Survivor Lunch Lady lied about her job

I am a "Survivor" addict. I have loved the show since CBS aired the very first episode. The season ended on Sunday night, and I was appalled at what I thought was one of the most hurtful things ever said by a contestant. In reference to Denise Martin, one of the other players quipped that she shouldn't get the million-dollar prize "just because you suck at life."

The player was making reference to Denise's description of herself as "The Lunch Lady." She said that after the show was over, she'd go back to making $7 an hour, and that Survivor was her only chance to do something more with her life.

As it turns out, Denise has a little bit of apologizing to do. She didn't win the million dollars, but during the finale, she told everyone that she had been demoted from "Lunch Lady" to janitor. She went through an elaborate explanation about how her supervisor thought working the lunchroom would be too distracting for the children, so she was made a janitor.Mark Burnett, Survivor's producer, gave Denise $50,000 to help her family after hearing this story.

Except the story wasn't true. It has now been revealed that Denise was actually promoted to custodian prior to going on Survivor. Her promotion to custodian came with better pay and better benefits. The school district gave her time off to go on Survivor. Denise has now said: "It was not my intention to be misleading. I'm sorry, and I apologize to everybody."

Sorry, what was said on the show wasn't misleading. It was an outright lie. Denise is going to be donating the $50,000 to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I'm glad she's giving up the money. These types of stories sadden me because they eat away at the trust we have in one another's honesty. I am so disappointed in Denise.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.
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