To Steal From Dying Children

As the IAFF virtual convention looms it’s time to see who really cares about reform where ethics and honesty are concerned.

Harold Schaitberger, our seeming president-for-life for twenty long years of grand grifting, has extorted millions of dollars from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) as IAFF members collect donations during the annual fund drives.

Schaitberger grabs so much money from MDA he frantically searches for places to stash it despite the fact that the actual IAFF outlay is negligible and well within the amount that should be written off as in-kind support.

Meanwhile, either complicit or dull-witted IAFF members hum their way through the fiction that the money they raise “stays local” and is somehow clean while national MDA is milked dry by the soulless Schaitberger.

So the officer candidates were asked if they would stop extorting money from MDA and clean up our union?

Here are the results.

Of the candidates for president, Ed Kelly and Mahlon Mitchell never answered and Kelly even led with a “dog ate my homework” excuse that his email was not working though, you guessed it, that very response was sent by email.

The non-response of Mitchell can be attributed to the prevailing notion that he is Schaitberger’s stalking horse and would be the last to condemn shaking down a children’s charity if it meant besmirching Our Dear Leader.

Only Jim Tracy offered a response:

I would not take any money from MDA. If the costs were substantial I’d look to get a corporate sponsor. If we are doing charity work I believe we should have some skin in the game.

Of the candidates for secretary-treasurer, Frank Lima never responded with Jake Lemonda and Greg Markley submitting their views.


In reference to monies that have been received previously from the MDA and with respect to any future payment, I must say that I am an outsider and obviously not privy to all the details. With that being said, there are always “administrative” expenses associated with any charity. I only know what I have read from the media reports. The numbers reported seem excessive and unreasonable. It appears that almost all of the work is performed by the membership in reaching out within the communities where they serve. I can not imagine what could possibly be the associated expense to the IAFF.

I could certainly state that I would commit to stop accepting any funds from MDA that were not associated with “real” costs/expenses incurred by the IAFF, despite any other past agreement between the MDA and the IAFF. Further I would commit that if the costs were minimal, which I suspect they are , the IAFF as an organization should absorb those expenses as the organization’s contribution.

Our members take their own time to raise money in an effort to help these sick children. That is where these monies should end up.


Absolutely, I think it is ridiculous. I spoke against it at Convention when this issue came up. This was brought to the floor by a local President from Washington State and he was basically crucified for bringing the issue up. In 2020, looking at budget documents and according to my sources, we are projected to receive over $1,000,000 from MDA. Our members raised those dollars directly for MDA only for it to be given back to the IAFF to allow the President and others to have a line item to spend it. That is not why we raised those dollars. As a proud participant in raising money for MDA for over 30 years…this must be eliminated. Every penny that we raise should go to MDA. Could you imagine that we told the first 50 locals that raised $20,000 each… that the monies they worked hard to raise were actually going to the IAFF for overhead and nothing to MDA. I think we would have a major uprising in our union.


The great MDA Rip-Off is the core indicator of how low Schaitberger has taken our union. Children and young adults dying from muscular dystrophy experience respiratory distress, pneumonia and multi-organ failure; they also experience the IAFF stealing money from them intended to alleviate their suffering and find a cure.

The obvious conclusion of the non-response from Ed Kelly, Mahlon Mitchell and Frank Lima is that they would continue this disgraceful practice that is tantamount to a moral crime, and they also lack the guts to say it.

Be very wary of anyone who employs silence to avoid being upfront. It’s a sure indicator of a willingness to deceive.

Stop the MDA Rip-Off.

Firefighter, DC City Guide and Part-Time Sailor

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