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August 11, 2005

NYT: "Bronx Boys Club's Finances Investigated"

That tired grey old liberal lady down the block finally gets around to the Air America scandal over two weeks after it first broke:
The state attorney general's office and the city's Department of Investigation are looking into whether a boys and girls club serving poor children and ailing elderly people in the Bronx had improper financial dealings, including loans to the Air America radio network, state and city officials said yesterday...

Jim Grossman, a spokesman for Gloria Wise, said the club had given Air America about $875,000, though he added that he did not know exactly how, or in what form, it had been given. He also said the club and the network had reached an agreement under which the money had been placed in escrow and would eventually be repaid to the club...

...[Jaime Horn, a spokeswoman for Air America said] 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.

"I don't know why he did it," Mr. Franken said, according to a transcript of the broadcast made by the Department of Investigation. "I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations. I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."

Mr. Franken also said that the network's new owners "don't legally have to pay it back" - referring to the loans - "because we're a different company or something."

"But morally we do," he said.

Nonetheless, word of the investigations ignited a firestorm of criticism on the Internet, especially among conservative-leaning blogs that have essentially accused the network of robbing from the poor to pay its bills...
I'm famous! The NYT referred to a group of which I'm a part!

Note that this is in the New York region section, not in the main section. And, note that they're basically spinning this in the same way as Al Franken is. And, note that back in June 2004 I linked to this discussion from a UCLA corporate law professor on the sale of Air America to Piquant. At the time I said that he "thinks a securities fraud lawsuit might be in AA's future."

Note also that back on July 31 I offered the satire "Air America still recovering from disastrous beginnings", which attempted to predict how this would be spun and included this "quote" from Al Franken:
"We all believed in Evan Cohen," a contrite Al Franken said, tears welling in his eyes. "But, he let us down."
Let me suggest sending short, polite, but bitingly sarcastic emails to public *at* nytimes.com thanking them for being the first with this breaking news.

Posted in Meta at August 11, 2005 10:29 PM


When Al Franken starts talking "morals", head for the hills, the stuff will get deep. As far as the NYT, as long as it is one of "their guys", then there is no problem. The Dims are such an unfocused group they are fighting some kind of "phone scam" "phone blocking scheme" up in New Hampshire on the last presidential election. Should I tell them Kerry won NH. Nah, the entertaining part of the Dims is their constant unfocused flailing around. Like skinny lil chickens, all feathers and dust, no meat.

Posted by: Dennis at August 12, 2005 10:46 AM

So you say that a group you belong to is mentioned in the New York Times? Good for you! Wasn't clear on which group that was though--are you with the Department of Investigation? Or is it the boys and girls club for poor children? Do tell so that I can start watching out for the name of that group in other publications like the Reader's Digest and Popular Mechanics! Best of luck to you!

Posted by: Nancy at August 12, 2005 03:26 PM

Oh silly me--I just showed this to my husband and he says that you are very excited about "conservative-leaning blogs" getting mentioned in the paper. I still didn't understand very well until he explained that nobody reads his conservative blog either, and that people are always happy to get at least a little recognition! Congratulations BoreAmerica!!!

Posted by: nancy at August 12, 2005 03:31 PM

Guess this about wraps up the scandal: "The current owners of Air America Radio have no obligation to Progress Media's business activities," the statement read. "We are very disturbed that Air America Radio's good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people, which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club as a result of this transaction."

So now that we're out of trash to throw at AAR again, can we have a "Say something nice about Rachel Maddow" thread please?

Posted by: WOMBAT at August 12, 2005 03:41 PM

Oh sure, but you notice that as soon as the Gloria Wise story hit, they scrambled too come up with more Jack Abramoff nonsense. Hey, who wants too help me kidnap Al Franken or Randi Rhodes Buten? Air America can't go on without those two cash cows. I'd give anything for a chance to beat either one of them bloody with a tire iron, and then we take their ATM card and give some money back to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club. No court would ever convict! Who's with me?

Posted by: Nascarman at August 12, 2005 04:47 PM

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


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