NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - NASCAR's 2011 rookie driver of the year, Andy Lally, is adamant. He's no relation to James Lally, the man accused of dropping the racer's name and defrauding First Tee of St. Pete, a children's charity.
The charity says they are out close to $4,000.
New Port Richey business owner David Accomando met James Lally in late February. David, who supports several local charities, had no idea Lally has twice been convicted of theft, or that there is a warrant for his arrest for writing a bad check for silent auction items at a First Tee fundraiser earlier that month.
"He was talking about how he gives to a lot of organizations," said Accomando, who claims he gave Lally a $175 donation toward his charity work and $650 for race tickets to the Daytona 500 and Sebring.
New Port Richey Quality Inn manager Chris Tanzer claims the hotel gave Lally a free room and food after he offered to help a homeless family who was staying there.
They say James Lally never returned to help the homeless family.
Remember those race tickets Accomando bought? At least two Quality Inn guests also reported paying Lally hundreds of dollars each for tickets to the Daytona 500. Tickets that never arrived.
After hearing about First Tee’s loss, David Accomando made a $500 donation to the charity.
People who know James Lally say he's left the state. The state attorney's office tells me Lally will likely be extradited to Florida on a bad check charge if and when they find him.
The state attorney's office has also asked the Pasco Sheriff's office to investigate the latest claims.
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