Report: Dawn Marie Accused Of Embezzling Her Own Charity
The organization, which was founded in 2008, creates awareness and helps raise money to support the health care needs of retired professional wrestlers. However, former friends of Damatta say they are unaware of whom the organization has benefited and where the money raised has gone.
According to The Sun writer Mike Aldren, Damatta has embezzled money raised by "Wrestlers Rescue" to fly herself to conventions around the United States so she can profit off of autograph signings. When questioned, Damatta set her attorney on him, who admitted that "Wrestlers Rescue" is not a registered charity.
Aldren noted the following to author and activist Irvin Muchnick, which was posted on his blog: "Nobody seems to know where all the money has gone nor has anyone seemingly benefited from the money that Dawn has raised over the past three years. Her former friends have told me she uses the money to fly herself to conventions around the country so she can profit from autograph signings. She has agreements with several promoters where if she flies herself in she will get a free table to sell her merchandise. When I started asking reasonable questions, Dawn set her attorney on me, who admits Wrestlers Rescue is not a registered charity."
This is not the first embezzlement accusation levied towards Damatta as two months ago, a host for the online radio show Hit the Ropes claimed that she was being investigated by the FBI for stealing money from "Wrestlers Rescue." He said that she didn't refund those who paid to attend the organization's July 2010 fundraiser cruise after it was canceled in April.
The reason cited for the event's cancellation was as follows: "It has come to our attention that there is a similar cruise event being held within a month of our event. Due to the fear of not having enough participants because of this we are withdrawing our fundraiser cruise."
Last year, Damatta held a fundraiser to benefit "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, with the funds raised purportedly going towards the purchase of a hands-free medical device that would help him speak more easily after having his voice box removed during cancer surgery. The Hit the Ropes host claimed that she failed to assist Williams before his passing last December due to throat cancer.
He also claimed that she promised money to former WWF ring announcer Michael Porter, but failed to live to her word.
It's worth noting that the official website of "Wrestlers Rescue," www.wrestlersrescue.org, was suspended by its hosting provider late last night. It has since resurfaced online.
Damatta was quoted by The New York Times for an article last week concerning Linda McMahon's political campaign, which noted her charitable organization. She recalled attending an event a few years ago where retired wrestlers were signing autographs for fans and spotted 'a legend of the sport' (The Iron Sheik) dozing off behind an autograph table before his agent pushed him into the bathroom in a wheelchair.
"I said, 'This man should be enjoying his life, he should be enjoying the fruits of his labor,' " Damatta said. "Instead, he is there signing autographs for $20."
She subsequently launched "Wrestlers Rescue," to help support the health care needs of retired professional wrestlers.