The Continuing Scandal At Air America

The New York Sun takes on the Air America story today and advances it by leaps and bounds, talking with the president of the non-profit which had its money taken by Air America founder Evan Cohen. It turns out that Cohen didn’t just get money for the netlet, but also managed to get plenty for his own pockets as well while sitting on the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club board:

Initially, members of the executive committee viewed Mr. Cohen fondly because he had thrown a tremendously successful fund-raising affair for Gloria Wise in Manhattan last year. They recalled being impressed by the wealthy clientele and the large sums of money he raised, according to Ms. Graves.
Because of that confidence in Mr. Cohen, she said, the executive committee approved two loans to Air America, one for $80,000 and another for $87,000.
Ms. Capell said she had met Mr. Cohen several times.
“He was very suave, a very wonderful young man. He left a very favorable impression,” she said in a telephone interview.
After the initial two loans, Ms. Graves said that just before the launch of Air America her organization lent the network another $213,000, authorized with a rubber stamp of her signature on a document she said she never saw. More recently, Ms. Graves said, Gloria Wise made a wire transfer of at least $400,000 to Air America without her knowledge.
In addition, according to Ms. Graves, the longtime executive director of Gloria Wise, Charles Rosen, later told the board he had lent an additional $35,000 of the organization’s funds to Mr. Cohen for medical expenses. According to Ms. Capell, the board member, Mr. Cohen told Mr. Rosen he needed $25,000 to pay for chemotherapy. Mr. Cohen told associates that he recovered from brain cancer, according to Ms. Capell. Later, Mr. Cohen asked for $10,000 – which he was lent – be cause his father, a businessman in Asia, was “gravely ill,” Ms. Capell said.
Ms. Graves said that she knew of the personal loans to Mr. Cohen, but that she thought they were taken from Mr. Rosen’s personal discretionary budget, “not the agency’s.”

Now we have potential wire fraud, forgery, and fraud by deception, and probably a host of other potential charges against Mr. Cohen for his actions with Gloria Wise and Air America. Ms. Graves also tells the New York Sun that AA has agreed to pay back $800K over the next two years, not just the $480K originally noted by the Bronx News. Fortunately, Gloria Wise remained solvent, despite the wording in Piquant Media’s earlier statements which tended to suggest otherwise.
Clearly, though, AA did not pay a dime back before this investigation broke open. Nor did they agree to pay back the illegal transfers immediately, which again underscores their fragile economic status. They still have to meet that payroll, including that of their stars, who apparently don’t mind taking their money ahead of what’s owed to the poor kids, elderly, and Alzheimers patients served by Gloria Wise.

Michelle Malkin
and Brian Maloney have plenty more on this story, including lots of links to past and present indicators of AA’s precarious position. The New York Post also has started to cover the issue, which should garner even more national attention.
One certainty has arisen: this is no “phony” story. Air America had better get out in front of this, and its supporters should stop blaming the blogs for AA’s miscreancy and demand that AA resolve the issue forthwith. Two years of dragging out payments for stolen money means two years and more of albatross-dragging for an enterprise that cannot afford any more baggage than it already has.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

12 thoughts on “The Continuing Scandal At Air America”

  1. Questionable Financing in Air America Loan Payback

    …Point Five has learned that none other than Kofi Annan has become interested in the “amazing growth potential” of the struggling liberal network…

  2. Air America Story Hits the MSM

    The Sun, of course, is the tiny newspaper that hits way above their weight by finding the stories that the NY Times is embarrassed to cover.

  3. Air America – Graves Goes on Record

    While some have called the Air America story “under-sourced,” and only coming from the supposedly non-Google-able Bronx News, today’s New York Sun interviews Jeannette Graves, president of the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Gir…

  4. Personally, we blame Rove

    Frankengate? The Washington Times reports that $480,000 intended for the (Bronx) Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club may have been ‘borrowed’ by Al Franken’s Air America.

  5. What did Al Franken Know and When did he Know It.

    The Err American funds taken from kids scandal is picking up steam.
    Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds links to the Captain’s latest story on the subject. Captain Ed points out that the New York Sun is now covering story. “It turns out that [Air America…

  6. Things that Make You Go ‘Hmm’

    The right-of-center blogosphere is buzzing about the brewing Air America funding scandal. Air America is being investigated by the city of New York for diverting federal/local funds — noted to be possibly “hundreds of thousands of dollars&…

  7. The (latest) Air America Scandal

    The (latest) Air America scandal (besides their ratings) has been simmering for a week or so. Captain Ed has the latest, as well as links to other bloggers and news sites that are covering it.
    In the MSM, the story’s been relegated to the smaller p…

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