A charity formed to benefit the victims of the Newtown school shooting is unable to account for more than $70,000 in donations.
The Nashville charity 26.4.26 raises money through marathons with exactly 26 runners to commemorate the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.
The charity’s co-founders, Ryan Graney and Robbie Bruce, started the organization on Dec. 22, 2012, and held their first marathon a week after the tragedy.
Graney said of the $103,000 the charity raised, only $30,000 was used for the foundation’s purposes. She added that they formed the nonprofit with virtually no overhead with the express purpose of giving the vast majority of the money they raised to Sandy Hook.
She claims Bruce was in charge of the finances and presented the rest of the money they raised to the nonprofit NYA, a youth sports center in Newtown, last January.
Graney said she realized something was wrong last spring, when she found suspicious charges to the nonprofit’s PayPal account.
"I saw there was $1,200 billed for paddle boards," she said. "I went on (Bruce's) Instagram page, and he had posted a picture of a paddle board in the back of his truck."
She claims she tried to meet with Bruce about the charges, but he never showed up.
She says he cut off all contact with her in September. He did not returned phone calls from The Associated Press.
"I am in tears, sick about this," Graney said Friday.
She’s filed complaints with both the FBI and the Tennessee attorney general’s office.
"If I knew what was going on, I would have stopped it sooner," she added. "I feel terrible. I couldn't sit by and let this happen. "She hopes the publicity will get the money where it belongs.
Bruce is also the co-founder of a Nashville fitness training company called X3 Endurance. His co-founder Eddie Ferrell says that Bruce left the company almost a year ago and his whereabouts are unknown.
"You think you have a great idea, you really hope people do it, but you don’t believe it until you actually see it. Never in my life have I seen anything like what happened over those five day," Bruce told The Tennessean about 26.4.26 in January 2013.