Police confirmed they are investigating a Philadelphia sportscaster after questions surfaced about his charity and Eagles tickets promised to people who made donations.
Warminster Police, along with the Bucks County District Attorney's Office and the State Bureau of Corporations & Charitable Organizations are investigating Don Tollefson.
Tollefson, who was a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and 2012, has done fundraising for disadvantaged children for over a decade. During his fundraising, Tollefson often auctioned off Eagles tickets, never receiving public complaints from anyone.
That changed in January however. Anthony Taormina, a manager for an East Norriton bowling alley, claimed he bought six ticket packages for Eagles away games for about $4500 at Tollefson’s Wounded Warriors fundraiser.
“I figured the money was going toward the charity,” he said. “I was going to get two nights at a hotel, two tickets to the game and airfare for two people to go.”
Taormina says he never received the tickets however.
Micki Keane also says she bought tickets at the same event.
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“We thought it was a great opportunity for the wounded warrior,” she said. “I have a nephew in Afghanistan.”
Keane claims tickets never materialized however, even after she sent an angry email to Tollefson claiming he “did not delay in charging $4500” to her credit card. Keane also says the money was charged to a different charity, “Winning Ways Education,” instead of “Wounded Warriors.”
“He did eventually call me back and said he was sorry,” Keane said. “He said because of the change in leadership at the Eagles there were some issues. But he said he would take care of it.”
Another person, Mark Sandor, says he met Tollefson in July at a Wounded Warriors charity event in Avalon, New Jersey. Sandor says he paid $1800 in a silent auction to get 2014 season tickets for the Eagles.
Sandor claims his credit card was charged two days later but after several back and forth emails with Tollefson, there were red flags that something was wrong.
"The receipt here is for Winning Ways but the donation's coordinator is One Child Saved," Sandor said. "I don't necessarily know what that is because the whole event was Wounded Warriors. It almost leaves me speechless. We all trusted him."
Lou Berman, president of Louie's Voice, an organization raising awareness on autism, says he and a fellow board member bought tickets to the British Open and the US Open for 2014 at an event Tollefson was emceeing. After paying $4500, Berman claims they received nothing.
"We received no receipt, itinerary, travel arrangements, confirmation, not even a thank you card," Berman wrote in a released statement. "One of these trips we were going to raffle to raise money for our new foundation “Louie’s Voice” that provides assistance to children and families that suffer from Autism. Our toy drive will likely be cancelled this year as we don’t have the funds to put on the event, because we were hoping to auction the trip to raise money. We are devastated that this has happened to us. So many children who suffer from autism will be disappointed."
Eagles management received several calls in relation to Tollefson.
“We have spoken with Don Tollefson and have expressed our concerns about this situation,” said an Eagles spokesperson. “To be clear, the Philadelphia Eagles do not have any affiliation with Mr. Tollefson and he was not authorized to use our trademarked logo.”
NBC10 tried to reach Tollefson for comment. He has not yet gotten back to us however. On Friday, Tollefson denied the allegations against him while speaking to the Times Herald.
“The trips weren’t held up to the standard they had been before,” he told the paper. “I made a personal decision not to do them this year. “
Tollefson also served as the emcee for the Officer Brad Fox Foundation 5K Run in Warminster last April. The foundation’s Facebook page posted a message claiming Tollefson promised half the proceeds from selling ticket packages would go to the foundation. However, the latest posting states, “We want to note we have not received any donations from Don Tollefson.”
Barbara Terra says she spent $500 on a deal Tollefson offered during the event to go to an Eagles game in Denver.
"Nicest guy in the world when you talk to him," she said. "But he's a flat out liar. He continually kept saying he'd get back to me and that he'd have it by Wednesday night at 10 o'clock. I emailed him to let him know I was still waiting on my husband's information. And then Thursday we heard the trip was off."
State officials also say none of the five charities Tollefson was associated with are registered. If a charity collects less than $25,000 a year, registration is not required.
No charges have been filed. The Warminster Police Chief says their investigation of Tollefson is "preliminary." The chief is also encouraging anyone with a complaint against Tollefson to contact Warminster Police.
As the police investigation continues, Keane says she just wants her money back.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” Keane said. “But, refund our money.”