Kirsten Hamling allegedly stole $243K raised by Firefighter Calendar

Categories: Crime, News

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Big photos below.
Last November, the Denver District Attorney's Office announced an investigation based on allegations that Kirsten Hamling had diverted funds raised by the Colorado Firefighters Calendar, one of the city's highest profile charity endeavors. Now, six-plus months later, that inquiry has led to multiple theft and fraud counts against Hamling, supported by a massive affidavit on view below that's filled with damning accusations.

As we reported last year, Hamling founded Fired Up for Kids, whose primary product was the hunk-laden firefighter calendar; proceeds were earmarked for The Children's Hospital. But Hamling resigned amid reports that she'd diverted some of the cash into her personal account and questions about whether Fired Up For Kids had been granted nonprofit status. If it hadn't, donors might have been misinformed about whether or not their largesse was tax deductible.

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Photo by Amber Taufen
A photo from the calendar launch party in August.
"The nonprofit itself is not under investigation," DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough told us at the time. "It's the potential victim."

Now, the district attorney has put a dollar figure on that alleged victimization: $243,399.22. And the affidavit spells out how authorities believe it was collected.

The document notes that the first complaints about Hamling, submitted in September, came from Keely Rubis (Spencer), who helped run Fired Up For Kids under the auspices of Traction Communication, and Parry Palmer, a volunteer executive committee member. They shared with the district attorney a report completed by a forensic accountant, Charlotte J. Bell Cosgrove, whose summary acknowledges that the hospital collected a total of $170,389.47 from calendar sales from 2004 to 2010. However, that sum was considerably less than the total claimed by the Fired Up For Kids website, which boasted that it had raised $400,000 for the facility.

That wasn't the only dubious claim Cosgrove cites. She also notes that Fired Up For Kids always represented itself as a nonprofit corporation -- but former colleagues of Hamlin's alleged that while several applications for nonprofit status were prepared and submitted, the designation was denied.

The situation came to a head in late August, when employees of Traction are said to have confronted Hamling with evidence that some of the money raised for the hospital had wound up in her pocket. The summary says Hamling eventually "admitted to co-mingling funds from FUFK with her own and those of her corporation and promised to 'make it right with Children's.'"

That apparently didn't reassure the hospital, which sent Hamling a letter dated September 9 asking that its name not be used by Fired Up For Kids from that date forward and requested that independent third-party verification of the assorted events' financials.

Page down to continue reading about Kirsten Hamling's arrest, and to see the affidavit, photos and more.

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