The man who planned a fundraiser to benefit the families of Toledo firefighters killed in January, explained his decision to cancel the event amid rumors of its legitimacy.
Point Place resident Chris Nastachowski organized a craft show fundraiser, creating a Facebook page for the event, which started to gain more than 50 followers. He said all proceeds would go to the families of Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, the two Toledo firefighters killed in January while battling a blaze in north Toledo.
"Every dime earned would be split down the middle, one check for the Machcinski family and one check for the Dickman family," Mr. Nastachowski said.
A document, also posted to Facebook, does appear to show that "The Fallen Firefighters Fund" has registered with the State of Ohio.
More than 120 vendors committed to participate in the fundraiser that was scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 22 at the International Boxing Club in Oregon.
However, Nastachowski posted a letter Wednesday on the Facebook page, canceling the event.
He explained in an interview with WNWO that disagreements about organizing funds contributed to his decision to cancel the event.
"The reason it it all came apart was there were a few people involved in setting this thing up who felt they needed to have their hands on the money and stuff," said Mr. Nastachowski.
Nastachowski chose to have an executive with a local bank serve as treasurer, a decision that rankled some of the co-organizers. The drama played out on social media throughout the week and Nastachoswki felt the negative publicity would affect attendance.
Captain Jeffrey Romstadt, the President of Local 92, told Nastachowski that the firefighters union would not endorse his event.
"He called and asked if he could have a fundraiser and tried to get some firefighters involved and I told him we were not going to endorse his particular craft show," Captain Romstadt said.
Capt. Romstadt said the union has placed an indefinite moratorium on firefighters participating in fundraisers. "Our firefighters need to heal," Capt. Romstadt said.
Capt. Romstadt advises people wishing to donate to the families of Pvts. Machcinski and Dickman to do so through the Toledo Fire and Rescue Foundation.
VIEW: Local stories on fallen firefighters