Vindication for the Little People Association, after the judge ruled that the Cluj-based charity with a nationwide reach had been a victim of gross libel on the part of Crisan Pop Vlad Adrian. Pop was ordered by Judecatoria Cluj-Napoca to publish the ruling and thus publicly apologise for his behavior over the past two years, actions, which have cost Little People, who have been helping Romanian children with cancer for nearly 20 years, hundreds of thousands of euros in lost donations and sponsorships.
“We are thankful that the justice system in Romania has supported the truth and exposed the utter slanderous and deceitful actions of Crisan Pop Vlad Adrian. Little People helps two thousand children being treated for cancer every year in Romania. We are one of the few Cluj-based NGOs that have a nationwide reach and annually we help more cancer patients than any other organisation in Romania. It has wasted our time and resources dealing with Vlad Pop’s aggression and it has taken a huge toll on our staff and also upon us personally. Little People have lost sponsorships as a result of his smear campaign and we are still in disbelief that such things have taken place. We are even more appalled that while he was slandering Little People he was welcomed as a fundraiser for another NGO, discrediting our name to the very same collaborators and sponsors he then asked money from in the name of the new organisation.” Katie Rizvi, director of Little People Romania.
Pop’s campaign against the Little People began in 2014, soon after he had been dismissed by the organisation for ongoing misconduct. Pop made unauthorised use of Little People’s materials to fundraise and was also caught using a Little People email account to solicit funding one and a half years after he was dismissed from the organisation and blocked from Little People’s servers. There is a separate on-going criminal trial related to these actions in Tribunalul Cluj.
Pop then went further by sending out emails purporting to be from ANAF itself that also misinformed two Cluj newspapers and resulted in subsequent articles appearing with slanderous claims alleging to Little People misusing donations and being under investigation by ANAF. He then personally sent links of the news stories to Little People’s donors, friends, partners and even beneficiaries. In fact, the email was not from ANAF (a fact confirmed shortly afterwards by the tax authorities). A later ANAF audit of the Little People found no evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, ANAF’s anti-fraud department gave the Little People a clean bill of health. A gagging order was also issued against Pop, forbidding him any further slander aimed at the Little People cancer charity.
His brutal attack on the Little People organisation and the work they do with children who are suffering from cancer continued for several months with Pop actively targeting any new sponsor of the organisation by sending group level executives the fake ANAF email.
“We are a fully transparent organisation,” said Oana Rusu operational manager “We have made a point of being open with everyone: our sponsors, our staff, our stakeholders. We provide full annual reports online for all to see. This is one of the reasons we always knew that the law would prevail. We have done nothing wrong. It is a shame that we have had to go to court to prove that.”
Incredibly, Pop is currently fundraising for another charity working with children suffering from cancer, based in Bucharest. A charity, which while fully aware of all the above, has showed no intention to discontinue working with him.
Pop is also part of another criminal court case against him for allegedly attacking two public transport workers with pepper spray onboard a Cluj city bus in 2015.
“The real victims in this case are the children suffering from cancer” said Shajjad Rizvi, the British founder of Little People and founder and director of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce in Cluj. “No court decision can give Little People back the money needed for their work in childhood cancer hospitals nationwide. Often potential sponsors are misled by the news articles based on Vlad Pop’s false accusations. I would like to encourage the NGO and the sponsors that backed Vlad Pop over the past two years to give that money to Little People and support the services that suffered through the destructive actions of this person. His aggressive and hostile assails hurt the very children and families he still alleges to be fundraising for and appears to be supporting. We are deeply indignant that one person’s false accusations were able to go this far but acknowledge that many sponsors and donors, indeed members of civil society as well, were victims of Mr. Pop’s malicious deceit. It is our responsibility however to encourage civil society leaders and people in positions at CSR and marketing departments not to tolerate or support such behaviors.”