The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 September 2008

MN GOP Demands Franken 'Fess Up Over Boys & Girls Swindle

NOT FORGOTTEN

Air America Scandal And Franken Focus of New Attention







Did Al Franken really think he could run for office in another state without being called to account for his potential role in the sleazy Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal?

That's where $875,000 in taxpayer funds were diverted from the Bronx-based charity and used to fill the liberal radio network's coffers.

Though we've never accused him of directly taking part in the scheme, we're convinced he knew the dirty money was being used to fund his bloated salary and did nothing to stop it. Only with public pressure did Franken even address the issue on the air, refusing to come clean with what he knew and when he knew it.

Now, the Minnesota GOP has had enough. Burdened with the alleged comedian as Senator Norm Coleman's opponent, they would like to know more about Stuart's antics in New York City. Will he come clean?

Don't hold your breath.

Today, they've issued this press release, pegging exactly the issue at hand:


Republican Party Of Minnesota Calls Franken To Divulge His Role In Air America And Boys And Girls Club Scandal



St. Paul- At a State Capitol press conference today, Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey called on Al Franken to provide more detailed answers to his role in the cover-up involving nearly $900,000 that was stolen from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club by Franken’s Air America company.

“Al Franken did nothing to help return nearly $900,000 to the New York Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club while his employer, Air America, continued to use the money to possibly pay Franken’s salary and benefits,” said Carey. “At a time when Franken’s temper tantrums and bad behavior could have been put to good use by publicly demanding and threatening to expose his employer’s role in this massive fraud, Franken remained silent. But, while he negotiated for a multi-million contract, he was well aware that his nearly bankrupt Air America employer had stolen money from the Boys and Girls Club and he did nothing and said nothing to get the money returned.”

In 2004, Air America, through a series of financial irregularities, and under the leadership of Franken’s former CEO, took an unauthorized “loan” of $875,000 from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club to pay for operating costs, possibly including “operating costs” at the struggling radio network.

Franken, who repeatedly denied any role in the scandal, finally was forced to admit on-air that his company did indeed take the money, and that it was likely being used to cover the station’s operating costs.

At the time, Franken was also negotiating a huge salary increase, while Air America was continuing to delay returning the money to the Boys and Girls Club. And, Franken, who was caught misrepresenting when he was aware of the scandal, never called on the station, or the management of the company to return the money.

According to Chair Carey, while Franken may not have been involved in taking the money in the beginning, his lack of effort to get the money returned raises questions about what his role was after the fact.

“Al Franken said his company had no legal obligation to pay back the money they stole. So, while kids, senior citizens, and thousands of people who were looking for services from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club weren’t getting them, Al Franken remained silent – and never once called for an audit, or an investigation or any type of oversight in the matter. Why did Franken stay quiet? Was he afraid of jeopardizing his contract negotiations? Or, was it because he didn’t want to raise any suspicions about how deeply involved he was in the station’s financial situation? He needs to answer these questions.”

Chair Carey also raised questions about Franken’s signature on a document that clearly showed that Air America owed money to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

“Franken claims he never saw the list of creditors that were owed money by Air America when it filed bankruptcy, and therefore, couldn’t have known that Air America still owed $875,000 back to the Boys and Girls Club.

Isn’t it ironic that once again Al Franken has a sudden loss of memory when it comes to financial irregularities with a company and business that he is involved in. He didn’t know he was supposed to pay taxes – he didn’t know he was supposed to pay workers compensation premiums – and he claims he didn’t know Air America stole money from poor kids. There’s a pattern here, and it’s one that has dogged Al Franken for years.”


The Minnesota GOP has nailed it: Franken towed the party line for a bunch of crooks, all so that his bloated paychecks would continue to arrive.

That's an important distinction, as his defenders have sometimes tried to blur this issue, accusing critics of claiming he participated in the theft itself.

Even if one didn't take part in the heist, or drive the getaway car, taking a share of the loot is still a crime. While Franken may have escaped punishment in New York City, Minnesota voters may yet have something to say about it.


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Classic AAR images: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer, AAR Scandal logo: Darleen Click

10 Comments:

  • I'm glad to see some more publicity for Franken. We're hoping that after he loses the race for the senate, he moves back to NY or Hollyweird.

    Franken's selections of booth locations at the local Minnesota fairs this summer were not in ideal spots.

    Franken's booth at the Gamefair 2008 in Ramsey, Minnesota was right next to a very appropriate location.
    http://tinyurl.com/5gt4ed

    And his booth at the Minnesota State Fair was right next to the haunted mansion - it is scary to think he might be our senator
    http://tinyurl.com/6hm9ea

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 16 September, 2008 00:24  

  • Should read: "Minnesota GOP take desparate measure to drag up crap for which Franken isn't responsible & smear him like Brian Maloney does."

    Maloney - you pick on Franken because he lampooned well and rightly those whose asses you love to kiss.

    Have fun with that.

    By Anonymous TJ, at 16 September, 2008 10:25  

  • Franken isn't responsible?

    There are a lot of indications that Franken is dirty when it comes to the Boys & Girls Club swindle.

    Where there's smoke, there's fire.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 16 September, 2008 13:26  

  • Benson said:
    "There are a lot of indications that Franken is dirty when it comes to the Boys & Girls Club swindle."

    Why don't you list what these indications are?

    How was Franken involved in obtaining the money from Gloria Wise?

    Was Franken an owner or investor at AAR, or was he just an employee?

    Is it true that the only reason Franken had to sign the settlement documents was because he was dropping his claim to wages he was due for work performed? (work for which the owners of AAR had neglected to pay him)

    Just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it so.

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 16 September, 2008 18:38  

  • EZSuds, you're playing the same game we've seen from the left-- changing the allegations away from what we've actually alleged to something more serious that we all know isn't true. Franken didn't steal the money, but knew about it and did nothing.

    That's been made clear both here and in the original investigative work done several years ago.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 16 September, 2008 18:42  

  • saying Franken "did nothing" is as bad as saying he was directly involved.

    You're implying:

    a - he had some kind of info to provide to the authorities but didn't

    b - he _is_ some kind of authority but didn't take appropriate action

    All he did was sign a contract, work for his pay, and took the pay that was contractually obligated to him.

    he did not in any way create the gloria-wise scandal - which you know full-well was a scandal that reached into gloria wise itself.

    but, no, you just wanna smear irresponsibly because banging on Franken is just another way of kissing the asses of limbaugh and oreilly - hoping you'll get some airtime.

    You. Are. Lame.

    Benson said "where there's smoke, there's fire" - that's the result of your deliberate smears, Maloney - and it's the result you wanted.

    Stop lying.

    Can't you make a living without lying?

    By Anonymous TJ, at 16 September, 2008 19:23  

  • It's wonderful to see there are still some wackos around. Franken has smeared himself.

    ezsuds - you want details? here are some details:

    tj - where are the lies?

    At a time when Franken's temper tantrums and bad behavior could have been put to good use by publicly demanding and threatening to expose his employer's role in this massive fraud, Franken remained silent.

    But, while he negotiated for a multi-million contract, he was well aware that his nearly bankrupt Air America employer had stolen money from the Boys and Girls Club and he did nothing and said nothing to get the money returned.

    While Franken may not have been involved in taking the money in the beginning, his lack of effort to get the money returned raises questions about what his role was after the fact.

    Al Franken said his company had no legal obligation to pay back the money they stole. Franken remained silent – and never once called for an audit, or an investigation or any type of oversight in the matter. Why did Franken stay quiet? Was he afraid of jeopardizing his contract negotiations? Or, was it because he didn't want to raise any suspicions about how deeply involved he was in the station's financial situation? He needs to answer these questions.

    There are serious questions about Franken's signature on a document that showed Air America owed money to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

    Just consider how Franken's frequent loss of memory occurs when it comes to financial irregularities with a company and business that he is involved in. He didn't know he was supposed to pay taxes – he didn't know he was supposed to pay workers compensation premiums – and he claims he didn't know Air America stole money from poor kids.

    There's a pattern here, and it's one that has dogged Al Franken for years.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 16 September, 2008 22:11  

  • First Benson claims that "There are a lot of indications that Franken is dirty when it comes to the Boys & Girls Club swindle". Then when questioned, he basically says that Franken didn't do enough to draw attention to the scandal.

    Do you really think that amounts to "lot of indications that Franken is dirty when it comes to the Boys & Girls Club swindle"?

    No matter how hard you try, any unbiased person will see the scandal for what it is. A crook gets a "loan" from Gloria Wise and uses some of it to prop up an underfunded enterprise (AAR). I thought Republicans were all about personal responsibility? the responsible person in this case was Evan Cohen. You seem to think Franken didn't care about the money taken from Gloria Wise. Franken has said he believed there was a moral obligation to pay the money back. ( Even if legally that was not required)
    All the money was paid back.
    You want to complain that Al Franken negotiated a pay raise at AAR. Well, since he had involuntarily been working without being paid, perhaps he figured that if he received a higher salary, he could save some of the money for times when AAR failed to pay him at all.
    Regarding the "serious questions" remaining about Franken's signature on a document: Anyone who has followed the situation, read the pertinent documents, and read the statements of the people involved in the transaction know that Al Franken is only referred to in the documents because he was waiving his claim for payment for work performed.

    Here is a quote from the wikipedia entry regarding the Gloria Wise AAR loan controversy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_America-Gloria_Wise_loan_controversy
    "On September 8, 2005, Danny Goldberg, CEO of Air America, announced that the board of directors of the network's owner had accelerated its payment schedule and deposited the full $875,000 into the escrow account to settle the loan from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club. Goldberg stated that Al Franken's signature on the agreement between Piquant LLC and Evan Cohen "was simply to waive his own claims in order to facilitate the transaction and allow the network to survive under new ownership." Mr. Goldberg said the portion of the agreement that listed the Gloria Wise claim of $875,000 did not apply to Mr. Franken, who was not an investor. "Al Franken does not have and never had any responsibility for this loan," Mr. Goldberg said in a written statement. "His role at Air America was then and remains today as on-air talent."

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 17 September, 2008 04:03  

  • gee, maybe the fact that Al Franken worked for AAR precluded him being either able or allowed to jump into that legal fray?

    President Bush knew he was ignoring reality to invade Iraq. Thousands of people have died for an unnecessary invasion of a soveriegn nation, and the best you guys can come up with is to bash Al Franken for getting paid according to his contract, and staying out of a snafu that he neither created nor for which he was responsible?

    Seriously misplaced hypocritical dishonest rage going on - simply based upon partisanship.

    Liars.

    By Anonymous TJ, at 17 September, 2008 12:13  

  • The republiKKKans have destoyed the economy in AMERICA in conjunction with right wing talk radio hosts ...

    limbaugh, flush
    o'reilly, bill
    hannity, sean
    severin, jimmy
    graham, michael
    ingraham, laura
    boortz, neil
    bruce, tammy
    KKKarr, howie of S-Wellesley

    These are some of the folks that are destroying The United States of America!

    By Anonymous Bamboo Harvester, at 17 September, 2008 16:20  

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