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Meet “No Accountability Al” Franken

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 17, 2008 04:07 PM

Longtime readers will remember the extensive joint investigations into failed liberal radio network Air America and Al Franken that I published here and at Radio Equalizer with Brian Maloney.

Fortunately, Norm Coleman’s Senate campaign in Minnesota remembered, too.

Franken’s Air America debacle is the subject of a new campaign ad. Schadenfreude-licious:

***

Press release:

COLEMAN CAMPAIGN RELEASES WEB VIDEO “NO ACCOUNTABILITY AL”

While Air America Withheld Stolen Money From Boys And Girls Club, Al Franken Demanded His Million Dollar Salary

ST. PAUL – The Coleman for Senate campaign released a web video to highlight Al Franken’s lack of responsibility and accountability in the Air America-Boys and Girls Club scandal where Al Franken’s radio station refused to repay $900,000 that they borrowed from a Bronx Boys and Girls Club. Franken, despite signing a document acknowledging the loan, refused to act or demand an investigation, opting to instead ask for a raise.

“We’ve heard a lot about accountability this campaign season from Al Franken, but he refuses to be held accountable, or even accept responsibility, for his own actions,” said Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager. “While poor kids and seniors and others suffered from the loss of money taken from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, key executives with Air America and Gloria Wise were living it up. And, when Al Franken found out about it – he did absolutely nothing. So far we’ve seen him refuse to be held accountable for not paying his workers comp premiums, providing his employees with disability benefits and paying his income taxes – instead blaming the government and his accountant for his law breaking. It’s now time that Al Franken be held accountable for looking out for his own financial interests rather than demanding his company pay back the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club for money they stole from them.”

“No Accountability Al” Script:

“Almost 900,000 tax dollars taken from a Boys and Girls Club by a corporation. Falsified documents. Widespread fraud. Air America, the home of radio shock jock Al Franken took the money and ripped off thousands of kids. Blamed a crook. Said he didn’t know about it. When he finally admitted he knew, Al Franken still did nothing about it. Except Franken made sure he got paid – millions – but did nothing to make sure that the Boys and Girls Club got their stolen money back. Al Franken. Talks accountability, just doesn’t want to be accountable.”

“No Accountability Al” Backup:

“Almost 900,000 tax dollars taken from a Boys and Girls Club by a corporation.” “The former chairman of Air America Radio, Evan Montvel Cohen – who former colleagues said engineered transfers of more than $800,000 to the liberal radio network from a boys and girls club in the Bronx – is missing, according to a lawyer who is trying to have him served with legal papers. At least two people have said Mr. Cohen is in Hawaii. He has not responded to a series of e-mail messages in recent weeks from The New York Sun asking him about his role. Mr. Cohen, 39, helped lead the launch of Air America in March 2004. Less than two months later, Piquant LLC acquired the radio network from Mr. Cohen’s Progress Media. Piquant LLC has agreed to pay $875,000 to Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, without interest, in installments over the next two years.” (DAVID LOMBINO, “Network’s Former Chairman Is Missing” New York Sun, August 26, 2005)

“Falsified documents.” “Did Al Franken’s liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That’s the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America. Only a community paper and a few Internet bloggers seem interested in what could be an egregious case of illegal funneling of tax dollars to a private, partisan organization. In late June, city officials designated the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, a nonprofit organization that runs mentoring programs for children and day care for Alzheimer’s patients, a ‘non-responsible city contractor.’ Investigators found ‘significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various City agencies.’ The city subsequently suspended the club’s contracts, which run well into the millions.” (Editorial, “Robin Hood and Air America,” Washington Times, July 29, 2005)

“Widespread fraud.” “Top employees of a city-financed Bronx charity diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal expenses like home renovations, furniture and the purchase of a Volvo and a BMW, a city investigation has found. The widespread fraud in recent years at the charity, the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, which received $9 million a year in city financing to help children and the elderly, also included off-the-books bank accounts — created under the guise of supporting youth athletic programs — that were used to pay bonuses to the executive director and four other officials, according to the city’s Department of Investigation. Investigators said the breadth of the fraud suggested an ”absence of oversight” within nonprofit contractors. They said it resembled several patterns of fraud and abuse in other cases from recent years, like interest-free loans to executives that are never repaid; use of organizational bank accounts and credit and debit cards for personal expenses; and double pay for salaried employees also listed as consultants.” (SEWELL CHAN, “City Finds Widespread Fraud at a Bronx Charity,” New York Times, October 6, 2006)

“Crook.” “Jaime Horn, a spokeswoman for Air America, said the loans had come to the network through its former chairman, Evan M. Cohen, a venture capitalist, who resigned from Air America in May 2004 under pressure from other company investors. Ms. Horn added that investigators recently told the network that Mr. Cohen had served simultaneously as the development director for Gloria Wise, although the network was not aware of that at the time. Mr. Franken took up the issue on the air on Monday afternoon, telling his listeners that Mr. Cohen was ‘a crook’ who had borrowed money from Gloria Wise.” (ALAN FEUER, “Bronx Boys Club’s Finances Investigated,” New York Times, August 12, 2005)

“Didn’t know.” “Moments after Air America’s widely publicized, early-spring launch last year, checks bounced and the fledgling lefty net was yanked off stations in Los Angeles and Chicago. ‘I think [Cohen] was robbing Peter to pay Paul,’ Franken said, adding that the network’s current owners, Piquant LLC, did some ‘forensic accounting’ and learned about the defaulted loan. Franken said Piquant didn’t legally have to pay back the loan, ‘but we morally do, so they started to make arrangements to pay it back.’ ‘I didn’t know anything about this until last week,’ Franken claimed. ‘I really had nothing to do with this.’ The Post has been unable to reach Cohen in either New York or his native Guam.” (JOHN MAINELLI, “I WUZ ROBBED TOO : FRANKEN,” NY Post, August 9, 2005)

“The document shows that Mr. Franken signed off on the settlement.” “In light of documents that surfaced last week, it looks to be the case that as of November 2004, and possibly earlier, Mr. Franken knew the amount of money, the money’s origins and the dates the transfers occurred. This came to light after a settlement agreement between former and current owners of Air America – a document which details the Gloria Wise transfers – was leaked to Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney, who promptly posted the document on their Web sites. The document shows that Mr. Franken signed off on the settlement, and did so in the presence of a notary public, no less.” (Editorial, “Al Franken, explain this one,” Washington Times, September 11, 2005)

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Categories: Air America, Al Franken

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