KDKA Remains Silent About Beaver County Hometown Hero Award

KDKA Website screenshot / &copy CBS Pittsburgh

KDKA Website screenshot / &copy CBS Pittsburgh

KDKA removed a Beaver County resident from its list of Hometown Hero Award winners following an investigative report by the Beaver Countian in January, and is now ignoring questions about their honoree.

On January 16th KDKA announced that Beaver County resident Steven Wetzel had been selected as one of their five Hometown Hero award winners for 2014. Wetzel, director of the nonprofit Hero Program, was to be honored at a dinner on March 5th along with the other honorees. KDKA committed to giving a $1,000 to his organization.

Then on January 21st the Beaver Countian published several articles outlining the findings of an investigation it began last year into the Hero Program and its associated organizations. Those reports revealed that the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of the Hero Program’s parent charity, and raised serious questions about the organization’s practices and spending (See: “Investigative Report: IRS Revokes Hero Program’s Nonprofit Status“, “Hero Program’s Nonprofit Spun Core Initiatives Into For-profit Company“).

KDKA updated its website soon after, removing Wetzel’s name from its list of honorees and replacing it with the name of a new honoree. KDKA has ignored requests for comment from the Beaver Countian, and it is uncertain if the station officially revoked its Hometown Hero Award or proceeded with their donation to the Hero Program.

Photos posted by KDKA following its awards ceremony on March 6th show Wetzel conspicuously absent from the event.

It is unclear what type of background check into organizations KDKA performs, if any, before honoring individuals with its Hometown Hero Awards.

 

5 comments

  1. Has the Hero Program posted their promised returns that were promised after the original story?

    (0)
    • No, and they have since deleted the summary Profit and Loss Statement that they did post following our reports.

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  2. Good work John Paul

    But hardly heard the last of this malfeasance of charity I hope, higher powers are looking closely and to be filing charges ehhhh

    Hometown hero lol

    Self center parasite more like it

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  3. This is sad to see. I suspect the transgressions here are not due to ill intent or fraud as much as poor tax reporting. I am a pastor at a local church and we have hosted programs for some of the kids the Hero Program is trying to help. I wish the Hero Program had done a better job managing their books because the work they were doing was good. It would be nice if the Beavercountian or one of its readers would perhaps attempt to help the Hero Program fix its problems so they can get back to the good work they were doing. That would make a truly great story.

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  4. In their Profit lass statement there was $4,000 spent annually on two cell phones as well as half the money from events spent on expenses. This is not responsible spending. The fact is if you file tax returns then you would have them on hand and readily available. The only reason you wouldn’t is because you didn’t file them. Why wouldn’t you file them? Because you are not using the money to help these kids and if you are it is a very small portion. Were the families being helped? I don’t think that is the issue here. The issue is how much of what was raised was spent to help these families. How much was pocketed and used for personal use? There is definitely something wrong here. There needs to be more than an article or two written. A full audit and investigation into these two men and this organization are needed. This gives non profits that are honest a bad name. Mr. Canevasi turned his non profit into a for profit company and it is looks like Mr. Wetzel has done the same.

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