Trinity Lutheran warns GoFundMe pages are not affiliated with church fire

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 01:06:01-04

After a fire tore through a historic downtown church, officials are letting the public know some online donation pages have been set up without their consent. 

The fire at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church caused $17 million in damage. The cause is still under investigation. Watching the fire destroy Trinity was heartbreaking to so many people. 

Parishioners stopped by a day later to see what's left of their second home.

"The memories will always be etched. It's a family here," said John Daily, a former parishioner.

With that emotion tied to Trinity, the reverend for the church's district said some people are trying to raise money on their behalf, without asking.

"We are not sponsoring any of them," said Rev. Jonah Burakowski, South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

That includes a GoFundMe page that the church specifically said it was not affiliated with. A man in Arizona, Christopher Slaski is behind it. We called him up. He said it is not a scam.

Christopher Slaski said he's originally from Milwaukee and didn't see a GoFundMe site put up for the church fire, so he thought he could help. 

"I was actually going to get the money and I was going to fly up there and hand deliver it to the church myself," said Slaski.

Slaski said he has been emailed all day by people accusing him of trying to rip off the church. He took down the page and says he is in the process of refunding the $185 dollars that was donated.

 "I did not, in any way, intentionally try to cause any of this, you know. I just hope they forgive me," said Slaski.

 The church is asking anyone who wants to make a donation to do so through their official district page or mail a check to SWD-Trinity MKE Fund, 8100 West Capitol Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53222.