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September 07, 2005

Did Franken know about AAR scandal in November 2004?

The NY Sun has obtained a copy of the 61-page confidential agreement in which Air America Radio pledged to pay back the $875,000 to the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. The agreement was signed in November 2004, and the signatories include:

- Progress Media's Evan Cohen and Rex Sorensen (Progress was AAR's original owner)
- Piquant LLC (AAR's current owners)
- Al Franken

As the Sun points out, on August 1 Franken claimed that he only learned about the loan in late July.

Now, at this point in time you're probably thinking, "Ah ha! We've finally got him!" Think again:
Yesterday, Mr. Franken stood by his earlier statement. He said that, on the advice of his lawyer, Gunnar Erickson, he signed the agreement last fall that erased legal claims he had against Messrs. Cohen and Sorensen because they owed him money, but he said he did not see the list of liabilities that included the Gloria Wise transfers. ..."I am not an investor, and I didn't see this thing..." [Franken said.]
Either way, can the fine citizens of Minnesota trust someone who's either lying about that or who fails to read everything he signs all the way through?

The agreement details four separate transfers from Gloria Wise, of $80,000; $87,000; $218,000; and $490,000; between October 2, 2003, and March 14, 2004.

Mr. Cohen, previously unreachable, told the Sun yesterday that no one at the radio network knew about the transfers while they occurred, which the agreement said was between October 2003 and March 2004.

Mr. Cohen said, however, he would be "shocked" if Air America investors did not know of the transfers before November, when they signed the agreement, and he said he resented Air America's insinuation that it was repaying the Bronx nonprofit group out of a "moral obligation."

"It absolutely was a legal obligation on their behalf," he said, referring to the confidential settlement...

...Mr. Cohen, 39, said the Gloria Wise transfers, which he termed "loans" that were to be paid back with no interest, was one of the things that he regretted.

"I'm saddened by my behavior in that realm," he said...

...Members of the Gloria Wise executive committee have described their organization's transfers to Air America to the Sun. They said Mr. Cohen asked for personal loans to help him finance chemotherapy that he said he needed because he suffered from brain cancer.

Mr. Cohen has denied ever using health as a reason to solicit money from Gloria Wise.

"Gloria Wise knew exactly where the money was going," he said, adding that at least one unnamed club official authorized the transfers. "There was no question, no backroom dealing. It was straight up: I'm borrowing this money, it's going here."

Posted in StuartSmalley at September 7, 2005 11:22 AM


Is there any brave soul out there who wants to go back through the archives and find clips of Franken castigating Senators for voting for the Patriot Act without reading it? I know it was a big talking point in Farenheit 9/11, so it's almost a certainly Franken mentioned it.

Posted by: SaveFarris at September 8, 2005 05:41 AM

Monitoring Air America Radio [TM] so you don't have to.


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