A charity organization for the homeless has been ordered shut after an investigation into its finances showed that money was not being used to help the disadvantaged, but was instead put towards meals, online purchases, cable TV service and videogames.
Ubiquitous throughout Manhattan, The United Homeless Organization (UHO) charged homeless people $15 to rent a table to be used as a donation center. The homeless were allowed to keep all donations accrued throughout the day (minus the $15 charge). Investigators charge that UHO’s founder Stephen Riley, and its Director, Myra Walker, used the proceeds from the table rentals as a “personal slush fund,” and used the funds to buy a variety of items, including purchases from GameStop.
New York’s Attorney General’s office ordered the organization to close, but AG Andrew Cuomo offered, “This organization's bad behavior should not undermine the public's willingness to donate to legitimate charities.”
Riley, speaking to the New York Times, said, “I feel like a victim.”
A former lawyer for UHO indicated that the charity could not afford to challenge the lawsuit from the AG’s office.