk at the time of the accident; and that after hosting a drinking party while her mother was vacationing in Florida, the teenager got behind the wheel and flipped her own car. Police records show there was no hit-and-run, and even though the local police didn't know emergency first aid, the teenager did not die at the scene as Carol Spizzirri contends. Medical records state that Christina died 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital. I-Team: "It was not a hit and run, was it?" Spizzirri: "Yes, it was. Oh, my gosh. I got proof of that, absolutely ... I'm done, the interview's over." After terminating that interview three weeks ago, Spizzirri's spokesperson requested that we e-mail our additional questions. So we asked for information supporting Spizzirri's often repeated story of Christina's death and any proof that Spizzirri has the medical training, licensing and expertise that she claims. They provided the I-Team with nothing.
A subsequent Freedom of Information Act request produced the following e-mail chain: 3
From: Duncan, James Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:56 PM To: (redacted) Subject: Save-A-Life I don't know if any of you saw Channel 7 News tonight, but they are doing an investigative reporting series on Save-A-Life. It was not pretty! (Redacted) had to get his boss away from the camera. Jim James Duncan Director, National Preparedness Division DHS-FEMA Region V 536 S Clark Street, 6th Floor Chicago. IL 60605
From: (redacted) Sent Monday, November 20, 2006 9:31 AM To: (redacted) Subject: RE: Save-A-Life No I wonder if we can get it on the news site...Thanks for the heads up (redacted)
From (redacted) Sent: Monday. November 20. 2006 9:38 AM To: DiGregorio, Liz (redacted) Subject: FW: Save-A-Life Importance: High Did you all catch this?
From: (redacted) Sent: Monday, November 20. 2006 10:37 AM To: (redacted) Cc: DiGregorio. Liz (redacted) Subject: RE: Save-A-Life Channel 7 is the local news in Chicago - I think it is ABC. The report questioned her credentials as an RN - could not find any record of her schooling - and also some conflict between the Red Cross and Heimlich maneuver. Also questioned the circumstances of her daughter's accident. Also mentioned SALF receives "homeland security" money. I did not see the report - this is second hand info.
From: (redacted) Sent: Monday. November 20, 2006 1:51 PM To: (redacted) Subject: ABC7Chicago.com: The Maneuver jim opoka sent you this from ABC7Chicago.com link: The Maneuver The Heimlich has become a brand name, like the Band-Aid. Dr. Henry Heimlich claims to have invented the technique in which you stand behind a choking victim, wrap your arms around them and pull sharply on their lower abdomen. Dr. Heimlich is medical advisor for a suburban Chicago charity called the SaveA-Life Foundation. Questions are being raised about both Heimlich and the founder of Save-A-Life, Carol Spizzirri. http://abclocai.goxom/wls/story?section=local&id=:4774369
My understanding is that Elizabeth DiGregorio is the former Director of FEMA’s Office of Community Preparedness and that James Opoka is a DHS Regional Program Manager, FEMA Region V, Chicago. FOIA requests also produced a related exchange of letters between DiGregorio and SALF’s founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri. 4 Here is the complete text of DiGregorio’s February 12, 2007 letter. Please note the link to the ABC7 news report:
It has come to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allegations of misrepresentation have been raised in the public media concerning the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF). Specifically, these allegations relate to your educational qualifications and the teaching methods used by SALF. Other allegations have been made relating to SALF's business practices and advisory board. On January 23, 2003, DHS entered into a Statement of Affiliation (SOA) with SALF to promote community preparedness and life safety as a formal Affiliate of the Citizen Corps Program. The decision to enter into the SOA was based in part on information provided by you and SALF which has now been brought into question by these allegations. Therefore, DHS requests that you respond to these allegations and provide documentary support, where available, which demonstrates that the allegations are incorrect. Details of the allegations can be found in media reports available on the internet. You can read one such report at http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sectton=investigative&id=4770490. Please provide a response to the allegations by March 15, 2007, or as soon as is practicable, so DHS can determine if any action needs to be taken with respect to the extant SOA. Further, some of your recent publications have featured the DHS seal. Permission for non-DHS entities to use the seal must come from the Secretary for Homeland Security. Absent such permission, please ensure that future SALF publications do not employ the DHS seal. You may continue to represent your organization as an Affiliate of Citizen Corps and display the Citizen Corps logo.
Chicago attorney Thomas DiCianni of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, PC responded to DiGregorio in a letter dated February 22, 2007. DiCianni’s letter states:
I am writing you with regard to an important matter involving Save A Life Foundation, Inc. (SALF) and actions the SALF Executive Board of Directors has taken to resolve the situation…For background, on November 20, 2006, SALF retained our firm to represent the organization regarding serious allegations contained in a two-part ABC-7 Chicago "sweeps piece" that aired on November 16th and 17th…(Please find attached for your review) a detailed statement responding to the allegations made in the ABC-7 story.
From the four-page SALF statement attached to DiCianni’s letter:
Errors have been corrected. Ms. Spizzirri has not worked in nursing for some thirty years and has never misrepresented herself. Through the years she has been mistakenly referenced as being a Registered Nurse.
Facts prove the above statements are false. First, according to the November 16, 2006 ABC7 report and a December 14, 2008 New York Journal News article, 5 and my personal knowledge provided in a sworn affidavit dated March 30, 2007, 6 it is a near-certainty that Spizzirri has never been a Registered Nurse. Further, the suggestion that Spizzirri worked in any capacity as a nurse thirty years ago is untrue. I state this definitively because I was married to her from 1968 until 1981 when she was known as Carol J. Pratt. That period of time also includes the years in which Spizzirri claims to have attended a Wisconsin college where, according to multiple SALF documents, she allegedly obtained a BSN degree in 1979. (Per my affidavit, that claim is also false.) We divorced in 1981, but stayed in touch because our marriage produced three daughters. Second, the assurances that Spizzirri “has never misrepresented herself,” that any such misrepresentations are simply “errors,” and that she has been “mistakenly referenced as being a Registered Nurse” are ludicrous. Claims that Spizzirri is a Registered Nurse and that she obtained a BS degree in Nursing in 1979 from Mt. Scenario (sic) College appear in numerous documents originating from the Save-A-Life Foundation including: at least five of the corporation’s Annual Reports. The false claims have also been repeatedly published in numerous documents posted on SALF’s website including corporate board lists, multiple biographies of Spizzirri (including one submitted with SALF’s 2003 Citizen Corps application – see below), and promotional materials. 7 Further, Spizzirri has claimed to be a registered nurse in at least two articles she herself authored. One was published in 2002 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (which funded the Save-A-Life Foundation). The other article was published in a medical journal in 2003. The dubious credentials also appear under Spizzirri’s name as a participant in a catalog listing of a May 2005 conference held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on Spizzirri’s listing as a current faculty member at New York Medical College’s School of Public Health: 8
NYJournalNews_12-14-08_HealthChiefDenies.pdf GTP-affidavit_3-30-07.pdf 7 Spizzirri-SALF_RN-claims.pdf 8 SpizzirriArticles-CDC-NYMC.pdf
Carol J. Spizzirri, BSN Visiting Lecturer BSN, RN, Mt. Scenario (sic) College
According to "Health Chief Denies Troubled Foundation Link" by Marcela Rojas, The Journal News (NY), December 14, 2008:
Spizzirri also had claimed to be a registered nurse and to have a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, according to the ABC report, archived SALF Web site pages and the credentials listed on the New York Medical College Web site. On the college's Web site, Spizzirri is listed as having an RN and BSN from Mt. Scenario College. The correct spelling of the school is Mount Senario College, officials said. Spizzirri did enroll in some courses at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wis., in 1986, but there is no record of her receiving a degree, said Jerry Huffman, director of communications for the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Mount Senario closed in 2002. Spizzirri has never been registered as a nurse in either Wisconsin or Illinois, according to the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
Given all these examples, it’s unclear why false information was submitted to FEMA by DiCianni in the SALF statement that accompanied his February 22, 2007 letter to DiGregorio. On March 28, 2007, DiGregorio sent a follow-up letter to SALF. Here’s the complete text:
Dear Ms. Spizzirri: Thank you for your February 28,2007, response to the Department of Homeland Security (Department) which requested information regarding the allegations reported by the Chicago ABC local station in November, 2006. There are still a few questions remaining which require clarification as they impact your Affiliate relationship with the Department: Nursing credentials: Your (February 28, 2007) response states that errors have been corrected regarding your claim that you hold nursing credentials. The biography submitted by you in November, 2003, which accompanied the Save A Life (SALF) Affiliate application package stated that you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mt Scenario College, Wisconsin, and that you are a registered nurse. This claim is disputed by media reports. The Department requests clarification as to your educational and professional status. That is, do you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution, and are you or have you been a Registered Nurse? If not why did you claim such credentials in your biography? National Prevailing Guidelines: The Department recognizes that the issues surrounding the development of prevailing guidelines are complex. We have made a preliminary
inquiry to the American Red Cross (ARC) regarding their current protocols and to the United States Fire Administration (USFA) staff who follow the development of these national standards. The first aid protocol for a conscious choking adult or child in the American Red Cross 2005 Guidelines for Emergency Care and Education is five back blows followed by five abdominal thrusts. The specific instructions are "Lean the person forward and give five back blows with the heel of your hand. (Next) Give 5 quick upward abdominal thrusts." Additional information from the ARC indicates that this protocol is consistent with protocols outlined by other international organizations based on the 2005 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Science with Treatment Recommendations (CoSTR) representing the scientific consensus of experts from a variety of countries, cultures, and disciplines. The USFA indicates that the national Emergency Medical Services (EMS) guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Emergency Medical Services (NHTSA-EMS) division references current ARC and/or American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines when conducting EMS training courses. As you know, NHTSA-EMS is responsible for the national guidelines for EMS training and has been adopted by most State EMS training programs. USFA advises that since indications are that both the ARC and AHA are adopting the "five and five" procedure, the prevailing guideline will become the five-and-five procedure The Department's Office for Community Preparedness is also following up with AHA regarding their current guidelines and plans for updates to those guidelines. In your response you state that SALF programs "will be based upon the same national prevailing guidelines…and when or if these national prevailing guidelines change, toe organization will review and consider such changes." If the guidelines of ARC, AHA and/or NHTSA-EMS change as expected to the "five-and-five procedure," does SALF intend to change its organization's curriculum to comply with the new standards? Training Presence: You indicated in your response that more than 1.6 million children participated in SALF programs. The Department requests a summary of the States where these children received the training. As you may recall during initial conversations in November 2003 between SALF and FEMA, there was concern that SALF had a limited, regional reach. The Department requests documentation to demonstrate that SALF has grown into a national presence that offers life supporting first aid training to at least 50 percent of the States. We would appreciate your assistance in responding to these inquiries in a timely manner Please forward your response to Mr. Alan Fisher, Senior Attorney, Office of Grants & Training no later than April 30, 2007.
A copy of DiGregorio’s March 28, 2007 letter and the Spizzirri biography referenced in the letter may be found on the enclosed CD-ROM. 9 The biography states:
Carol J. Spizzirri, BSN, RN, Mt. Scenario (sic) College, Wisconsin, mother of three daughters, President/Founder of the Save A Life Foundation, a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization whose mission is to train and develop "Bystanders" as volunteers equipped with life supporting skills to aid in an emergency. Despite a medical career, Carol pursued the need for change in pre-emergency training shortly after the
death of her 18 year old daughter, Christina Jean on Labor Day, in 1992, as a result of police officers not being trained how to render aid prior to EMS arrival.
Along with the nursing credential and education concerns, the preceding paragraph contains other false claims. Contrary to the suggestion that Spizzirri was pursuing a medical career, to my knowledge the only medical-related job she ever held was reported by ABC7:
Officials at the Milwaukee hospital (Froedert Memorial) where she claims to have been a transplant nurse say she had a paid job for a couple of years, as a patient care assistant akin to a candy striper.
According to a January 16, 1995 Chicago Tribune profile of Spizzirri, 10 at the time she founded the Save-A-Life Foundation, she was not working in the medical profession, but as an administrator at an elementary school district in Woodland, IL. Since the broadcast of the ABC7 report, numerous pages on the Save-A-Life Foundation’s website which included claims about Spizzirri’s nursing credentials and college degree have been removed and a March 27, 2003 letter from the late Dr. Peter Safar to Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania appears to have been altered. In his letter, Dr. Safar encouraged Gov. Rendell to lend his support to SALF. A copy of the original two-page letter is available on SALF’s website via Archive.org (a/k/a the "Internet Wayback Machine") at this URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20030811074626/www.salf.org/endorsements/index.asp On the first page of the letter, Dr. Safar wrote:
The SALF was initiated in Chicago by Carol Spizzirri, R.N. in 1993….
Page two of Dr. Safar’s letter has a cc: list that includes “Carol Spizzirri, R.N.” SALF’s website now includes a different version of the same letter: http://www.salf.org/our_foundation/endorsements/documents/3-272003_safar_letter_to_pa.pdf On the first page, the “R.N.” after Spizzirri’s name is missing and the second page with cc: list is simply not included. 11 Regarding the death of her daughter, Spizzirri and the Save-A-Life Foundation have repeatedly made claims similar to the following appeal published in the organization’s 2002 Annual Report and numerous other documents originating from SALF: 12
Dear Friends, On Labor Day, 1992, my daughter Christina was involved in a hit and run automobile accident and suffered serious injuries to her arm. The first people on the scene were local
ChiTrib_2-7-95+1-16-95.pdf Safar-letters_3-27-03_original+altered.pdf 12 Hit+Run-Bled2DeathClaims.pdf
police officers that made the fatal decision to wait for the emergency medical service (EMS), instead of rendering basic first aid. Despite her injuries, she may have survived had care been given immediately. Instead, Christina bled to death before professional help arrived. I discovered shortly afterwards, that those police officers had never been trained in life saving skills, and had previously been discouraged by their supervisor from rendering care to anyone in fear of liability. I later discovered, that firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers, school teachers, coaches and other public servants to whom we entrust our lives and the safety of our children, are also not required to know the most basic of life saving skills. I wanted to prevent this needless tragedy from happening I wanted to prevent this needless tragedy from happening to others and channeled my grief to establishing the Save A Life Foundation (SALF).
Most of these claims about the death of Spizzirri’s daughter Christina Pratt are false and easily disproved. I am intimately familiar with the facts because I am Christina’s father. Claims that my daughter died in a hit-and-run accident, that she bled to death, and that bystander first aid might have saved her life are refuted by all official documentation. According to a report in the September 8, 1992 Waukegan News-Sun, 13 the accident was a single car rollover in which Christina lost control of the vehicle. Reportedly her blood alcohol level was “nearly two times the level of legal intoxication.” A Park City (IL) Police report dated September 7, 1992 confirms these facts and describes the condition of my daughter’s body:
Reporting officer proceeded to the Emergency Room and spoke to the Physician on Duty, Dr, SANDS, Dr, SANDS stated it appeared PRATT had died of Extreme Internal and Head Trauma coupled with extensive blood loss, Reporting officer learned the Lake County Coroner's Office was advised by the Emergency Room staff. Chief Deputy Coroner WHIPPER* arrived and reporting officer went over the facts of the accident known thus far. PRATT's body was turned over to WHIPPER. WHIPPER and reporting officer spoke again to Dr. SANDS and learned PRATT's Blood Alcohol Concentration, upon arrival to the hospital, was .176%. We then viewed the body and reporting officer noted the following abnormalities; the left arm was almost completely severed at the shoulder, extensive abrasions and avultions (sic) on the left elbow area, extensive bleeding from both ears.
These facts are confirmed along with more details in the transcript of an October 29, 1992 inquest held by the office of the Lake County Coroner at which I gave sworn testimony. Here is the verdict of the jury at the inquest:
We, the undersigned Jurors, sworn to inquire into the death of Christina Jean Pratt, on oath, do find that she came to her death on September 7th, 1992, at 1:57 a.m. at St. Therese Medical Center Emergency Roam, Waukegan, in Lake County, Illinois. We find that her death was due to multiple traumatic injuries due to blunt force trauma which was a result of a single-vehicle roll-over that occurred on September 7th, 1992, at 12:45 a.m. on Route 43 at intersection with Route 41 in Park City, Lake County, Illinois.
In a subsequent series of letters, Spizzirri attempted to persuade the Lake County Coroner’s office to alter the jury’s findings. From a June 30, 1995 letter on Save-A-Life Foundation letterhead from Spizzirri to then-Coroner Barbara Richardson: 14
I sincerely hope for an immediate public apology by yourself in form of a press release forwarded to all major newspapers, pointing out your department's errors of the decision of Christina's death. I expect that Christina's inquest report be changed immediately.
From Richardson’s July 25, 1995 reply:
In response to your June 30, 1995 letters with demands, I would add that I did not file an inaccurate inquest and death report. The inquest was accurate as documented by the transcript of the proceedings and the sworn testimony of witnesses. I have no authority under law to change one word of an inquest transcript, nor change the findings of the jury, nor change the death certificate.
Even after this exchange, Spizzirri and the Save-A-Life Foundation continued to misrepresent the facts in numerous documents. For example, from a letter signed by Carol Spizzirri published in the Chicago Sun-Times on March 11, 1998: 15
In 1992, my daughter (Christina) was the victim of a hit-and-run driver. Police at the scene could have controlled her bleeding with simple pressure. But none of them was trained. As a result, my daughter died. A doctor later told me that a Boy Scout who knew simple first aid could have saved her life.
From the Save-A-Life Foundation’s 2006-2007 Annual Report: 16
The Save A Life Foundation (SALF), a not-for-profit Foundation, was founded in 1993 by Carol J. Spizzirri, RN, after her 18 year old daughter, Christina Jean Spizzirri, bled to death following a hit and run incident on Labor Day, 1992.
Shortly after the Save-A-Life Foundation was founded in 1993, I became aware that the organization was circulating false claims about my daughter’s death. Since then I have brought the facts to the attention of government agencies that have affiliated with the Save-A-Life Foundation just as I am now providing this information to you. Because
Spizzirri-Richardson_letters1995.pdf * Correct spelling: Wipper 15 SunTimes_3-11-98_Spizzirri-HitRun.pdf 16 SALF-20062007AnnualReport
SALF has obtained millions of dollars in both federal and state funds, this is clearly a matter of public interest. I hope your agency will review the materials with that in mind. I also would appreciate receiving your answers to the following questions: 1) The biography of Carol J. Spizzirri that was submitted with the Save-A-Life Foundation’s Citizen Corps application in 2003 - referenced in the March 28, 2007 letter from FEMA’s Elizabeth DiGregorio - includes the following claim:
To date SALF has trained well over 600,000 Illinois children, including Chicago Public Schools and has expanded to national proportions through Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control line-items.
Further, as noted in DiGregorio’s March 28, 2007 letter to Spizzirri, SALF submitted the following information to DHS:
Since its founding in 1993, more than 1.643 million children have participated in SALF programs….
However, in the ABC7 report, questions were raised about the numbers of students SALF claims to have trained:
(Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne) Duncan says it seems unlikely that Carol Spizzirri's organization could have taught the number of students they claim, and it's not free to the taxpayers, who give Save-A-Life more than $1 million a year through the Homeland Security department, Centers For Disease Control and the State of Illinois.
Given the doubts expressed by Duncan (now US Secretary of Education), are you satisfied that the numbers of trained students that SALF has submitted to DHS are accurate? 2) According to correspondence obtained via FOIA, Carol Spizzirri and two other SALF employees met with then-DHS Under Secretary George Foresman on February 15, 2006. An e-mail sent that day by Elizabeth DiGregorio described the purpose of the meeting: 17
Essentially, they used the time to inform GF about their program and to let him know that they are pursing an "earmark" in our budget. They are working with Sen. Norm Coleman MN to do so. They are requesting 10M to advance the Save a Life program nationwide.
At the time of the February 15, 2006 earmark request meeting, presumably DiGregorio and Under Secretary Foresman were under the impression that Spizzirri was a Registered Nurse and had a BSN degree. A year later, DiGregorio’s March 28, 2007 letter to Spizzirri included:
Nursing credentials: Your (February 28, 2007) response states that errors have been corrected regarding your claim that you hold nursing credentials. The biography
submitted by you in November, 2003, which accompanied the Save A Life (SALF) Affiliate application package stated that you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mt. Scenario College, Wisconsin, and that you are a registered nurse. This claim is disputed by media reports. The Department requests clarification as to your educational and professional status. That is, do you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution, and are you or have you been a Registered Nurse? If not why did you claim such credentials in your biography?
Would you please advise if Spizzirri provided adequate supporting documentation regarding her educational and professional status? 3) According to a September 4, 2007 press release published on SALF’s website (my highlighting): 18
Save A Life Foundation (SALF) hosted the first “Coalition of the Caring” forum on Saturday, September 1, at Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood (IL). Community leaders and stakeholders discussed issues of safety and preparedness in our neighborhoods and schools, and vowed to work together to find solutions to the growing problems of violence, especially affecting school children. SALF Director of Operations, Vince Davis announced the passage of the organization’s Community Response System Initiative, or “CRSI ACT” within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that is expected to provide a program to train children in cities and towns across the nation in Life Sustaining First Aid Skills. Illinois Homeland Security Director of Public Safety Col. Jill Morgenthaler accepted the “CRSI Award” for her efforts in support of the initiative.
Would you please provide me with copies of the CRSI ACT that, according to this press release, was passed by DHS? Also, this Maywood forum took place about a year after the November 16-17, 2006 ABC7 reports. Would you please provide me with a more detailed explanation of Col. Morgenthaler’s role in support of the CRSI Act initiative? 4) From DiGregorio’s February 12, 2007 letter to Spizzirri:
(Some) of your recent publications have featured the DHS seal. Permission for non-DHS entities to use the seal must come from the Secretary for Homeland Security. Absent such permission, please ensure that future SALF publications do not employ the DHS seal.
At this writing, every page on SALF’s website is framed by a border that features the DHS seal. Also, the cover of SALF’s 2007-2008 Annual Report features the DHS seal. The seal is also published on an inside page which lists SALF’s “partners.” 19 Did your office provide a letter to SALF permitting them to use the DHS seal? If so, would you please provide me with a copy?
5) According to Internal Revenue Service records, Douglas R. Browne has been SALF’s Treasurer since 2004. Browne also works as a Deputy Director at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta. According to the June 28, 2002 Federal Register, he was a grants Project Officer at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the same CDC division which, according to the Federal Register and other government records, has provided approximately $3 million in funding to SALF. 20 Since SALF is a DHS member organization, will your agency review the matter in order to determine if this represents a conflict of interest? Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply. Sincerely,
Gordon T. Pratt PO Box 18121 Milwaukee, WI 53218 Ph: (707)667-1746 e-mail: email@example.com
cc: Department of Homeland Security Richard L. Skinner, Inspector General Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Chair Sen. Susan M. Collins, Ranking Member House Committee on Homeland Security Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chair Rep. Peter T. King, Ranking Member WI Senators and my Congressional representative Sen. Russell D. Feingold Sen. Herb Kohl Rep. Paul Ryan
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