Field Reports1 May, 2007 By: Thomas Haire, Courtney Beth Pugatch Response
The Wheelchair Foundation is a non-profit organization leading an international effort to create awareness of the needs and abilities of people with physical disabilities, to promote the joy of giving, create global friendship, and to deliver a wheelchair to every child, teen and adult in the world who needs one — but cannot afford one. Chris Lewis leads the Southern California branch of the foundation.
During the past year, many companies in the direct response business have been involved with a DR campaign to promote the Wheelchair Foundation, with many leaders of those companies event visiting nations in Central and South America and Asia to help deliver wheelchairs to the needy. As little as $75 can provide a wheelchair for someone in need. To date, the DR industry has raised more than $200,000 for the Foundation.
Seating for the October event will be limited to 300, with seats costing $500 (or a table of 10 costing $4,500). Event sponsorships are also available, with Andy Arvidson, IFS' founder, leading that drive. For more information on attending or sponsoring the event, contact Arvidson at 310-217-4610 or via E-mail at [email protected].
At the same time, IFS is also working in conjunction with the Wheelchair Foundation to create a charity auction at auction Web site flippid.com. "Items from throughout the DRTV and entertainment industries will be sold on flippid.com beginning May 20 to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation," Arvidson says. "There will be frequent auctions, with a mix of affordable and high-end items."
Arvidson and Lewis are requesting product donations from clients and friends in the DRTV business. Those interested in participating can contact Arvidson at the phone number or E-mail address above.
Girls Gone Wild's Francis Faces More Legal Woes
By Courtney Beth Pugatch ( [email protected])
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis' legal issues continued to mount as he remained in a Florida jail through Response's mid-April press time. Following an arrest on April 9, after he refused to surrender to U.S. marshals on a contempt citation, Francis is now faced with charges of smuggling drugs into prison, possession of a controlled substance, and tax evasion.
On April 12, Francis allegedly attempted to bribe a jail guard for a bottle of water. When the guard refused the $100 bill, Francis reportedly showed him $500. Inmates are not allowed to have cash in jail.
When officials searched his jail cell, they reportedly found 16 prescription pills, including the sleeping medication Lunesta, according to court records. Francis was charged with bribing a public servant, three counts of possessing a controlled substance, and five counts of introducing contraband into a detention facility. The charges are third-degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Scott Barbour, the president of Mantra Films, the company that produces the popular "Girls Gone Wild" series, was arrested on April 12 for providing the pills and cash when he visited Francis on April 11. Barbour was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility, and was being held with Francis.
Also on April 12, Francis was indicted on two counts of tax evasion by a federal grand jury. The charges allege that Francis deducted more than $20 million in false business expenses on corporate income tax returns filed in 2002 and 2003 by two of his companies, Mantra Films and Sands Media. In one incident, allegedly, $3.78 million was counted as a business cost when it was actually spent to build a residence in Mexico.
The indictment also claims that Francis used offshore bank accounts to conceal income earned in 2002 and 2003 through his companies, according to authorities. If convicted, Francis could face as many as 10 years in prison and fines as much as $500,000.