Kirsten Hamling allegedly stole $243K raised by Firefighter Calendar
Last November, the Denver District Attorney's Office announced an investigation based on allegations that Kirsten Hamling had diverted funds raised by the Colorado Firefighters Calendar, one of the city's highest profile charity endeavors. Now, six-plus months later, that inquiry has led to multiple theft and fraud counts against Hamling, supported by a massive affidavit on view below that's filled with damning accusations.
As we reported last year, Hamling founded Fired Up for Kids, whose primary product was the hunk-laden firefighter calendar; proceeds were earmarked for The Children's Hospital. But Hamling resigned amid reports that she'd diverted some of the cash into her personal account and questions about whether Fired Up For Kids had been granted nonprofit status. If it hadn't, donors might have been misinformed about whether or not their largesse was tax deductible.
A photo from the calendar launch party in August.
Photo by Amber Taufen
"The nonprofit itself is not under investigation," DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough told us at the time. "It's the potential victim."
Now, the district attorney has put a dollar figure on that alleged victimization: $243,399.22. And the affidavit spells out how authorities believe it was collected.
The document notes that the first complaints about Hamling, submitted in September, came from Keely Rubis (Spencer), who helped run Fired Up For Kids under the auspices of Traction Communication, and Parry Palmer, a volunteer executive committee member. They shared with the district attorney a report completed by a forensic accountant, Charlotte J. Bell Cosgrove, whose summary acknowledges that the hospital collected a total of $170,389.47 from calendar sales from 2004 to 2010. However, that sum was considerably less than the total claimed by the Fired Up For Kids website, which boasted that it had raised $400,000 for the facility.
That wasn't the only dubious claim Cosgrove cites. She also notes that Fired Up For Kids always represented itself as a nonprofit corporation -- but former colleagues of Hamlin's alleged that while several applications for nonprofit status were prepared and submitted, the designation was denied.
The situation came to a head in late August, when employees of Traction are said to have confronted Hamling with evidence that some of the money raised for the hospital had wound up in her pocket. The summary says Hamling eventually "admitted to co-mingling funds from FUFK with her own and those of her corporation and promised to 'make it right with Children's.'"
That apparently didn't reassure the hospital, which sent Hamling a letter dated September 9 asking that its name not be used by Fired Up For Kids from that date forward and requested that independent third-party verification of the assorted events' financials.
Not all of these events were enormous. For instance, the affidavit includes considerable dissection of a chili cook-off. But more damning are bank statements that allegedly showed Hamling ringing up a $700 bill to 24 Hour Fitness, charges related to a trip to Disneyland by the founder and her children, payments for the kids' private-school tuition, and cash expended on car repairs and a shopping trip to Nordstrom, a store that pops up in another list of receipts that employees saw as illegitimate. Also namechecked: Saks Fifth Avenue, Whole Foods and Comedy Works.
The comparative nickels and dimes detailed in the affidavit added up. In one section, the amount of money spent by Hamling for what's termed "personal use or expenses not related to FUFK" between March 2007 and June 2011 is calculated at more than $69,000. And that's not to mention an un-repaid $11,500 loan one woman gave to Hamling circa 2007 to help her out of dire financial straits -- a condition the former felt had been exaggerated when she visited Hamling's house and saw "brand new stainless steel appliances and a new granite countertop."
There's also an estimate of income not included on tax returns between 2007 and 2009 -- about $150,000 worth. As such, Hamling is said to owe the State of Colorado an additional $7,000, bringing the total amount of restitution for which she's on the hook to just north of a quarter-million dollars.
This bill is accompanied by a bevy of criminal charges: thirteen counts of theft, four counts of charitable fraud, three counts of filing a false tax return, two counts of failure to file a tax return and one count of attempting to influence a public servant.
Hamling was formally charged and arrested by Glendale Police this week, resulting in a pair of mug shots on view below. They're followed by the aforementioned affidavit -- all 48 pages of it -- plus photos from and coverage of last August's calendar launch party by Westword contributor Amber Taufen. Finally, we've also included a CBS4 report broadcast last November.
A side view of Hamling.
Launch party coverage: Text by Amber Taufen
December 2011: Charlie Karl
Charlie is a disabled vet with daughters; Erica asked him what advice about boys he'd give the little ones, and he responded: "Stay away!"
Calendar note: "Merry X-Mas, keep warm!"
January 2012: Neal Martin
Neal recently got a dog -- a bulldog named Lola. Aw.
Calendar note: "Your first time always means the most!"
February 2012: Tyler Capron
Tyler's favorite dessert is tiramisu. Good choice!
Calendar note: "Be my Valentine!"
March 2012: Scott Roahrig
Scott is the father of three boys. Girls of the future, keep your fingers crossed that they take after dad!
Calendar note: "Keep rockin'! Spring Break time!"
April 2012: Kip Korthuis
Kip is a fire captain -- and he's single, ladies! His ideal date involves indoor skydiving.
Calendar note: "Keep lookin' hot. Happy Easter!"
May 2012: Corey Piper
This Colorado Springs 'fighter is a dead ringer for John Travolta, and he even did a little Saturday Night Fever impression for us. (He also had one of the best songs: "You Can Leave Your Hat On.")
Calendar note: "You're lovely." (The feeling is mutual, Corey!)
June 2012: Molly Meehan
The lone female on the calendar still got lots of love from all the ladies last night. Erica referred to her as the "HBIC: Head Bitch in Charge," and we know lots of guys who would love to have her whipping them into shape!
Calendar note: "Have a sizzlin' summer!"
July 2012: La Don Williams
LaDon dieted to get his physique ripped for the calendar -- and his colleagues helped him out (or not) by baking a cookie the size of a plate.
Calendar note: "Time for some fireworks!"
August 2012: Brian Thorngate
A self-proclaimed gym rat (we can totally tell), Brian chose Nelly's "Hot in Here" for his catwalk strut.
Calendar note: "I hope it's a long, hot August!"
September 2012: Gary Riggins
Gary's the strong-but-silent type, and the beautiful script tattoo across his chest (it reads "Always") reminds him to live strong -- he's a cancer survivor.
Calendar note: "Stay hot this fall!"
October 2012: Nick McKibbin
Nick has a twin sister and a bad-ass tattoo of a Celtic god and goddess across his torso. Rawr!
Calendar note: "I'll keep you hot & wet in October!"
November 2012: Derek Trombetta
We're not saying Derek's packing junk in the trunk -- clearly, he's not -- but his buns are so juicy that he regularly tears his pants.
Calendar note: "Stay strong!"
December 2012: Matt Van Dyken
Matt's a country boy at heart, so in other words, we know he's a big softie.
Calendar note: "Merry Christmas!"
2012 Cover Boy: Colin Brunt
Colin does a killer Chewbacca impression (he demonstrated; it's good) and plays guitar. Swoon!
Calendar note: "You deserve a trillion hearts."
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