March 11, 2007 -- Cordell Whitlock - The
founder of an organization dedicated to the fight against breast cancer is under
investigation by its board of directors. Michael Katz, who started the Judy Ride
Foundation in 1999, is alleged to have taken money from the foundation.
Katz said he has never taken a dime from the charity that started in 1998 as a small group of spinners raising money for breast cancer prevention and detection. It has since turned into a huge event.
In 2006, the Judy Ride included over 500 participants who helped raise over $200,000.
Katz started the Judy Ride and subsequent foundation in honor of his mother who lost her battle against breast cancer in 1995.
Katz said he decided to create a board of directors in 2001 as the foundation grew. The board is now investigating Katz for allegedly taking money from the foundation.
"If somebody's got a direct allegation, accuse me. The bottom line is, I never took or misappropriated anything and that's what it come down to: my word versus their word," said Katz.
Katz said in December, two board members came to his Clayton law office, and with his approval took all of the Judy Ride files along with files from his computer.
Katz said the investigation has affected donations to the Judy Rode and he blames the board for creating what he calls an unnecessary burden for the charity.
"Instead of saving lives, I'm afraid these particular actions will take lives. That, to me, is the worst part about this entire process," said Katz.
Board Chairman Edward Throop released a statement, saying:
"As Directors for a public charity, we, alongside our supporters and the women we serve, are entitled to the truth so that we can continue our mission of winning the fight against breast cancer."
Katz said the Judy Ride will take place this October, but he has no plans on working with the board members who initiated the investigation.