When Joe Monaghan started DannyGokeyGear.com — a site that sells "designer eyewear worn by Danny Gokey" and promises to donate a percentage of the proceeds to Gokey's charity, Sophia's Heart — he failed to get the "American Idol" contestant's blessing, though he "felt that Danny would really want this." Turns out, he was wrong.
On Monday (June 15), just hours after MTV News published a story about the Gokey Gear site, Danny Gokey took to his Twitter account to address the issue, calling into question many of Monaghan's claims, indirectly calling his site and others like it "scams."
"Many companies r claiming 2 partner w/ Sophia's Heart (clothes, eyewear, etc)," Gokey wrote. "They r all SCAMS. We have not seen 1 penny nor been contacted."
Hoping to clarify the confusion — after all, Monaghan had told MTV News that he had contacted the Sophia's Heart Foundation about making a donation — we forwarded him Gokey's message. And needless to say, he disagreed with the singer's allegations.
"It really aches to hear him say that. We have made contact with SHF ... it seems he has ignored that e-mail," Monaghan wrote in an e-mail. "Also, their donation system is down. I attempted a donation this evening and the system replied that 'An Error Occurred' And 'An Email has been sent to our team about this issue.' So, I guess we will have to wait until they fix it to make our donation."
Monaghan also sent MTV News an e-mail he received from the Sophia's Heart Foundation — dated May 28 — which seems to back up his claims that he had contacted the charity.
"Thank you for your support and interest in Sophia's Heart Foundation. Your desire to help out the foundation is greatly appreciated," the e-mail reads. "We are excited about our future. Together, we can touch the lives of countless children, youth and families."
Monaghan also said that the reason Sophia's Heart had not received any money from him yet — aside from the whole "Error" problem — was because he and FramesDirect.com (the company he partnered with to sell Gokey-like frames) had agreed to donate proceeds only at the end of a 60-day period, from May 24 to July 21. A spokesperson for FramesDirect backed that assertion and told MTV News that her company has made three separate attempts to contact Sophia's Heart but has yet to hear back from the charity.
A spokesperson for Danny Gokey could not be reached for comment on the matter, but according to Monaghan, his intention has never been to scam anyone. After speaking to MTV News yesterday, he added a banner at the top of DannyGokeyGear.com that makes it very clear that his site is "NOT affiliated with Danny Gokey," and he said that Sophia's Heart will be getting a check from him on or around July 22.
"The plan was to make the donation at the end of the 60-day period anyway," Monaghan wrote. "It really is unfortunate that the bloggers and forums twisted this and blew it out of proportion."