An Omaha nonprofit group that taught kids to fish has abruptly gone under. The founder of the organization says there's a good reason, but some volunteers say they've been caught off guard.
The excitement of that first catch. Three thousand kids know that feeling, thanks to the Go Fishing Omaha clinics. “I'd like to see this program survive because of all the kids it helps in the city of Omaha,” says former volunteer Bryan Heckman. But the nonprofit has shut down and Heckman is fishing for answers. “What's going to happen to all the equipment that was donated by individuals, the state of Nebraska and other groups?”
Go Fishing Omaha founder Carl Brown tells Fact Finders his medical issues have forced him to quit and the board voted to disband. The big fish in this now disbanded nonprofit says about 60 donated rods and reels and other assorted tackle will be given to some other group, perhaps the Boy Scouts.
A former board member says her questions go deeper. “I do think somebody should look into the finances because there's a lot of questions and when you are donating something to the group you don't know where it’s going,” says former board member Gina Marchio.
Then there's a statement from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that says, "Brown is no longer a certified volunteer fishing instructor and is no longer to represent himself in any association with the Nebraska Game and Parks Youth Fishing Program."
“It’s kind of suspicious,” says Heckman. “I want to know what's going on.”
Brown says he's always took the kids smiles to heart, but now his heart is just too weak and that's the only reason why he's pulled the plug on the nonprofit group. Brown declined to be interviewed, but says he's asked Game and Parks for an explanation as to why he's been decertified as a volunteer fishing instructor. So far, there's been no response.