Tuesday, April 04, 2006
A Sad Ending
Yesterday, I saw the following article in the New York Times, titled: "Behind Relief to 9/11 Families: A Man's Flaws." Here are some salient bits.
For a while, it sent children of 9/11 victims to baseball games, where they
had their pictures taken with Joe Torre or Mike Piazza. It sent them to Broadway shows and to Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park in Tennessee. It even had Rudolph W. Giuliani as a guest of honor at one of its annual dinners.
But, in time, some donors' checks went astray. An internal investigation was begun, and Tuesday's Children fired Mr. Burke in January after he acknowledged that he had improperly diverted some $311,000, at least some of it, charity officials say,
for his personal use. Tuesday's Children turned over its findings to Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer's office. Mr. Burke was treated for substance abuse. His parents, with one son dead and another facing public shame, dug into their savings to pay back the money.
I don't want to say too much about this, except that it is very, very sad. Chris Burke, the fired founder and director is very candid in the article.
Mr. Burke said in the telephone interview that, in addition to his work for Tuesday's Children, he had set out to raise about $60,000 for a friend, a quadriplegic who needed a specially equipped van. Mr. Burke said the money had come from 40 people, and he needed a place to deposit it.
"I simply marched into the bank," he said. "I merely stated I needed to open an account, and they opened the account. They assumed it was a Tuesday's Children account."
And then later,
Alone in the office at the end of 2004, Mr. Burke was sifting through Christmas cards when he came across an unsolicited check for $250,000.
"I realized as I sat there with that $250,000 check in my hand, I was the only one who knew anything about it," he said in the phone interview, "and I could direct it as I saw fit."
I feel terrible for his parents. Donors must be angry. Wouldn't this make you sad?
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