Action 9's Todd Ulrich exposes Fla. charity



Action 9 exposes a Florida charity that wants your donation to supposedly cure diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

However, critics claim it’s a lookalike charity, making you believe it's a name you know and trust.

Todd Ulrich confronted the charity's president about the millions of dollars spent on telemarketers, not medical research.

Elizabeth Whitley has lived with diabetes for 40 years. If the National Diabetes Fund supports research for a cure, she would donate.

“If we got something in the mail saying, ‘We (are) working for a cure,’ it's worth looking at,” said Whitley.

The fund is part of Project Cure, which has a Washington, D.C., address.

President Michael Evers appears with big-name politicians like Sarah Palin, but WFTV discovered Project Cure isn’t what it appears to be.

Ulrich found its national headquarters is actually in a strip-center south of Tampa, and nearby business owners said it is usually locked and empty.

Inside, the company looks like a storage unit, packed with lights, household furniture and a Christmas tree, so Ulrich tracked down the charity's president at his home.

Ulrich: “Hey Michael. Todd Ulrich from Channel 9. Can you talk to me about the $5 million you raise each year?”

Evers: “I don't do ambushes.”

Its latest tax return shows the company raised $5 million in donations and then spent $4 million on fundraising.

Critics said even less goes to fight disease.   

Evers' salary is nearly $200,000. About $800,000 is spent on alternative-treatment education.

Dr. Stephen Barrett said its name sounds like a well-known charity to mislead consumers, and its education program is not what you expect.

“What they do, mostly, is talk about methods that do not have scientific support,” said Barrett.

WFTV wanted to interview Evers about that.

Ulrich: “Can we set an appointment?”

Evers: “Not with that attitude.”

Project Cure's tax return shows it also paid lobbyists to promote alternative medicine. Many national charities limit fundraising expenses to 25 to 30 percent.