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Sullivan Office of the Inspector General Chicago Public Schools 850 West Jackson Boulevard, suite 500 Chicago, Illinois 60607 Dear Inspector General Sullivan: This is to request that you review and determine whether monies paid by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to vendor no. 30817, the Save A Life Foundation Inc. (SALF), were properly administered, and that you review and determine the veracity of claims made by SALF in order to advance their organization as a CPS vendor and to obtain CPS funding. In the event that your review identifies violations, this is to request that you take appropriate administrative action. This is also to request that your review and findings be made available for public inspection. I. Chicago Public Schools monies paid to the Save A Life Foundation Inc. According to CPS records, from 2000 through 2007 CPS paid $61,855 to SALF to provide inschool first aid training classes to many thousands of students. In response to a 2009 federal court subpoena and subsequent FOIA requests for any and all SALF training records, the Chicago Board of Education and CPS produced the following documents: a May 26, 1999 School Board resolution; 22 invoices with corresponding purchase orders dated from 2000-2007; an August 5, 2005 letter to Schools CEO Arne Duncan from SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri accompanying a six-page grant application; and a December 8, 2005 letter from Mr. Duncan to Ms. Spizzirri approving the grant request. 1 This paucity of records, combined with the concerns discussed below, raises legitimate questions regarding whether or not SALF fulfilled the obligations contracted by and paid for by CPS. Of particular interest is $49,000 which constitutes the lion’s share of the $61,855 total. The $49,000 was paid to SALF by CPS in two installments of $24,500 as part of a two-year matching grants program with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). According to the following records, SALF contracted to provide first aid training to 18,000 students: 8000 in school year 2004/05 and 10,000 in school year 2005/06. CPS has failed to produce any records that verify that such training took place. Re: the 2004/05 school year, “Ronald McDonald House Charities Awards SALF Grant,” an October 14, 2004 SALF press release states (my emphasis): On June 22, Save A Life Foundation (SALF) was awarded a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chapter and Chicago Public Schools totaling $75,000. The grant will allow SALF to training (sic) nearly 8,000 4th and 5th grade children in the Chicagoland area.
Re: the 2005/06 school year, according to an August 5, 2005 letter from SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri to Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan that accompanied by a six-page grant request: 2 We are pleased to submit this funding request to Chicago Board of education (sic) for the amount of $25,000. Out of the eighty Chicago Public Schools we were in last year, we anticipate an eighty-five percent request for additional training to other grade levels…We are excited about maintaining our partnership between Chicago's Board of Education and Ronald McDonald House Charities. From the grant request (my emphasis): The Save A Life Foundation is requesting the financial assistance for its on-going work to provide professional training of life-support first aid skills for 10,000 grade children within the Chicago Public Schools…The total cost of this project will be $100,000 of which SALF requests $37,500 RMHC $37,500 Global $37,500 and $25,000 from the Chicago Public Schools. 3 …3. Training will be scheduled between school and a SALF staff person. The Instructors will report to the principal's office 30 minutes prior to training time, to announce his or her arrival and proceed to the first class for training. 4. Instructors will give each student a program book, and review each step of instruction followed by hands on practice application of each skill and when applicable use a mannequin until the student feels comfortable in their own performance. 5. An examination will be given immediately following the class, (average class size 30), with each student placing their answers on a Scantron card. Instructor will collect these cards and the classroom teacher completes the Class Evaluation Sheet. Evaluation Sheets and cards are entered into a data web base system and complied (sic) by the number of questions answered correctly, school, teacher comments and Instructor. Data and Recap reports will be available 60 days after the end of this project. In a December 8, 2005 letter to Ms. Spizzirri in which he approved the program, Mr. Duncan confirmed this understanding and agreed to a payment $500 less than the requested $25,000 (my emphasis): 4 It is very encouraging to learn that 10,000 grade school students will be trained during the 2005-06 school year. Please send me a listing of the schools who will be participating in the training program this year…As a result of our meeting, I have authorized payment in the amount of $24,500 to fund your program during the 2005-06 school year. Our contribution will complement the funding you have received from Ronald McDonald House Charities. We will process your invoice for $20,000 now and will disburse the remaining $4,500 upon receipt of a second invoice in January for the second semester of training. To review, based on the above records, SALF was contracted to provide first aid training to 18,000 students in school years 2004/05 and 2005/06 for which CPS paid SALF $49,000 in two increments of $24,500. According to SALF’s grant request, the average class size was to be 30 students; therefore their organization contracted to conduct approximately 600 classes (18,000 ÷ by 30 = 600) during the two school years.
http://www.mediafire.com/?vi5opuriu33ygwt The total of these amounts is not $100,000 as written, but $137,500. 4 http://www.mediafire.com/?3ivi3o3o9rq4c2f
These are the three SALF invoices approved by Mr. Duncan and the corresponding purchase orders/payments: 5 $24,500 Invoice 1440/Purchase Order 728526, March 24, 2004 $20,000 Invoice 1695/Purchase Order 1020444, September 6, 2005 $ 4,500 Invoice 1706/ Purchase Order 1025089, September 28, 2005 $49,000 Since SALF had been paid $24,500 in September 2005 for the 2005/06 program, it’s unclear why, in his December 8, 2005 letter to Ms. Spizzirri, Mr. Duncan stated that those payments were to be processed in December 2005 and January 2006. Also unclear is why this description for services from the above three invoices is completely different than the contractual agreement discussed earlier: Commitment from Chicago Public Schools for training elementary school students in life supporting first aid skills which will take place in approximately 15 schools with approximately 2400 students. Does this mean SALF would train a total of 2400 students per year (a total of 4,800 students over two school years) or would train 2400 students at 15 schools per school year (a total of 72,000 students, that is, 2400 students x 15 schools x 2 school years)? Regardless, neither version corresponds to the information in SALF’s 2004 press release which claimed the first-year CPS grant was provided to train 8,000 students or to the 2005/06 agreement approved by Mr. Duncan which stated that the second-year grant was provided to train 10,000 students. Given this discrepancy and that CPS is unable to locate any substantive records demonstrating that the classes took place, this is to request that you attempt to locate the following records for the 2004/05 and 2005/06 school years: 1. A list of the dates and school names where SALF conducted first aid training classes; the names of all SALF instructors who conducted the classes; the names of all principals and teachers who were aware of and/or participated in the classes. 2. The materials described in SALF’s grant request and paid for by CPS including: a copy of the program book; records indicating how many students received a copy of the book; the Scantron cards, Class Evaluation Sheets, and the Data and Recap reports. This is also to request that you attempt to contact Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and request that they provide you with any relevant records. (See attached Appendix B.) This is also to request that you review and determine if the other $12,866 CPS paid to SALF ($61,855 minus $49,000) was properly administered. II. Claims made to CPS by SALF A. A video of a 1999 presentation to the Chicago Board of Education by SALF executives Carol J. Spizzirri and Carlos M. Azcoitia to advance their organization as a CPS vendor may be viewed at this Internet address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc1g5HuJ9Wo
From the video: (Timestamp 1:20) Carol J. Spizzirri: “We've trained over 5,000 children since October in schools throughout the city.” (Timestamp 7:35) Board of Education president Gery Chico: “How many schools have you said that you've been in with this program?” Spizzirri: “I think we've been in a dozen we've completed.” This is to request that you determine if Ms. Spizzirri’s claims were accurate and, if so, to provide the names of the schools and the dates in which the training took place. B. In her August 5, 2005 letter to Arne Duncan that accompanied SALF’s grant request, Ms. Spizzirri wrote (my emphasis): Out of the eighty Chicago Public Schools we were in last year, we anticipate an eightyfive percent request for additional training to other grade levels. This is to request that you determine if Ms. Spizzirri’s statement was accurate and, if so, to provide the names of the eighty schools in which SALF provided training classes for the 2004/05 school year and the dates the training took place. C. This is to request that you determine if this information in SALF’s August 2005 grant request submitted to Mr. Duncan is accurate: Save A Life Foundation was established in 1993 in the aftermath of a fatal motor vehicle crash involving Christina Jean Spizzirri who bled to death because first responders were not equipped with basic skills to maintain her life until professional help arrived. The above paragraph is contradicted by the following material in the February 7, 1995 Chicago Tribune, published ten years prior to SALF’s grant request to CPS: Corrections and clarifications. A story (by reporter Julie Deardorff) in the Jan. 16 Tempo section about the crusade of Carol Spizzirri of Grayslake to require police, firefighters, teachers, public-safety workers and emergency dispatchers to be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation contained some errors because it did not include details of official documents concerning the case that precipitated her campaign. Spizzirri told the Tribune that her daughter, Christina Pratt, 18, had bled to death on a Lake County highway following a traffic accident in which the girl's arm was severed. According to a coroner's inquest, however, Spizzirri's daughter died in a hospital, more than an hour after the accident, of multiple traumatic injuries, including a depressed skull fracture in the back of her head. Also, according to Chief Deputy Coroner James Wipper, her arm was not severed in the accident, although Spizzirri maintains that it was. The story also said that the first police officers at the scene of the accident "balked" at administering first aid, implying that they should have administered it, and that "basic first aid might have saved her life." In fact, the officers are not trained, certified or required to perform first aid, and given the official cause of death, it is unlikely that basic first aid would have saved her. The Tribune regrets the error.
III. SALF training claims made by the Chicago School Board This is to request that you verify the accuracy of the following claims in a May 26, 1999 Chicago School Board Resolution signed by president Gery J. Chico, CEO Paul G. Vallas, and Secretary Sharon M. Revello: (The Save A Life Foundation) has trained 35,000 statement (sic; presumably “35,000 students”) in 1998, including 10.000 Chicago children and 23,000 more students who are schedule to complete the Save a Life Training by April 1999. IV. Other Materials This is to request that you also include these materials in your review: Appendix A - Selected media reports about the Save A Life Foundation. Appendix B - From public records, the names and addresses of members of the Save A Life Foundation’s 2009 executive board; the address of former Save A Life Foundation director Carlos M. Azcoitia; the names and addresses of senior executives at Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana; and contact information for Saquan Gholar who, according to CPS records, was SALF’s “Education Training Coordinator” for CPS. Appendix C - November 8, 2010 letter from the office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding “potential misconduct on the part of Douglas Browne, an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)” and “Browne's outside activities with the Save-A-Life-Foundation.” Thank you for your consideration and I would appreciate a reply providing me with some indication how you intend to proceed. Sincerely,
Peter M. Heimlich 3630 River Hollow Run Duluth, GA 30096 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ph: (208)474-7283
APPENDIX A: SELECTED MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT THE SAVE A LIFE FOUNDATION 11/16+17/10: The Maneuver Parts I + II by Chuck Goudie, ABC7 Chicago 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 I-Team 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. …"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…. 10/11/09: Save-A-Life Foundation in limbo - Charity dogged by critics, economy is 'in hibernation' by Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune Spizzirri launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children emergency response techniques, raising at least $8.6 million in federal and state grants for her Save-A-Life Foundation. Firefighters and paramedics were recruited to offer instruction on how to apply CPR and stop bleeding and choking, said Spizzirri, who estimates 2 million children took the classes, many of them from the Chicago Public Schools… Much of the foundation's work, Spizzirri said, focused on Chicago's public schools. City school officials did not respond to inquiries about how many students received emergency training, but officials previously confirmed that the foundation taught classes that were arranged by individual schools. 9/29/10: The State Investigates the Save-A-Life Foundation, WSIU radio (NPR) 10/11/10: Democrat challenger tries to tie Shimkus to CDC funding controversy by Julian Pecquet, The Hill 10/19/10: Possible Charity Scam by Sophia Beausoleil, WCIA-TV, Champaign-Urbana IL According to the Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, the Save a Life Foundation (SALF) closed it's (sic) doors Sept., 2009. Whenever a non-profit shuts down, the state does an investigation, but over the summer the state received complaints and documents questioning the organizations handling of finances. A representative for the Attorney General's office said they are looking into the organizations charitable contributions and assets. 10/25/10: Local company snared in scandal - Candidate seeks to make public Portsmouth firm's financial records regarding partnership with Save-A-Life 'scam' by Elizabeth Dinan, Portsmouth Herald (New Hampshire) 11/17/10: Where Did the Save-A-Life Money Go? by Don Bauder, San Diego Reader (Save-A-Life founder/president) Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting… Arne Duncan, then the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, now United States Secretary of Education, had lauded what the foundation was doing for the schools and effused, “Carol [Spizzirri] is one of my heroes”.…The Chicago Tribune of January 16, 1995, ran a story of a mother, Carol Spizzirri, lamenting the death in an auto accident of her 18-year-old daughter, Christina, in 1992…But few, if any, seemed to have noticed that less than a month after that 1995 Tribune story appeared, the newspaper had retracted key points….On May 18, 1992 - four months before the fatal accident - Christina filed for an order of protection against her mother. A neighbor who lives four houses away was willing to be Christina’s primary caretaker. The complaint stated that Spizzirri had struck Christina “on several occasions and threatened her on many occasions.” The order of protection, granted the same month, barred Spizzirri from seeing her daughter at several locations such as school and work. Christina “fears her mother will attempt to harass her or retaliate,” said the complaint. Spizzirri asserted, among other things, that she could use “reasonable force to discipline a child” who needed medical attention.
Members of the executive board of the Save A Life Foundation Inc. (2009) PRESIDENT: Carol Jean Spizzirri 1930 W. San Marcos Blvd Space 285 San Marcos, CA 92078 SECRETARY: Rita Mullins 858 N. Virginia Lake Ct. Palatine, IL 60067 TREASURER: Douglas Browne 2851 Evans Woods Dr. Atlanta, GA 30340 DIRECTOR: John Donleavy 255 Spruce Lane Dorset, VT 05251 Carlos M. Azcoitia (SALF Director, 2000-02) National-Louis University 122 S. Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60603
SALF Education Training Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools Saquan Gholar Village of Phoenix Police Department 629 East 151st Street Phoenix, Illinois 60426
Ronald McDonald House Charities senior executives Martin J. Coyne, President and CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities 1 Kroc Dr. Oak Brook, IL 60523 Doug Porter, CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana 1900 Spring Road, #310 Oak Brook, IL 60523
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D E P A R T M E N T O f H E A L T H AND HUMAN SERVICES
Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations Special Investigations Branch 330 Independence Avenue, S,W. Washington, DC 20201
Timothy C. Bagwell 5872N.IL 130 Olney, IL 62450 RE: Complaint of Misconduct - Browne OIFile#:H10003784
Dear Mr. Bagwell: The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General (OlG), Office of Investigations (OI), Special Investigations Branch (SIB), is in receipt of your letter dated Odober 11, 2010. In your letter, you allege potential misconduct on the part of Douglas Browne, an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically you state that CDC may have improperly approved Browne's outside activities with the Save-A-Life-Foundation, and that Browne may have exceeded the scope of the approval which he received from CDC management. HHS/OIG/OI/SIB has reviewed the information you provided, and has determined that there is not enough information presented to warrant an investigation for potential violation of criminal statutes. HHS/OIG/OI/SIB has referred this matter to CDC for further review, and appropriate administrative action as this matter appears to be more appropriately addressed through CDC's administrative review process. Should you have any additional questions, please feel to contact Assistant Special Agent in Charge Scott A. Vantrease at (202) 619-1485.
Sincerely, Elton Malone Special Agent in Charge Special Investigations Branch