(CNSNews.com) -- Both conservative talk-radio host Sean Hannity and a charity for wounded veterans that he supports refuted a posting by a blogger who cited an unnamed source who, in turn, cited an unnamed "guy" at Fox News Channel in suggesting that the charity used some of its donations to pay lavish expenses supposedly incurred by Hannity.
The Freedom Alliance, which raises money to help wounded veterans and fund scholarships for the children of slain soldiers, issued a statement saying the allegations by blogger Debbie Schlussel were “false and malicious.” The charity further said that Hannity “pays for all his own transportation, hotels, and all related expenses for himself and his family and friends and staff,” and that he “does not use any Freedom Alliance Funds or [Freedom] Concert funds in any way, period.”
In a statement e-mailed to CNSNews.com, Hannity said: “The statement posted by the Freedom Alliance is 100% truthful and accurate. I have NOT taken a single penny from the Freedom Alliance or from concert sales EVER! I pay all the travel costs for my staff, family and me, and I have personally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the FA and military charities. I have done this because providing scholarship money for children of slain heroes is a cause I truly believe in and am passionate about.”
In her Mar. 18 blog, Schlussel described the Freedom Alliance charity and the Freedom Concerts--the latter help raise money for the charity and are promoted and attended by Hannity--as “all a huge scam,” and she entitled her article, “Sean Hannity’s Freedom CONcert Scam.”
In the blog, Schlussel, who is a Detroit-based attorney, said that among the money raised by Freedom Alliance, “millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style.”
Schlussel further said that she received a written message in February 2009 from “a well-known conservative writer, about a friend at FOX News,” who claimed that more money generated by the concerts would go to help the children of the charity “if Hannity did not demand – and get – use of a Gulfstream 5 plane to fly him and his family/entourage to the concerts.”
The unnamed source, citing an unnamed "guy" at Fox News Channel, went on to say that Freedom Concert charity money is used to pay for “a ‘fleet’ (that’s the word the guy used) of either Cadillac or Lincoln SUVs for him [Hannity] and his family/entourage. The promoter apparently values Hannity’s star demands at well over $200,000 per event. The source says he heard that Oliver North pulled Hannity aside at one of the concerts and told him that this had to stop. But that may mean that, from now on, Hannity has to fly on a G4 instead of a G5, gets only a few luxury SUVs, and two or three suites.”
Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North (Ret.) is the founder and honorary chairman of the Freedom Alliance.
The Freedom Alliance denounced the allegations by Schlussel in its Mar. 18 statement, calling them an “outrageous slander” against Hannity and noting that the Alliance “has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean.”
The Alliance also disclosed that Hannity “has contributed $100,000 to the Wounded Warriors Foundation, over $200,000 to the Freedom Alliance, and over tens of thousands of dollars to other military charities and individuals.”
CNSNews.com asked Debbie Schlussel in an e-mail, “What source do you have to show that the Freedom Alliance or the Freedom Concerts paid any of Sean Hannity’s expenses in relation to the charity work the Alliance and the Concerts performed?”
CNSNews.com also asked Schlussel if she were relying on the unnamed source of February 2009 for the allegations against Hannity, and whether she would name the source, the “well-known conservative writer.”
Schlussel responded: “As you know, my main source for all of this are the tax forms from 2006-2008. The tax forms don't lie, but Freedom Alliance does. And the charity, if it were honest, would disclose all of its expenses and to whom they were paid. They have yet to do so.”
“I have much more on this scam, including confirmation of the Oliver North/Sean Hannity conversation about what was being billed to the Freedom Concerts, and will be writing about it on my site with more and more facts in the coming days, in several stories I'm writing on this,” said Schlussel. “You can read it there.”
Schlussel did not name the source who sent her the message citing the unnamed "guy" at Fox News who claimed that Hannity had run-up big expenses on the tab of the Freedom Concerts, and the tax forms in question do not disclose in itemized detail who received money for expenses. But both the Freedom Alliance and Sean Hannity have flatly denied the unsourced and unsubstantiated claims by Schlussel.
Further, Freedom Alliance President Thomas P. Kilgannon told CNSNews.com that if the expenses were itemized, they would only confirm what the organization and Hannity have already said.
“The only thing we provide to Sean is our thanks and gratitude for the help and support he gives to the troops and to our organization,” said Kilgannon.
The Freedom Alliance is a non-profit, charitable group that honors and encourages military service. It raises money through the Freedom Concerts and from direct solicitation to support wounded veterans and help provide scholarships for the children of slain soldiers. It also holds many “Support Out Troops” events each year and operates a “Leadership Academy” for high school students interested in military service.