IAFF Corruption: Shaking Down Jerry’s Kids

More Revenue Than The IAFF Financial Corporation


This Labor Day Weekend when thousands of IAFF members hit the streets for MDA, little will they know that a nickel of every dollar they collect will be skimmed off and siphoned back to the coffers of the IAFF to help support the champagne lifestyle of our leadership.

A nickel on a buck may not seem like a lot until their is 26,000,000 of them.

Then, well, we’re talking real money.

More money than the IAFF receives from its own Financial Corporation.

Harold Schaitberger and the IAFF Board have turned the quest to cure and care for kids stricken with Muscular Dystrophy into a tidy and very for-profit business.

How Much, Exactly?

Well over a million dollars though no one seems to be able to say for sure.

As Ron Kuley, longtime IAFF/MDA Coordinator states, “To further answer your questions, yes the IAFF receives approximately 1M dollars in non per capita income from MDA.”

So much that it is an obvious windfall.

Of course, the idea of even taking a dime of the fill-the-boot donations is a disgrace.

Organizations deciding to support charitable efforts don’t charge the charity to do so and they certainly don’t make a substantial profit from them either.

The Schaitberger IAFF does both.

The IAFF should be funding their commitment to MDA from the heralded IAFF charitable foundation and by the provision of in-kind services for the MDA campaign.

Speaking of in-kind services, that is exactly what the IAFF expects thousands of fire departments to do across the US and Canada: provide free troops, apparatus, fuel and other supplies for an effort that the IAFF then skims profits from.

It’s hypocritical to expect that of fire departments and then make a million bucks on the other end.

The Schaitberger IAFF has absolutely “no skin in the game” but thinks everyone else should.

Would fire departments (and local governments) be so quick to jump on the MDA bandwagon if they knew that the IAFF was “taking a cut”?

In fact, given the IAFF way of doing business, why shouldn’t every fire department providing resources also take a cut to cover their supposed costs?

Could There Be Anything Worse?

How many additional children and families could be assisted with the $1,000,000+ skimmed off by the IAFF?

Taking money destined for sick children is getting close to the bottom of the barrel.

Ron Kuley, longtime IAFF Muscular Dystrophy Coordinator, said on Facebook, “I am extremely proud of the work we continue to accomplish under the leadership of GP Schaitberger.”

The IAFF is now led by a cynical board purely guided by their own self-interest and their treatment of MDA fill-the-boot is the final proof.

Equally cynical affiliate leaders will shrug their shoulders or turn the other way to avoid the very inconvenient truth that we are an officially rotten union.

When the cyclone strikes, we all had plenty of warning and decided to do nothing about it.

MDA, one of Boston Local 718’s finest achievements, has been turned into just another Schaitberger fancy meal ticket.

Care About Ethics?

Then “Share” this Post.

Stop the Schaitberger Corruption.

Be a part of Saving Our Union.

Send some version of the sentence below, even a cut and paste, to the address just beneath it.

“I am a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters and I am requesting that the US DOL immediately begin to investigate allegations of corruption including illegal compensation and reckless and destructive spending by International Officers.  Thank you.”

Email to the US Department of Labor at:  olms-public@dol.gov



  • Don Jewett says:

    Sadly I can only imagine the locals saying “it’s only five percent, what’s the big deal?”. It’s a huge deal, there shouldn’t be any profit gained by the IAFF. We don’t do our job for profit!

  • Milton Painter says:

    A few years ago, someone told me the IAFF received a “kickback” from MDA, I didn’t (want to) believe it then and (really) don’t (want to) believe it now, but…..

    As someone who is retired from the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, that for as long as I can remember, consistently went back and forth each year with the Houston FD in being the largest collector of funds for MDA, if this is true it is pretty damn……. (not sure what words to use). The nickel per dollar of the $400,000+ collected in Fairfax alone represents $20,000 taken off of the grand total.

    From 2006 to 2012, I was the Station Captain at FS40; each and every year those working at our Station spent eight to ten hours every Friday thru Monday of the Labor Day weekend, “pounding the pavement” dealing with the hot humid August air collecting money for the kids. I know personally, at the of the day, my damn feet, ankles, knees and back hurt so bad I could barely walk when the day ended, but it was (and still is) for a good cause. The typical amount by Station 40 alone over those four collection days averaged over $40,000 per year. Each year, in trying to do my part to motivate those at Station 40 to collect, I would remind them, that the $40,000 that we collect only pays for one wheelchair for one kid. If $2,000 of that was “scraped off the top” of the funds we collected, I guess what I told everyone was a lie, because $38,000 isn’t enough for a wheel chair.

    If this is true (hope it’s not)………….. I can’t express how pissed off I am.

    • Joel Kobersteen says:


      I can assure you that, at least in the 10 years that I have been involved in Fairfax County’s effort, 100% of Fairfax County’s collections go to Greater Washington MDA. Not to the IAFF and not to the MDA HQ. I certainly didn’t make that change, so I have to believe that arrangement has been in place for many years preceding me.

      I do know that not every jurisdiction has the same arrangement where all of their money stays in their local area, but Fairfax County does.

      Milton, you and I have long spoken frankly about issues we saw around the local and department, but this is not one that Fairfax County is involved in.

      Hope you are well.

    • Eric Lamar says:


      The simple fact is that Schaitberger runs the MDA as a for-profit IAFF business netting $1.4 million a year when he shakes them down.

      $1.4 million could help a lot of kids and families.

      All you will hear from those in positions of authority is silence.

      They just want you to forget about it.


  • Eric Lamar says:

    Of course, what Joel fails to say is that Greater Washington MDA then sends money to MDA which then sends money to the IAFF.

    You can dress it all up in a fancy disguise but it is all still there and it isn’t pretty.

  • Jeremy says:

    I see a lot of accusations and no proof of anything. Do you have any to back up these claims?

  • Glenn says:

    Prove it Eric Lamar. Every fill the boot or other fundraiser, the money is deposited by MDA. Where is your proof. No proof , no story. You’re a sad sour grape.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      Prove what? The IAFF admitted that they receive over one million from MDA. I don’t eat grapes.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      Prove it? Dude, it’s on the IAFF website. Smell the coffee.

      refuse to accept the simple fact that IAFF gets a $1.4 million kick-back from MDA.

      It’s nothing more than a Schaitberger shakedown.

      $1.4 million could help a lot of kids and families.

  • Joel Kobersteen says:

    After consulting with Greater Washington MDA, I have been assured that none of Fairfax County’s collections go to National MDA or to the IAFF. All of the money is used for the DC area camp, MDA clinics at Children’s National Medical Center & Georgetown Hospital, the durable medical goods loaner closet, research and, in the spirit of transparency, the operating costs of the Greater Washington MDA office, staff and fundraising costs.

  • Mike Mohler says:

    Prove it? Sour Grapes? I understand the angst created by this blog but I don’t see anyone but Ron Kuley say it’s the cost of going business. Yes the mere posting of this information will have a negative impact on our cherished relationship with MDA. But what if the allegations are true? Shouldn’t light be shined on this alleged impropriety to end pilfering of the trust established solely for those stricken by Muscular Dystrophy? I believe Eric’s blog provides a valuable public service and I totally believe in freedom of the press. Yes even FOX news as much as it pains me to say it. Instead of condemning the messenger, everyone should be asking the IAFF for FULL disclosure addressing all of these allegations.

    • Eric Lamar says:


      The refuse to accept the simple fact that IAFF gets a $1.4 million kick-back from MDA.

      It’s nothing more than a Schaitberger shakedown.

      $1.4 million could help a lot of kids and families.


  • Eric Lamar says:


    Have you asked a question in such a way to get the answer you wanted?

    Isn’t the question quite simple: Does Greater Washington MDA send funds to National MDA?


  • Eric Lamar says:

    Do you trust Ron Kuley? He says what I said: IAFF collects $26M for MDA and gets around $1M back. (nickel on a buck) I just said what he said and I’m not believable? BTW, Ron is lowballing, it’s way more than a million. I am always conservative in my statements and have at least two sources for everything I write. Neither you nor anyone else can point to a single instance where I have been wrong–not a single one.

  • John Crabbe says:

    While what you say may be true, you provide more rhetoric than fact. Since financial records are available to all members where is your line item proof of this? As others have stated, what is raised goes to the local MDA chapter. Firefighters and the IAFF are not the sole fundraisers either, but there is a cost of business the MDA incurs to. As for kickbacks, I’m leery to agree with you. If you have solid proof, bring this up to your district VP as well as formulate a resolution to discuss this at the next convention.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      They will not break out MDA income.

      Listed as part of Non-per cap dues in magazine.

      Do you trust Ron Kuley, longtime MDA coordinator?

      He says what I said: IAFF collects $26M for MDA and gets around $1M back.

      (nickel on a buck)

      I just said what he said and I’m not believable?

      BTW, Ron is lowballing, it’s way more than a million.

      I am always conservative in my statements and have at least two sources for everything I write.

      Neither you nor anyone else can point to a single instance where I have been wrong–not a single one.

      – See more at: http://www.turnoutblog.com/2015/08/28/iaff-corruption-shaking-down-jerrys-kids/#sthash.un5QgFPn.dpuf

      • John Crabbe says:

        I don’t trust Ron nor do I trust you. What I do trust is the union and the system in place to question things. I for one would not be going off a report in the magazine because that does not present the full budget in whole. You can request a copy from the IAFF treasurer to find where the money is and to question it. I further believe that if you have such a strong hankering this is going on, then bring it up to your district VP as well as draft a resolution to discuss this at convention. If this is going on as you say them a resolution can make it stop. After all that is where business gets done, not yammering on social media.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      You have no idea what you are talking about. The IAFF receives $1.4 million a year from MDA, the very charity they are supposed to be helping. It’s a shakedown, period. That $1.4 million could help a lot of kids and families. Doesn’t that piss you off or do you jut rationalize it away?

  • Joel Kobersteen says:

    I asked the question exactly like that. I’m sorry you didn’t get the answer *you* wanted. You are welcome to call GWMDA at 703-476-5780 and ask them however you wish. Ask for Janice Reardon who is my contact, the Director of Business Development and former Executive Director. The current Executive Director is on extended sick leave.

  • John Crabbe says:

    It is called a process in which you don’t seem to respect. That in itself lays suspect to your credibility in this matter. You don’t se to be able to provide hard facts, just hearsay. The best process to get to the outcome you want is to go through the process. Since this is a business matter it needs to be discussed at convention and have a resolution drafted. If you don’t trust your DVP contact another. If you truly care about the union, you would respect the process. If you are correct in your assertion then in order to address this is a resolution.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      This just in: our union is corrupt. Nobody cares what happens in Washington. By the way, If you think IAFF delegates at convention or otherwise actually have a say in what goes on, you are delusional.

      • John Crabbe says:

        Delusional? Take a look in the mirror Eric. You have come to conclusions without providing solid facts, all you’ve been providing is rhetoric and hearsay. You say the union is corrupt, you say delegates have no say, well gues what, there is a process which spells out directly how to address such issues, a process you don’t respect. Delusional? No Eric, if you want changes and action taken respect the process because all you have right now is your ranting and raving and quickly losing respect to be taken seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *