Amputee wrestler Steve Chamberland says not registering 50 Legs as charity was an 'oversight'
3:41 PM, May 14, 2013
6:22 PM, May 14, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla - Steve Chamberland, the ex wrestler who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, addressed state regulators who scrutinized his charitable activities on behalf of young amputees and a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Chamberland's 50 Legs in 50 Days non-profit, provides prosthetics to needy patients. The non-profit gained notoriety last month for stepping up to help Ireland Nugent, a 2-year-old Palm Harbor girl, who had her legs severed in a mower accident.
"I am glad this was brought to our attention," said Chamberland in regard to a media report that his organization had not registered with the state as a charity yet was collecting donations.
Chamberland, flanked by board members, Ireland and her parents, called the registration failure an 'administrative oversight' that is now being addressed. He said was his organization received its 501c3 it was OK to operate.
Officials also pointed out that Chamberland cannot solicit donations because he is a convicted felon.
"I've never solicited money," he explained.
Chamberland said he has never hid is his criminal past. In 2009, Chamberland pleaded guilty to felony grand theft in Hillsborough County.
Under Florida law, a person convicted of fraud, theft or embezzlement during the last 10 years cannot collect charitable donations.
"It happened. I am not hiding anything. I am a wrestler not a choir boy," he added.
Chamberland said this oversight has actually benefited his non-profit. He claims to have received calls from bigger organizations lending their support.
Ireland Nugent's parents also spoke on behalf of Chamberland. They refer to him as a blessing and do not believe that this is or will have any impact on their daughter's treatment.
Little Ireland even lent her support.
"Uncle Steve-O," repeated Ireland while staring at Chamberland.
According to Chamberland, he will remain a board member and the front man of his organization which state law does allow.