Tuesday, November 24, 2009

when your worst suspicions are confirmed

For those of us who grew up in the City, UHO "volunteers" have been a ubiquitous part of subway riding since the '90s. Now, it turns out it was all a fraud:
an investigation by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo appears to have confirmed what many New Yorkers secretly (if somewhat guiltily) suspected all along: The United Homeless Organization, supposedly a nonprofit group set up to help feed and house the homeless, was actually an elaborate fraud.

According to a complained filed by Mr. Cuomo on Tuesday morning, U.H.O. does not operate a single shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry. It does not provide food or clothing to the homeless. It does not even donate money to other charities that do.

Most of those coins and bills, Mr. Cuomo contended, end up in the pockets of the group’s founder and president, Stephen Riley, and its director, Myra Walker. The rest was kept by those working the donation tables, who paid a daily fee to Mr. Riley and Ms. Walker for the right to use the U.H.O. tables, jugs and aprons.

Those papers that U.H.O.’s workers display on their card tables? Nothing more than copies of the group’s certification of incorporation, according to Mr. Cuomo, used to mislead the public into believing they are permits.

“U.H.O. exploits the good intentions of people who thought that their charitable donations were helping to fund services for the homeless,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “Instead, their donations go directly to U.H.O.’s principals and workers, who abused the organization’s tax-exempt status to line their own pockets.”

No pithy note to end with here. Just a confirmation that for the most part, human beings are avaricious, exploitative walking piles of dung.

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