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Investigation of car club continues

A Reazon II Roll club fundraiser for an injured girl is still under scrutiny.

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 31, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- For months, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office has been investigating whether a local car club bilked thousands of dollars from the family of a little girl who was struck by a truck in November 1998.

The probe centers on funds collected by the Reazon II Roll car club during a donation drive in late 1998, ostensibly to help pay medical bills for first-grader Brittany Micklo, who suffered brain damage in the accident outside Fox Hollow Elementary School.

Car club members estimated $1,500 to $3,000 was raised, though Brittany's mother, Victoria Cooper, said she received only $20 of it. Club co-founder Ray Pennetti Sr. told the Times much of the money was spent on the club itself, for things such as barbecues, a New Year's Eve party and car repairs.

The investigation was prompted by a Times article in April detailing the controversy. On April 12, days after the article was published, someone filed a complaint about the situation with the Sheriff's Office prompting the agency to officially launch the inquiry, said sheriff's spokesman Jon Powers.

Powers said no arrests have been made. "We are actively looking into it," Powers said, but declined to comment further.

Cooper said it's still difficult to tell how well her daughter, who is now 8, can recover from her brain damage. "Her learning process is just very slow," she said. "It's hard to tell what's going to happen to her."

Cooper said she holds Ray Pennetti Sr., and his son, Ray Pennetti Jr., the club's former president, accountable for the disappearance of the donated money. "It just disgusts me that they did this," she said. "I've tried to help the investigator as much as I can."

She added: "I want them put in jail. I want them put away."

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