Time's running out for producer to make donation
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
An elusive Hollywood producer is vowing to make good on his promise to give Hartselle two new fire trucks and other equipment and the city is giving him two weeks to come through on a portion of his pledge.
Wayne Heyman-Hanks contacted Hartselle's Fire Department in March, offering to donate two pumper trucks–a gift of some $1.1 million–and some $30,000 for new turnout gear. In return, the city was required to hire three new firefighters. Shortly after the offer, however, Hanks ended contact with the departments and didn't meet deadlines for the donation. He also failed to meet promises with other fire departments, leading some to say they believed the donation was a hoax.
It wasn't, according to Hanks, who contacted Fire Chief Steve Shelton on Tuesday.
"He (Hanks) said he wanted us to know he was still there and he took the blame for a breakdown in the communications process," Shelton said. "He said he was good for it (the donation.)
Shelton said the city was ready to order and pay for the turnout gear, but have decided to wait two weeks to see if Hanks' check arrives.
"I told him (Hanks) that all departments in the state were looking at what happens here. If he comes through now, we will all feel a lot better about the rest," Shelton said. "If it (the check) doesn't arrive, we're going ahead with our plans."
Shelton said Hanks blamed the delays on health and business problems.
The city has not included the new firefighters in its budget and services won't be affected even if Hanks fails to follow through on this latest promise.
"The thing I want to stress is that we're not out any money because of him and that whether we receive this donation or not, we're still going to be providing the same level of services," Shelton said.