Stage collapse victims waiting on funds
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund has raised around $240,000, but victims of the tragedy are frustrated that none of that money is being distributed.
The money is for the families of the seven people killed and dozens of people hurt in the stage collapse. There really has been an outpouring of support/ Donations have come from as far as London, England. Colts owner Jim Irsay gave $64,000. But that money can't be given out until someone can figure out how to do it.
Jeff Frepan's arm was broken in three places during the stage collapse at the Sugarland concert Aug. 13th. He's still in a cast.
"Can't go back to work until the doctor releases me," he said.
Frepan will be off work, which involves lifting boxes for weeks, maybe months. Since he's the breadwinner, that cuts the family income. He and his wife Lori were both hurt when the stage collapsed at the concert.
"Anything right now will help. I mean, help get my bills caught up and things like that. If they come out here tomorrow and gave me a thousand bucks I'd be happy," he said.
Almost as quickly as a memorial was created at the State Fair, the remembrance fund was established, just two days after the tragedy. Still, not a single penny has been distributed to the victims or their families.
"I think everyone internally knows there are people who are hurting and need help," said Mike Knight, Central Indiana Community Foundation.
But the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), which is maintaining the fund, has to develop a mechanism for distribution. They have to determine if a person is truly eligible and then decide how much they receive based on their injury or personal situation. Foundations like CICF are strictly regulated by the IRS, which makes the process tricky.
"If we distributed funds incorrectly we'd be breaking the law, so we can't do that," said Mike Knight, Central Indiana Community Foundation.
The Frepans have held garage sales and gotten some help from their adult children.
"They want to help mom and dad out but they've got to look out for themselves too," said Lori Frepan.
The couple's bills need to be paid and right now they have practically no income.
"In some ways I think they're trying to push it under the carpet that it was our fault that we didn't get out, and it wasn't our fault," said Jeff Frepan.
Those at CICF say they are working as quickly as possible, and they hope to have an announcement about distribution later this week.
Concert funds hit glitch
The groups Train and Maroon 5 were supposed to perform at the grandstand just days after the tragedy. Instead the show was moved to Conseco Fieldhouse and the concert turned into a fundraiser.
The concert netted half a million dollars in ticket sales. But sources tell Eyewitness News that money hasn't been added to the Remembrance Fund because there are fears it could end up the target of a lawsuit, since it was initially intended for State Fair proceeds. If that happens, lawyers could end up profiting from the charitable donations.
While the legal wrangling continues, the Frepans are suffering, now financially.