LANSING, Mich. — Professional fundraisers for charities are closely paid attention to and regulated by the Attorney General. According to the state, professional fundraisers for charities have to be licensed but the Chicken Wing Festival was exempt because the charity it supports is so small.
Elizabeth Caffee says she and three friends went to Chicken Wing Fest on Saturday for a good time.
"It just wasn't set up. There was nothing to eat or drink available anywhere. We waited for a while so they could get set up and it just didn't get any better," said Caffee.
Caffee says they paid $80 in total, $20 each for admission and free chicken wing samples. But as time and samples never came, she says they asked for a refund.
"They told us that because it was for a charity event that they weren't going to refund any of it,” said Caffee. “I understand that it was for a charity but when we didn't receive anything that we were told we were going to receive, I started to feel a little bit like we were being ripped off."
But organizer Shirley Carter-Powell admits some of the vendors weren’t prepared but nobody was scammed.
"They're a little bit confused. I heard people saying I'm calling the Attorney General and you're illegal and scammers and all of this kind of language," said Carter-Powell.
She says she put her own money into the event and a portion of the proceeds benefit her non-profit Against All Odds Foundation.
"It's downright slander and it's mean and nasty,” said Carter-Powell. “I don't have to lie about anything I'm transparent."
The Attorney General’s office says her 501(c)(3) is exempt from a required fundraiser license because they received less than $25,000 a year in donations and have no paid employees.
"We don't meet the qualification,” said Carter-Powell. “You have to bring in the big dollars and unfortunately against all odds does not bring in the big dollars."
Carter-Powell says free wings samples were available, more than 4,000 guests attended over the weekend and people just didn't want to wait in line.
"I've been dissatisfied with businesses many times and it can usually be resolved amicably if everyone is just honest with each other and that's all I wanted," said Caffee.
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