Dec 5, 2013, 12:08 PM EDT
Don Tollefson worked in the local media in Philadelphia for decades and was well known for his charity work. Heck, in a post on this website in 2010, he was dubbed “Tolley Sunshine” and described thusly:
By all accounts he’s a terrific guy who tirelessly supports and promotes local charities. He’s also, by a wide margin, the most optimistic person to ever walk the face of the earth. He makes Pat Croce seem depressed.
But maaaaybe not so much. That was back when Tollefson was doing television work on Eagles pre-season games.
Now, Tollefson has found himself in a bit of hot water with numerous claims of shady activity and perhaps even fraud surrounding some of that charity work he was so well known for.
The tag team of William Bender and Molly Eichel reported for the Daily News on the trips Tolley organized to Eagles away games that were supposed to help some of his multiple charities. Problem is, people paid good money — thousands and thousands of dollars from “more than 100 victims” — and never received the tickets or airfare they were promised.
Sources tell the Daily News that Tollefson’s charities have been raising eyebrows for more than a decade, going back to his days at Fox 29, and the multijurisdictional criminal probe into the alleged scam has already expanded beyond the Eagles road-trip snafu.
The investigation now involves the IRS and a grand jury, according to a source recently contacted by a law-enforcement official working the Tollefson case. Websites for most of Tollefson’s charities have gone dark.
And, very much in line with our original posting on Tolley back in 2010, one of the “charity” websites that is still active “is written mostly in all-caps.”
The whole report is worth reading if you’re interested in the subject. There are also plenty of people who defend Tolley’s legit charity work over the years. It sounds like he did actually do a ton of good work at points but somewhere along the way fell into some very shady things. That may have spiraled a bit too far.
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