Elton John AIDS Foundation representatives were expressing gratitude to WSB-TV Action News reporter Tom Regan Tuesday after his investigative report exposed an alleged local thief using the pop star’s name.
Regan’s highly promoted sweeps piece aired on multiple newscasts Monday and Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, with the state of the economy, we’re probably going to see more of this kind of fraud,” Elton John AIDS Foundation Atlanta board member Barron Segar said Tuesday.
Segar said he was especially dismayed that good-hearted Atlantans were victimized by someone using Sir Elton’s name who traded on the Atlanta-born charity’s stellar reputation to acquire baked goods and furnace repair work.
Regan reported that an arrest warrant had been issued for the alleged scammer, identified by WSB as James Sanders.
Segar says that the EJAF has an in-depth grant-writing and fund-raising process and only works with painstakingly selected AIDS non-profits.
For Segar, the fraud became apparent when Regan’s report played back a phone call from an alleged EJAF worker ringing a bakery and ordering up pricey pastries while pretending Peachtree Road’s most famous resident was on the other line.
Referencing Sir Elton’s lavish and generous spending habits, Segar said: “If someone is on the phone, asking for free cakes and tells you Elton is on the other line, you should immediately dial 911.”
Still, since the EJAF does so much legitimate fund-raising in the singer’s adopted U.S. hometown, if you’re unsure about a request, Segar suggests going to ejaf.org and e-mailing an official rep or phoning the foundation.
Henri’s Bakery owner Suzette Dinardo, who ended up eating $1,600 in lost cake revenue through the scam, can expect a small token of Sir Elton’s appreciation.
Segar told us the EJAF plans to treat Dinardo to two of the performer’s house seats for his “Billy Elliot” musical on Broadway, complimentary AirTran tickets and an autographed CD.
Tweet of the Day
“Air Force One over NYC? Would someone tell the Pentagon about Photoshop? Much cheaper, and people don’t run around yelling and screaming.” — Syndicated Atlanta yakker Neal Boortz on Twitter, commenting on Monday’s ill-conceived Air Force One photo op in lower Manhattan.
Selections from “The Late Show With David Letterman’s” “Top 10 Things That Went Through Matthew Stafford’s Head On Draft Day” list as read by the brand-new number one Detroit Lion draft pick and former Georgia Bulldog:
1. “You don’t often hear, ‘congratulations, you’re going to Detroit.’ ”
2. “If the Lions win one game this year, I’m a hero.”
3. “I didn’t think anything could top the excitement of [MTV reality stars] Heidi [Montag] and Spencer [Pratt's] wedding.”
4. “Why am I here when I could be at that movie where Beyonce and that babe fight?”
5. “Why does Jessica Simpson keep calling me?”
— Source: Worldwide Pants/CBS
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is 55. Actress Kate Mulgrew (”Star Trek: Voyager”) is 54. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis is 52. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is 51. Actress Eve Plumb (”The Brady Bunch”) is 51. Actress Uma Thurman is 39. Rapper Master P is 39.
Contributing: News services.
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