A fundraiser, claiming to benefit the families of two fallen Toledo firefighters, was cancelled Wednesday amid questions about its legitimacy.
The event was scheduled to take place on Saturday at the International Boxing Club (IBC) in Oregon. The cancellation was posted on its Facebook page.
"We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience regarding the Fallen Firefighters craft show scheduled for Saturday, March 22. The show was cancelled by event organizers," an administrator posted on the IBC's Facebook page.
A flyer for the fundraiser had claimed that proceeds from tables, raffles, a silent auction and food sales at the event would benefit the families of "Toledo's Two Fallen Heroes."
Earlier this year, Pvt. Stephen "Steve" Machcinski and Pvt. James "Jaime" Dickman were killed in the line of duty while putting out an apartment fire on Magnolia Street.
Pvt. Dickman left behind a wife and 2 young children; Pvt. Machcinski's family has asked all donations go to Dickman's family.
In the weeks leading up to the fundraiser, questions began to surface about the fundraiser's affiliation with the Toledo Fire Department and
Toledo Firefighters IAFF Local 92
A Temperance woman, who claimed that she had been working with the event's organizers to promote the event, contacted WNWO regarding her concerns.
"[Chris and Michelle Nastachowski] are telling everyone that this event is being endorsed by Local 92, that is a lie. I spoke with the president myself," Vicky Grochowski Chelchowski said in
a post on WNWO's Facebook page
After the event was cancelled, the Toledo Fire Department issued a Facebook comment regarding the fundraiser and others.
TFD's post said in part, "The Toledo Fire & Rescue Department does not sanction or endorse groups or individuals to raise donations on our behalf...Unfortunately, a tragedy such as this can also motivate those with less than honorable intentions."
WNWO has not been able to independently verify if the fundraiser's self-proclaimed organizers, Chris and Michelle Nastachowski, are being investigated for any wrong doing.
However, Toledo Free Press reporter
told Facebook friends that during his investigation of the fundraiser that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) had become involved.
It is unclear what role the BBB may have in the situation and was closed at the time WNWO reached out for comment.
WNWO was also unable to reach the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Toledo Police on Wednesday night for comment.
also posted to Facebook
, does appear to show that "The Fallen Firefighters Fund" has registered with the State of Ohio.
However, the Ohio Secretary of State's office was not open late Wednesday to confirm the authenticity of the certificate.
Chris Nastachowski, one of the event's organizers, also used social media to make clear that all of the fundraiser's donors would be refunded.
"We have people coming by tomorrow to pick up money and [we're] sending everyone money...in a cashiers check and money order [with] tracking to make sure they received it," Nastachowski comment said in part.