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Man Insists He Didn't Sell Kidney

A man who gave up one of his kidneys in response to a commercial Web site solicitation said Tuesday he would be willing to take a lie detector test to show he did not sell the organ, despite claims to the contrary.

"I'm being treated like garbage by the media and I haven't even committed a crime," said Rob Smitty, 32.

In an Oct. 20 operation in Colorado, Smitty gave a kidney to a man who had needed a transplant since 1999 due to kidney disease.

The recipient, Bob Hickey, met Smitty through, a Web site created to match donors and recipients for a fee. Hickey paid the Web site $295 a month for three months to post his plea.

Both men have said there was no payment for the kidney, which would be a violation of federal law. There are no laws against soliciting an organ.

By finding Smitty, Hickey avoided a waiting list maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit group with a government contract to allocate all organs from the dead.

Smitty, of Chattanooga, said Hickey has written him checks of $950, $700 and $1,400 to help cover expenses and to compensate for time he has missed at work. Smitty said he was unsure how much additional compensation he would get.

"There is no contract," he said. Smitty said that in response to the many claims he has been paid for the kidney, "If I can reduce that number by taking a lie-detector test, I will."

Monique Kelso, spokeswoman in the FBI's Denver office, said the agency has not investigated the kidney transplant for any possible federal law violations.

"We haven't received any information or any complaints," she said.

After the transplant, news surfaced that Smitty was being sought on a civil warrant for failing to pay child support.

He said Tuesday that he would attend a court hearing Thursday on his $8,100 child support and medical payment debt.

"I've had cuffs put on me before and I may have them put on me again," he said. "I think it'll make them look bad to put a man who just donated a kidney in jail.

"If they are looking for perfect people to donate organs, they're not going to find anyone," he said. "There are none out there."
By Bill Poovey

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