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Woman Behind Firefighters Calendar Charity Event Under Investigation

DENVER (CBS4) - The woman behind a charity event that's the talk of the town every year in Denver is now the subject of an investigation.

CBS4 has learned about questions into the finances of the group that puts out the annual Colorado Firefighter Calendar which raises money for the burn unit at The Children's Hospital. The release of the calendar each year involves much fanfare, including the bare-chested firefighters walking on the catwalk before a big Denver crowd.

Investigators with Denver police and the district attorney's office now want to know if money from the calendar sales that was meant for young patients was diverted to Kirsten Hamling, the founder of Fired Up for Kids. A source close to the investigation says the funds in question could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, or maybe even higher.

Hamling has resigned from her role with Fired Up for Kids and hired an attorney. That lawyer wouldn't make any comments about the case on Tuesday night but said there will be a news conference on Wednesday.

When CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger went to the home of Hamling seeking comment her husband met him at the door.

"She's not home. I have no idea what you're talking about," Hamling's husband told Sallinger as he shut the door.

Sallinger spoke Tuesday with the president of the charity's volunteer board, who says he resigned along with the rest of the board. One staff member wrote a letter to the Secretary of State's office saying, "At no time did I have any connection to the financial workings of Fired Up for Kids, Inc., as possibly alleged in the Articles of Incorporation."

The calendars have been around for years, but Fired Up for Kids took over the project in 2007. In 2009 Dave Rosier with the Thornton Fire Department told CBS that the firefighters who participate in the calendar photo shoots "get the opportunity to go to the Children's burn center and Children's Hospital and get to see firsthand what they do in benefit to these children."

A spokesman for the Denver Fire Department says he's shocked by the allegations. Some Denver firefighters are in the calendar, but the department has nothing to do with the charity.

Hamling was once named Colorado Businesswoman of the Year. She has her own public relations company called Traction.

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