The International Boxing Club is getting a bad name, through no fault of its own.
The IBC, formerly located at the Andrews River East Building in East Toledo, has ran into a new problem since its move downtown.
East Toledo native and Waite graduate Harry Cummins, executive director of the IBC, now located at 1717 Adams St., wants area residents to know that the IBC does not go door-to-door for its fundraising efforts. Nor do IBC members stand outside area businesses asking people for donations.
That is being done by what Cummins called a "gang" impersonating the IBC.
"This is big-time," Cummins said. "We have the police involved."
Cummins alleges the "ringleader" is an ex-convict named Eddie Smith, who also goes by the name Frank White. Cummins said Smith/White is a black male in his mid- to late-30s.
"He has been arrested for impersonating other charities," Cummins said. "He drives a large white van and he's been seen dropping kids off in areas. This has been going on for two years. We have gotten so many calls from businesses saying that they're going to call the police on us and we'd better get our kids out of their location.
"These (imposters) are rude, and they've swung at people. I had one lady call who said they swung at her."
Cummins said the impersonators are selling candles to raise money on behalf of the IBC. He said they have been seen canvassing neighborhoods in Oregon, east Toledo, south Toledo, Perrysburg and Sylvania.
"They're giving us a bad name," Cummins said. "These (imposters) are 16, 17, 18 years old. Some of them are in their 20s. We were on Channel 11, on the live at 6 o'clock news and at 7, and this guy (Smith/White) shows up at our gym. Right away he said, 'It's not me.' I've had kids tell me it's this guy. They've got a gang, with about 50 kids involved. They're throughout the entire city."
Cummins said no one involved with the IBC is selling candles.
"Our guys really don't know too much about it," he said. "Our kids are in our gym training. We aren't doing any fundraising. We've done some, but nothing like that. When we do a fundraiser, we always have an adult with the kids and we have a tripod with a sign explaining that the IBC is a non-profit organization and a legitimate organization. We only do that maybe twice a year."
Cummins said that even he "got hit up" for a donation outside a local Target store. The IBC is also using Sylvania Chief Prosecutor Robert Pyzik as a witness. On Feb. 7, Pyzik was asked for a donation by the IBC impersonators outside a Petco store at Talmadge and Monroe streets.
Cummins said local residents who are approached at their home or at a business by anyone saying they are raising money for the IBC should call Toledo Police Detective Bob Schroeder.
"We're very organized and we have a good reputation," Cummins said. "I'm really touched that people are willing to help the IBC, but they're giving money to the wrong organization."