Poster promoting Metal Fest 3 (Source: Allen Ashbaugh)
SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A WAVE 3 Troubleshooter investigation of a heavy metal concert to benefit the American Cancer Society uncovered improper use of the ACS logo and a lack of accounting by the event's promoter.
The American Cancer Society in New York is now investigating the use of its logo by an event called Metal Fest 3, F*** Cancer, which is a local cancer fundraiser with no outside oversight and plenty of controversy. Metal Fest promoter Allen Ashbaugh said he hasn't done anything wrong.
"Dude I've never had somebody try to accuse me of anything," Ashbaugh told me. "This is out of my heart. If you don't want to believe it, I don't really give a s***."
But Ashbaugh's fundraiser is raising eyebrows, and not just for the scantily clad tattooed woman in an ad circulated by one of the bands. Ashbaugh claims he had nothing to do with the ad, even though it can be seen on his Facebook page.
Metal Fest 3, a three day heavy metal concert to benefit the American Cancer Society of North Central Kentucky, happened July 22-24 at Boondocks Grill at the Farm in Shepherdsville, KY.
"It was a family oriented atmosphere," Ashbaugh said. "There was no drunks slobbering around here. We did have a guy passed out under the tree, but he wasn't hurting nobody."
Ashbaugh promoted the event with flyers and on the internet, pledging proceeds would benefit the ACS. Russell Schuman, area director of the North Central American Cancer Society, said Metal Fest is not a good use of the American Cancer Society's name.
"To me personally, not at all," said Schuman.
Schuman's office signed off on the event, but not the profane title, racy images, or the use of the American Cancer Society logo on banners.
"Our logo is restricted, and we have a licensure agreement for it," Schuman said.
The ACS logo can now be seen in Metal Fest pictures floating around the internet and on Allen Ashbaugh's Facebook page, including one photo in which a woman is seen smoking in the foreground. That's also against the rules at benefits for the American Cancer Society.
Andrew Becker, media director for the American Cancer Society's home office in New York City, told the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter department that the licensing issues have been turned over to its legal department.
"We are concerned and are asking our lawyers to look into it," Becker wrote in an email.
Ashbaugh admits mistakes, but denies he knowingly broke the rules.
"Maybe it should have been done differently," said Ashbaugh. "But I live and learn. I ran a great show and I turned in a lot of money."
Ashbaugh donated $900 from Metal Fest to the American Cancer Society.
"But there was never a profit made," Ashbaugh said.
However, Ashbaugh has no way to prove that because there was virtually no accounting of ticket sales. He keeps a box full of ticket stubs, but no register of money collected, admitting he has no idea how much he collected from ticket sales.
Schuman said Ashbaugh told the ACS he sold 600 tickets. He told me he sold 465. Ashbaugh said he used the money from tickets sales to reimburse himself for expenses, then donated the rest, which is entirely within the law.
"There's really no way in the world to regulate some of these third part events," Schuman said.
If they did, Schumann said the ACS would have to monitor every car wash and bake sale that carried its name. Instead, Schuman said he has to rely on the honesty of the person running the event. Ashbaugh, who said he started Metal Fest so a friend dying of cancer could have a great party, said he has nothing to hide.
"Really meeting you was going to be my way to promote Metal Fest 4. Because I haven't done s*** wrong!" Ashbaugh said.
The North Central Kentucky American Cancer Society may disagree. It is now considering ending its association with Ashbaugh and Metal Fest - a fundraiser that may have raised more questions than anything else.
This is the third year Ashbaugh used the American Cancer Society's name in conjunction with Metal Fest. The first year he didn't donate anything telling the ACS his partner took off with the money. Last year, he donated about $500.
There is no evidence that Ashbaugh pocketed any money from any of his American Cancer Society fundraisers.
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