by Kate Knable
Posted 5/7/2012 12:00 am
Updated 3 years ago
Past sponsors of Craws for a Cause, including Little Rock’s KABZ-FM, 103.7, KKPT-FM, 94.1, KATV-TV, Channel 7, and the weekly publication Sync, have cut ties with the annual charity fundraiser since its status as a nonprofit organization and its spending came into question.
The organizer, Scotty Adams, markets the crawfish boil as a fundraiser to benefit medical programs for premature babies. Adams held the fifth annual Craws for a Cause on April 28 and promised to donate $10,000 to the March of Dimes.
Jason Pederson, consumer reporter for KATV, investigated the fundraiser after KATV General Manager Mark Rose spoke with Adams about renewing KATV’s sponsorship of the event.
Pederson reported on the air that Craws was not truly a state-registered nonprofit organization, as Adams had claimed, and also that Adams “overstated the success” of the fundraiser and its donations.
“It’s really our duty and our responsibility reporting it,” KATV News Director Nick Genty said. “We have information that pertains to a lot of people and a large amount of money that’s not being used the way it’s being said it’s being used. To sit on that is against what we do.”
Pederson told Outtakes that Adams claimed to have raised $72,000 to buy special beds for the neonatal intensive care unit at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, when he hadn’t purchased beds and had donated a much smaller sum than the beds cost, $20,000 over two years.
Adams also apparently fabricated large expenditures on Craws’ expense reports, according to Pederson.
Steve Jonsson, general manager of KKPT owner Signal Media, said the radio station stopped promoting Craws last week.
“We felt that events that were out of our control could affect the reputation of our company,” Jonsson said.
Mark Lowman, spokesman for Baptist Health, did not explain why the hospital that had been the recipient of past Craws’ donations was no longer associated with the event.
“We didn’t agree to have him sponsor us this year,” Lowman said. “We’re just not participating.”
Adams did not return a call seeking comment. However, the following message, apparently from him, was posted to the Craws Facebook website Tuesday: “Thanks for all the overwhelming support Craws for a Cause received over the past week in light of one local TV station’s negative smear campaign. I certainly have made some unintentional book keeping [sic] errors.”