MESA, AZ – NOVEMBER 2, 2010: FAST-Aid quickly and properly responded to all the false allegations over the last week in regards to allocation of funds and total amounts raised for all the victims of the California 200 accident and has accepted the public apology from the accuser. “It is understandable that people have questions, it is unbelievably frustrating that we are spending time rebutting false statements made in a mass public arena when simple questions have answers. We need to be focused on helping people,” said Jared Tetzlaff, President of FAST-Aid.
A letter of apology has been received from Greg Farkas, who went on NBC San Diego news accusing FAST-Aid of not distributing his family the proper allocation of the absurd amount of monies he claimed were raised and directly accused FAST-Aid of pocketing cash. “I would like to start by saying that we really thank FAST-Aid and all of the donors for what they have done for our family to help with funeral expenses for our much loved son Aaron,” wrote Greg Farkas, father of Aaron Farkas. “I decided to expose Fast-Aid without proper evidence or proof. That is really out of character for me to say something without knowing it’s a fact. I learned early on that once you say something you can never take it back. That is why I always research things before I comment on them. Well in this case, with emotions running high, and being so angry I let those emotions get the best of me and clouded my logical thinking. For this I truly am sorry for making the accusations without the true facts.”
Communication with the Farkas family initiated immediately after the tragic accident and have been consistently open since, including the offering of opening the books prior to the statements made on television and across the internet. The opportunity to see the books was denied by the Farkas Family. Jared Tetzlaff explains that the Farkas family has utilized FAST-Aids assistance beyond the set cap amount, “The urgency of their request for assistance was apparent and Fast-Aid was grateful to be in a position to help with expenses that, had they gone unpaid, would have delayed or prevented Aaron’s funeral services. This was the first case Fast-Aid had provided financial assistance to ease the burden of a family tragically affected by this accident. The total bill was nearly $11,350. Because donations were being given specifically to the California 200 fund, the board approved making this payment on their behalf. “ As FAST-Aid recognized the amount of donations received would level off and in order ensure that all families who applied for assistance would receive financial aid in the most fair and equitable manner possible, they increased the cap to $8,000 in assistance for each person that lost their life, and keep the $5,000 cap for those injured.
The recent allegations came after the Farkas’ were denied the full amount of the headstone, after having a verbal approval from a board member. Jared explains, “The cost of the headstone she was requesting Fast-Aid to pay for was nearly $5,000, whereas the average price of headstones Fast-Aid had assisted in purchasing was approximately $1,500. In an e-mail to the Farkas family on October 20, I explained, ‘Fast-Aid exists to meet needs that would otherwise be unmet or create a financial hardship. We already increased our cap for assistance to those who lost loved ones. We then further exceeded our cap for assistance to your family by over $3500 and need to honor our policies set forth to protect our integrity and ability to help ALL families involved with their financial hardships. We also have a moral obligation to distribute the money raised in the fairest manner possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes means forgoing luxuries and replacing them with more basic services.’ Cindy, Aarons mother, replied, ‘Please send check as specified on invoice.’ I did not receive a response to a follow-up e-mail, instead I was contacted and told the Farkas family had began to make accusations against Fast-Aid on Facebook and that they had contacted the media.”
These false allegations have also stirred up the emotions within the Off Road Family. Greg Farkas also apologized to the community as a whole in his letter, “I would also like to apologize to the offroad community (which I have been a part of for over 25 years) for letting you guys down and over reacting. This event has created an outrage amongst the community; again I am sorry for that.”
Fast-Aid will continue to operate with the utmost integrity and will continue to be open to answering questions and being as transparent as is practical for those legitimately seeking information. Although our history as an organization is short, there are numerous people who we have helped that can speak on our behalf regarding our sincere intentions and effectiveness in helping people who truly need assistance. Just as Fast-Aid was helping a crew-member at the time the California 200 accident occurred, we will continue to be ready to assist members of the off-road community in time of crisis in the future. We will continue to work diligently to educate the off-road community so that any and all safety measures that can be taken are taken, in an effort to prevent accidents and minimize the effects of accidents when they do happen. We will continue to be advocates for those who are affected by off-road accidents and to assist them in making the fullest recovery possible.