It’s Still Despicable

August 25, 2012

Despicable, it’s a word that I don’t like to use. It has a certain air of filth with it. Despicable, the sound of the word breeds contempt for something or someone. Unfortunately, I still find myself using this word. I wish I didn’t have to do so but it seems to fit. After all filthy behavior deserves a word that seems filthy and there is plenty of filth to go around. Let me make my case a little here.

Lea Kaydus and Animals for Autism

Ms. Kaydus started with supposedly good intentions. She offered service dogs for autistic children. According to Monica Eng, Attorney General Lisa Madigan called Lea Kaydus a “Heartless Scam.” This is totally and absolutely despicable.

 

Ms. Kaydus used the families of autistic children to further her bid for a $50,000 grant from Pepsi. The families were more than willing to help and many did. The reality is that Ms. Kaydus was nothing more than a heartless scam. She used our children to get that grant money. It is enough to make my stomach turn. Ms. Kaydus, have you no shame? Using our autistic children to get monetary gain is completely despicable!  

 

Ms. Kaydus had been raising funds on behalf of the children to help pay for their dogs. The only problem is that she never released giving statements and refused to tell us about all of the funds raised. Our family had hundreds and hundreds of dollars in donations that were never reported to us. Ms. Kaydus obviously was planning on keeping that money. I think that qualifies as despicable, don’t you?

 

Ms. Kaydus promised service dogs to 13 families for the Spring of 2012. Did even one family get a service dog? No, not one. None of the families impacted by this got what they were promised. Even though the original grant on the Pepsi website was for the training of service dogs. I want to know if Pepsi is still honored to work with Ms. Kaydus? Nothing but despicable.

 

Topping all of this off, Pepsi is going to allow Ms. Kaydus to keep the $50,000 from the Refresh Grant, even though not one service dog was delivered to any of the families. Do I have to say what I’m thinking?

 

Global Giving

Global Giving was the grand administrator for the Pepsi Refresh Grant. They administered the funding and cleared each project. These were the people who represented Pepsi’s interests by working with the designee. Global Giving told a Florida reporter that they saw twenty dogs in training when they visited the site. A few weeks later, I received a call from the Illinois Department of Animal Welfare informing me that Lea Kaydus only claimed to have eight dogs on site. Someone is obviously covering their backside. How can there be twenty dogs in training, if the Kaydus family only has eight dogs? I’m thinking of a word maybe you can guess it.

 

Ms. Kaydus, Pepsi and Global Giving, your behavior is nothing but despicable. You have lied repeatedly about the situation and still you are hiding the truth. Pepsi and Global Giving are hiding behind the official statement of no comment. Are you kidding me? Silence speaks louder than words. You may never face a courtroom but in the court of public opinion you are guilty as sin. If you agree that this is despicable, drink Coke.

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It’s Still Despicable

August 25, 2012

Despicable, it’s a word that I don’t like to use. It has a certain air of filth with it. Despicable, the sound of the word breeds contempt for something or someone. Unfortunately, I still find myself using this word. I wish I didn’t have to do so but it seems to fit. After all filthy behavior deserves a word that seems filthy and there is plenty of filth to go around. Let me make my case a little here.

Lea Kaydus and Animals for Autism

Ms. Kaydus started with supposedly good intentions. She offered service dogs for autistic children. According to Monica Eng, Attorney General Lisa Madigan called Lea Kaydus a “Heartless Scam.” This is totally and absolutely despicable.

 

Ms. Kaydus used the families of autistic children to further her bid for a $50,000 grant from Pepsi. The families were more than willing to help and many did. The reality is that Ms. Kaydus was nothing more than a heartless scam. She used our children to get that grant money. It is enough to make my stomach turn. Ms. Kaydus, have you no shame? Using our autistic children to get monetary gain is completely despicable!  

 

Ms. Kaydus had been raising funds on behalf of the children to help pay for their dogs. The only problem is that she never released giving statements and refused to tell us about all of the funds raised. Our family had hundreds and hundreds of dollars in donations that were never reported to us. Ms. Kaydus obviously was planning on keeping that money. I think that qualifies as despicable, don’t you?

 

Ms. Kaydus promised service dogs to 13 families for the Spring of 2012. Did even one family get a service dog? No, not one. None of the families impacted by this got what they were promised. Even though the original grant on the Pepsi website was for the training of service dogs. I want to know if Pepsi is still honored to work with Ms. Kaydus? Nothing but despicable.

 

Topping all of this off, Pepsi is going to allow Ms. Kaydus to keep the $50,000 from the Refresh Grant, even though not one service dog was delivered to any of the families. Do I have to say what I’m thinking?

 

Global Giving

Global Giving was the grand administrator for the Pepsi Refresh Grant. They administered the funding and cleared each project. These were the people who represented Pepsi’s interests by working with the designee. Global Giving told a Florida reporter that they saw twenty dogs in training when they visited the site. A few weeks later, I received a call from the Illinois Department of Animal Welfare informing me that Lea Kaydus only claimed to have eight dogs on site. Someone is obviously covering their backside. How can there be twenty dogs in training, if the Kaydus family only has eight dogs? I’m thinking of a word maybe you can guess it.

 

Ms. Kaydus, Pepsi and Global Giving, your behavior is nothing but despicable. You have lied repeatedly about the situation and still you are hiding the truth. Pepsi and Global Giving are hiding behind the official statement of no comment. Are you kidding me? Silence speaks louder than words. You may never face a courtroom but in the court of public opinion you are guilty as sin. If you agree that this is despicable, drink Coke.


Beyond Ridiculous

June 6, 2012

The Chicago Tribune has run another story to follow up on the Pepsi Pups fiasco. The follow up article details the fact that none of the ten families have received the promised service dogs from Animals for Autism. The organization’s founder Lea Kaydus applied and won a $50K grant from the Pepsi Refresh project in June of 2011. The purpose was to provide ten free service animals for families in with autistic children.

 

The latest statement from the grant administrator Global Giving says that Kaydus has not broken any of the grant agreements. The terms of the grant were changed following Animals for Autism’s victory with the grant. Instead of the stated provision of ten service animals, the grant money would be used to provide kennels and equipment for the training facility, a facility that has yet to train even one service dog. The kennel is likely being used to provide a location for their backyard breeding business. This is beyond ridiculous.

 

All of the families were sent pictures of their dogs and were told that these animals had been placed in the service dog program. The problem is that Animals for Autism faked the pictures sent to the families. The meta data revealed that the pictures were from much earlier than Spring 2011. The fact that Lea Kaydus and Animals for Autism have been allowed to play this idiotic game with families of autistic children is beyond ridiculous. What would be the point of funding a service dog training facility that does not train service dogs?

 

The reality is that Animals for Autism is nothing but one huge fraud. Illinois Animal Welfare paid a visit to the location and was told that there were only eight dogs present. Think about this for a moment. The Kaydus family is still trying to sell puppies and breeding dogs to have more puppies. So where are the supposed service dogs? Nowhere to be found. This is beyond ridiculous.

 

By the way, anyone who looks at pictures of those adorable puppies for sale should check the meta data of the image just to see if the dates match. I thought that selling something with the intent to deceive was fraud. One more thing that is simply beyond ridiculous.

 

Enough is enough. It’s time to call this for what it is, a scam. Why can Pepsi and Global Giving simply admit that they did not check these things out and apologize for their lack of due diligence? Maybe it is simply pride, ego or some sense that they have done nothing wrong. Global Giving stated in the Chicago Tribune article that it is not their role to communicate with the families. Why did they step in to offer moderated calls between Ms. Kaydus and some of the families? It seems like they are now trying to wash their hands of this whole disaster. It’s beyond ridiculous.

 

Global Giving visited the site in Illinois several months ago. Either Ms. Kaydus somehow found a dozen dogs to show them or Global Giving knows the truth and is lying about it to save face. If this is the best they can do with a grant of $50k, they aren’t much of an administrator. It’s just beyond ridiculous.

 

There is good news among the Pepsi Pup families. Three of the families will be getting genuine service animals from 4 Paws for Ability over the next year. The Illinois Attorney General’s office is working to get the money invested by the Pepsi Pup families returned. The problem is that there seems to be no money to be seized. Here is a radical thought, since there seem to be no service dogs for the kennel, why not sell some $50k in items from the Pepsi grant to refund money? Now that would be a small piece of justice and far from ridiculous.

 

Just a thought or two,

Papa D       


Who’s Lying Now?

April 26, 2012

Don’t you hate when people lie to you? There seems to be a trend in our society that makes it acceptable to lie and deceive people. Morality aside, it just seems like the right thing to do. I hate being lied to. All of this leads me to the ongoing story of the Pepsi Pup families.

One year ago, Animals for Autism laid out an incredible offer and an incredible hope. The organization was giving away a free service dog for a child with autism. Numerous families applied and a grantee was selected. The organization then offered a dramatically discounted price for families still interested in receiving a dog. Again grateful families got on board, began raising funds and assisted the organization with receiving a grant from Pepsi to help cover the cost of the service dogs.

Through the efforts of many different people Animals for Autism won the grant to give away ten free service dogs. The families were elated to learn that their dogs were all being paid for by the generosity of Pepsi. Again, it seemed like a miracle and everything would work out splendid. All things being equal, the whole situation seemed like a dream come true for some families to get some much needed help.

Only one small problem, there were no dogs. Animals for Autism sent pictures to all of the families of their service dog in training. The pictures looked great but after closer examination, the pictures were old. The dogs were supposedly born in the Spring of 2011 but the pictures show dates prior to 2011. The pictures were faked. Does this sound truthful? I think not, it sounds like a big fat lie!

Global Giving, grant administrator for Pepsi, visited the site and stated that there were indeed dogs on site. In one interview, the count was 20 dogs on site being trained. I spoke with Illinois Animal Control about the situation. The investigator discovered that Animals for Autism only has a total of eight dogs. This figure includes breeding animals. How in the world could the organization train ten service dogs when they only have eight on site? The answer is that they can’t.

Someone is lying somewhere. Global Giving claims that there are 20 dogs, Animals for Autism claims they have only eight dogs. Both figures cannot be correct. Either Animals for Autism is lying or Global Giving is lying. Maybe, just maybe, they are both lying to cover their backsides. It’s just a thought.


A New Twist

February 1, 2012

A new twist to the unfolding drama of the Animals for Autism Pepsi Refresh fiasco happened today.  The Facebook page for Animals for Autism disappeared sometime late morning or early afternoon. If there is nothing to hide, why pull the page down? Well this is the second time that the page has gone off the grid. The first happened after Mike Brooks ran his story on the situation in early January. WICS, an ABC affiliate in Springfield IL, broke the story locally after interviewing some of the families impacted by the grant on the phone. Attempts were made to connect with Ms. Kaydus but she refused to be interviewed on camera. The removal of the Facebook page today is the answer from Animals for Autism and Lea Kaydus. We are not going to get one of our concerns answered and the attempt to ignore the families is going to continue.

As the story continues, we still have not heard anything more from Pepsi or Global Giving regarding the requests from the families. These were not unreasonable requests. In fact, many of these requests have been active since August 2011. All are still falling on deaf ears. I think such behavior is nothing short of heartless to families who are in need.

I will not go through the whole post from yesterday and all of the things that have happened to the families involved. Here is a link to that previous post. https://autismpapa.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/despicable-nothing-but-despicable/

The fact still remains that the concerns of the families are being completely ignored and that is nothing but despicable behavior from people who should know better. I am calling on good people from across this great nation to stand up for what is right and what is decent. Children are helpless and innocent. I should remind you that these actions are against children who have special needs. Can you imagine anything more shameful? These are huge corporations that are stealing from special needs children.

I am calling on good people to rise up in their sense of moral outrage. Now is the time to stand up for helpless children in special needs circumstances. Now is the time to speak up for those who have no voice. Join me in refusing to continue to support Pepsi. I am refusing to buy any Pepsi products between now and the Super Bowl.

Here is what you can do to help these families:

1.) Call Pepsi and Global Giving and express your distaste. Here are the phone numbers Pepsi: Consumer Response Team at 800-433-2652 and Global Giving 202-232-5784 e-mail: Linda Shaffer Oatley Senior Manager Pepsi Refresh Project lshaffer@globalgiving.com   (I found this e-mail on the website, it is not private)

2.) Stop purchasing Pepsi products. This week is the Super Bowl; why not celebrate the big game with Coke instead of Pepsi? Frito Lay is also owned by Pepsi. Maybe a different snack food could be just as good if not better. There is nothing like the taste of righting a wrong.

3.) Help spread the word.

Please take just a moment to spread the word along to others. 

Thank you in advance for your support, for your compassion and for your future action.

Papa D


Despicable, nothing but despicable

February 1, 2012

Despicable, it’s a word that seems to roll off the tongue and drips with certain sense of dissatisfaction. Despicable, the sound of the word breeds contempt for something or someone.  Despicable is not a word that we often throw around in our house. I think for reference we should give an appropriate definition to the word. Dictionary.com defines despicable as being of quality to deserve contempt. I firmly believe this fits the situation you will read about below.

Unfortunately, despicable is a word that I find myself using more and more to describe the actions of those who have wronged my five year old autistic son. Allow me to take a few moments to give some direct and concrete examples. Here are some of the things that have me saying the word over and over again.

Animals for Autism/ Lea Kaydus

Animals for Autism collected funds on behalf of our son, we have repeatedly requested a financial statement. The first request was in July but still Ms. Kaydus refuses to turn over a statement of what has been raised and who donated on our son’s behalf. Despicable

Communication has all but been non-existent with Ms. Kaydus since July 2011. Claims that they did not have internet service at their new location for over five months are simple absurd. There is such a thing as a telephone, call with updates. Old fashioned snail mail could have worked as well but still nothing. Internet at the local library could have worked but alas nothing happened. What legitimate organization would go without internet for five days let alone five months?  Despicable

When we have asked for information about training, updated pictures of the dogs (previous pictures had meta data that gave dates in 2007 to 2009) and current location, (yes they moved to a new location and did not give a new address) we have been ignored. Following our contact with the Illinois Attorney General, Animals for Autism’s webpage disappeared. Despicable

Our family and other families found Service Animals for sale on E-Bay. What happened to the lengthy application process and necessary prep work? There were also pictures of the identical dogs that we were matched with for service animals on puppy sites for sale. If you look at the Animals for Autism Facebook page, you will notice that they claim to be a non-profit organization. We checked with the secretary of State office in Illinois and the IRS. Guess what, they have no non-profit status. I don’t have to say, you’re thinking it for me.

I did some checking with Animal Control in Illinois. Both counties where the Kaydus family lived had no record of any dogs in their name. This means that they have no dogs with rabies vaccinations, would you want to encounter a service dog in public without rabies vaccinations? It is possible that there might be a paperwork problem somewhere but with the track record I have found, what do you think? You’re right despicable.

We contacted the Better Business Bureau and they contacted Ms. Kaydus with our concerns. Did she respond at all? Not one word. The end result was an F rating for the business. If you have nothing to hide why not answer the request? Ms. Kaydus claims that all of the families are being served by her and not the organization. That explains everything away. Oh wait we have a letter from Animals for Autism stating that they would be providing our dog. The letter even states that their team met and felt our son was suitable for a service dog. I’m not sure about you but I have a gut feeling this is despicable.

The families received an odd letter from Ms. Kaydus last week requesting an answer regarding our involvement in the program. After months of absolute silence, she wants a response from each family. Global Giving has demanded an answer from some of the families by the end of this week. They never answer a single question or concern but seem to demand answers from the families involved, nothing but despicable.

Pepsi

Pepsi changed the Refresh grant agreement after the voting was completed. The original agreement was to train ten service dogs and place them with ten families. When the voting was over and the page posted publically, Pepsi changed the agreement. The public grant proposal was never updated but Pepsi started funding a kennel for Ms. Kaydus. I thought the grant was for dogs for the children, I guess I was wrong. Despicable

When I brought up the subject of the pictures being from old dates, I was told to “cut ties” with the people making the statements. We were assured again and again that Animals for Autism was legitimate. You guessed it despicable.

Pepsi suddenly came up with a statement that they would not disclose any information about any of their grant awards. Amazing how they stopped talking with us after the Illnois Attorney General was contacted. I don’t think I need to say it, do I?

Global Giving

We were offered a mediated conversation with Ms. Kaydus but when I raised the issues I wanted clarified, I was told that Global Giving could not help me. When asked about various aspects of the grant and asked for a copy in writing, we were told it was confidential.

Global Giving visited the Animals for Autism site in Illinois. Did they take any pictures of dogs to show families involved? None that we have seen. Nice to know they are so concerned. Absolutely despicable

Following the latest letter from Ms. Kaydus, the families made a united response asking for details to be spelled out in writing. We have been ignored and the organization is making an effort to call certain families involved in this fiasco. Can they not read, we wanted a response in writing? What do you think? I’m with you it’s despicable.

I am tired of being ignored by Pepsi and Global Giving. The behavior from Pepsi, Global Giving and Animals for Autism is nothing short of despicable. These actions are not against parents but against children, special needs children. I for one would not want that on my conscience, nor could I so blatantly disregard the concerns of good people who simple want answers.

The only thing I know to say is that this entire fiasco is absolutely despicable. Maybe you think so as well. Maybe these few moments reading have stirred some righteous indignation within your spirit. I hope so. Euripides once said: “When a good man is hurt, all of those who call themselves good must suffer with them.”

I can tell you that there are good people who have done nothing wrong, except maybe place their trust in the wrong people. These people and their children have been hurt in this mess. Parents of autistic children are looking for some answers and are finding none because no one is willing to give any. Parents who latched on to hope only to have that hope slap them in the face. Such actions should not go unnoticed or unrecognized. The time has come to take action. The time has come to stand up. Will you stand with me as I stand for these families?

When good people do nothing evil prevails – Edmund Burke

If you find this behavior as distasteful as I do, maybe you need to do something about it. Might I make a few suggestions.  

1.) Call Pepsi and Global Giving and express your distaste. Here are the phone numbers Pepsi: Consumer Response Team at 800-433-2652 and Global Giving 202-232-5784 e-mail: Linda Shaffer Oatley Senior Manager Pepsi Refresh Project lshaffer@globalgiving.com   (I found this e-mail on the website, it is not private)

2.) Stop purchasing Pepsi products. This week is the Super Bowl, why not celebrate the big game with Coke instead of Pepsi? Frito Lay is also owned by Pepsi. Maybe a different snack food could be just as good if not better. Nothing like the taste of righting a wrong.

3.) Help spread the word.

Please take just a moment to spread the word along to others.  

There is nothing more powerful than good people standing together. If you have a family member or friend impacted by autism, stand with me. If you just consider yourself a good person, stand with me. If you hate injustice, stand with me.

Thank you for your time, your consideration and your compassion

Papa D


The Extraordinary Measure of Ordinary Moments

January 28, 2012

Each day in our house is a new adventure or possibly a new ordeal depending on your point of view. Each day is an opportunity to see the way my life is richly blessed. No each day is not extraordinary, at least not in the standard ways that some might consider. Nothing in my home is ordinary. Each day we deal with the realities of autism. Each day we draw one step closer to finding our way out of autism. No we will never be beyond the realities of the disorder but each day we take a step closer to an ordinary life.

Our ordinary is often extraordinary. Our son Samuel deals with the daily struggles of autism. Just this week we discovered some ordinary moments that were simply extraordinary.

Samuel had his first verbal fight with his older sister. He told her to shut up, an amazing feat for a boy who can barely speak. I think we might be the only parents on earth that celebrate when their son tells someone to shut up.

Samuel spent solid time working on his IPad independently. Again a major feat when just a few months ago the goal for therapy was for him to do something independent for five minutes.

While these things might not seem spectacular, I assure they are nothing short of extraordinary. When the ordinary seems impossible, those moments become extraordinary. Those moments move beyond the realm of the everyday. It is my sure and sincere hope that extraordinary becomes our new ordinary. Each day is an amazing gift that holds new challenges and sometimes heartaches and heartbreaks. Nonetheless, they are still filled with the possibility and the hope of something that touches the edge of extraordinary.

When your days seem ordinary, when those moments seem boring, relish them. Treasure each of your ordinary moments because it is in the ordinary moments that we uncover or maybe rediscover the reality of the extraordinary. Never forget that each and every day is one more blessing under your belt.

Here’s hoping that your next ordinary day is extraordinary

Papa D