Non-profit fights for funds raised during haunted house - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Non-profit fights for funds raised during haunted house

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BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) -

A nonprofit agency in Bristol told Eyewitness News they teamed up with a local business for a fundraiser, but they have yet to see any funds.

SpEd Connecticut said they worked with Fantasy Remodeling to run a haunted house and had been waiting since Halloween to see the proceeds.

SpEd Connecticut is a nonprofit organization working with parents of special needs children to understand their child's disability and assist them get the best public education they can.

"We operate on a shoestring and we do it because we love the work," said Harriet Clark of SpEd Connecticut.

To help out their bottom line, officials with SpEd Connecticut teamed up with Fantasy Remodeling and owner Tim Vermette to benefit from his annual haunted house, which is set up on Pine Street in Bristol.

"The Friday and Saturday we had a good crowd," Clark said.

Vermette has held the event before including for the Connecticut Humane Society. They told Eyewitness News benefited from a $600 donation by Vermette in 2010.

"He went above and beyond to help accommodate our special needs children and we told him thank you because there's not that many events that these children can participate in," said SpEd Connecticut Program Coordinator Fran Ficocelli. 

Not only did workers with SpEd Connecticut print out fliers, but they also advertised the event on their website, and provided volunteers each night to help out.

Workers with SpEd Connecticut said the only red flag is, they never knew exactly how much money was coming in.

"They would never tell us," Clark said. "All four nights they would not tell us how much money was raised."

SpEd Connecticut workers said after the haunted house wrapped up they waited a few weeks. Then after a few months, they started calling and emailing, with no response, and no proceeds from Vermette.

"Finally in March, I think our board sent a letter saying we need to know, and we need to know now, or we'll have to take this further," Clark said. "So here we are."

Neighbors told Eyewitness News it was about March when Vermette moved out of this house on Judd Street where his business is listed on the secretary of the state's website.

Eyewitness News found Vermette at another location on Route 72. He said he's ready to give the $1,000 from the haunted house to SpEd Connecticut.

Vermette told Eyewitness News he just needs their tax identification number so he can write off his material and labor.

Vermette said SpEd Connecticut officials have yet to provide that information, but they say that is not true.

"I certainly hope he will own up to his responsibility. And I would also hope that he would make a donation," Clark said. "I'm not going to say the profits, but if he makes a significant donation to our organization."

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