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Those impacted by Club Q mass shooting speak out against alleged mismanagement of donated funds

Club Q presser
Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 14, 2023

DENVER – It’s been nearly three months since five people were killed and dozens more were injured in a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.

Management announced Monday they plan to fully reopen the LGBTQ club by fall 2023. They also announced their plan to distribute donated funds to employees and entertainers beginning Friday, Feb. 17.

When the Club Q tragedy happened in November, donations poured in from all over the world to several organizations, such as the Colorado Healing Fund, and GoFundMe fundraisers, including one started by Club Q's owners. But some people impacted by the tragedy are speaking out against the way they say those donations are being distributed, both by the club's owners and the Colorado Healing Fund.

Several Club Q victims came together for a press conference Tuesday at the Colorado State Capitol to voice their frustrations.

Denver7 spoke with Hysteria Brooks, a producer and entertainer at Club Q, who says they have yet to see any money from Club Q's official GoFundMe page. The fundraiser has collected more than $55,000 as of publication.

In their announcement Monday, Club Q management clarified that their GoFundMe is "managed internally and at the sole discretion of Club Q management." The objectives of the fundraiser, according to management, are to:

  • Ensure employees, as well as third-party entertainment contractors, "did not suffer a reduction of income due to the sudden closure of Club Q"
  • Fund a "permanent standing tribute to honor those we lost, the survivors of the attack, and the thousands affected"
  • "Rebuild and return Club Q back to the Colorado Springs LGBTQIA+"

Employees and entertainers will receive money from the official ClubQ GoFundMe based on their historic average of net monthly earnings, according to the club. Management will determine the net monthly earnings for each employee and entertainer, and then distribute up to three months wages in a single, lump sum payment.

Brooks says three month's salary is not enough considering what they've been through.

"This was a mass shooting. A lot of the employees and contractors were there that night, a lot of them watched our friends die, a lot of them walked over bodies. And there's a lot of trauma that follows through that," said Brooks. "Not only that, a lot of the employees were physically injured, they were harmed during the shooting. So they have medical bills. Now everybody's in therapy because of it."

Ashtin Gamblin, who was the greeting guests at Club Q's front door the night of the shooting, says she was shot several times and is still recovering from her injuries.

"We can't survive on 'no' or somebody else's decisions on what is and isn't covered. It's our decision. We know what we need, and we can't do this. We are asking everybody to please stand with us," Gamblin said.

Adriana Vance, mother of Raymond Green Vance, who was killed in the shooting, also spoke during the press conference.

She was critical of the Colorado Healing Fund, the nonprofit handling a bulk of the disbursements for Club Q victims, saying her family hasn’t received money from the fund.

"The Colorado Healing Fund raised funds on the behalf of my son and the victims and their families. The community and people across the world donated thinking that dollars were going to come to the people who deserve it. And that's not the case," said Adriana.

The Colorado Healing Fund told Denver7 they've distributed 86% of the donated funds as of Tuesday — equating to roughly $1.9 million of the $2.2 million that has been collected, according to the nonprofit.

CHF officials said the rest is being held for long-term needs, adding that 100% of the donations will go to those impacted.

Brooks says several employees are demanding for 75% of the funds collected through the club's official GoFundMe go to staff and contractors instead of renovations for the club.

"We personally believe that people should come before buildings, and as long as your staff are unsure about their future, you should not be thinking about reopening a bar. You need to take care of the people who were there every weekend welcoming guests with smiling faces, mopping the floors, cleaning the bar — those are the people you need to focus your your intentions with," said Brooks.

Denver7 reached out to Club Q's owners for a statement about Tuesday's press conference but have not heard back.

The group says it will continue to fight until they get the money they're asking for.


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