August 24, 2012
HOLIDAY, Fla. – Kids Wish Network, an international charitable organization that has been making dreams come true for hundreds of thousands of children all over the world for more than 15 years, today filed a civil lawsuit against ex-employee Meanda Dubay for breach of contract and defamation arising out of libelous and slanderous statements made to the media in January and February 2012, shortly after she was terminated by Kids Wish Network for misconduct and breach of confidentiality.
Ms. Dubay, who has been the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Pasco County Sheriff’s office and the FBI since December 2011, was discovered to have systematically illegally downloaded confidential company data files and records from Kids Wish Network as far back as June 29, 2011. Ms. Dubay was terminated on January 3, 2012, after an internal company investigation confirmed the allegations. At this time, Kids Wish Network does not believe that any information from Kids Wish Network’s partner organizations, nor about the children they serve, has been compromised in any way.
“Our small team has always been devoted to the children we serve – our dedication and commitment to our children is what drives us. This unfortunate violation by one of our former employees has been a distraction, but our top priority has and will continue to be ensuring that the tens of thousands of children in whose lives we are making an impact every day are not affected by the selfishness of one ex-employee,” said Anna Lanzatella, Executive Director of Kids Wish Network.
Kids Wish Network is dedicated to its mission of infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children who are experiencing life-altering situations.
Based on signed statements from eyewitnesses, it appears that Ms. Dubay had been planning for months to bring about the demise of Kids Wish Network, including orchestrating a news story with false and misleading information that was inaccurate and incomplete. Ms. Dubay supplemented her information to the media with innuendos and suppositions that were aimed at maligning the charity with the intention of harming future fundraising efforts, thus allowing her to carry out a plan to launch her own competing charity with the confidential information that was illegally obtained.
Kids Wish Network has taken steps to ensure that partner organizations are aware of the information breach in the event that Ms. Dubay attempts to contact them as a representative of Kids Wish Network.
Ms. Dubay had initially alleged to the press that she was a “whistleblower” who was fired for retaliatory purposes after sending information to the Board of Directors, which identified a clerical error in Kids Wish Network’s tax filings and made false allegations against members of the Board and staff. This claim is without merit, as her termination was set in motion several weeks prior to her letter, which was delivered after she was fired. Kids Wish Network was already in the midst of a previously scheduled third-party audit of their records, which identified the non-material reporting error. The allegations against members of the Board and staff have all proven false, and any clerical errors found through the auditing process have been revised in appropriate tax documents.
“Kids Wish Network intends to vigorously pursue the prosecution of Ms. Dubay, since the damaging effects of her manipulative allegations are still impacting the charity’s fundraising efforts and relationships with collaborating organizations,” said Tampa attorney Kevin Ambler, who is representing the charity. “Kids Wish Network has requested in its lawsuit that the Court issue an immediate injunction against Ms. Dubay to preclude any further unauthorized disclosures of its confidential information.”
See also Kids Wish Network’s response to a donor advisory posted by Charity Navigator following Ms. Dubay’s outreach to the media with false and misleading information at: https://www.kidswishnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/Charity-Navigator-Donor-Advisory-Issuance-Committee.pdf.
Notice: The view expressed in this Press Release and characterizations of certain events are intended to reflect the opinions of Kids Wish Network, and its authorized agents, based on available information at the time the Press Release was issued. Kids Wish Network reserves the right to update and/or revise its views and opinions based on any new and/or additional information it may receive in the future relating to the contents of this Press Release.