The Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club has been duped out of a reported $875,000 meant for poor children and elderly Alzheimer's patients. Evan Montvel-Cohen, the former chairman of the much-hyped liberal radio network Air America, is at the center of the erupting scandal. Air America radio host Al Franken, punctuating his discussion with nervous laughter, called Cohen a "crook" on his show last week and confessed to his left-wing audience that "I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul."
(You can listen to Franken's odd discourse for yourselves here.)
Curiously, Air America has shown little interest in urging law enforcement officials to track down Cohen and hold him accountable for "robbing" -- Al's word, not mine -- an inner-city charity in the network's name. Why is that? Franken says the subject of massive theft from one of the largest nonprofit charities for underprivileged residents in New York City is "boring."
Even O.J. Simpson still fakes occasional interest in finding his wife's killer between his rounds of golf. Franken and Air America management, by contrast, seem unusually eager to sweep the entire financial scandal under the rug. Meanwhile, the Boys & Girls Club hasn't seen a dime of the bilked money repaid. Hearts aren't the only things that seem to be bleeding at Air America.
That is why I am volunteering to help Al Franken find the swindler and warn others about him. Free of charge. And I'm calling on my always curious, never bored, readers to fill the vacuum of outrage and join me in assisting The Search For Air America's Swindler.
Here are a few clues and some helpful information I've gathered for Franken to share with his fellow Air America sleuths:
Cohen reportedly told the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club executive committee last year that he needed money to cover medical expenses for himself and his father -- "a businessman in Asia," according to the New York Sun, who was said to be "gravely ill." There's just one small problem with the sob story about Cohen's dad, though. He has been dead since 1991.
According to Fran Magbual, a family friend of the Cohens whom I interviewed this week from Hawaii, Marvin Montvel-Cohen was an art and anthropology professor at the University of Guam. Magbual's father also taught at that school. Cohen's deceased father "was a simple, nice man. Well respected," Magbual told me. Another old friend of the Cohens, Gail Stone, also knew Cohen's father in Guam, where she grew up. "I'm glad he's not alive to see this," Stone told me by phone from Hawaii. Stone lived next to an accountant who worked with Cohen the younger at a Guam publication called Latte Magazine. According to Stone, her neighbor was fired after calling attention to financial irregularities involving Cohen.
Last week, I heard from another source in Hawaii -- a top executive at a large nonprofit in Honolulu who preferred to remain anonymous but wanted to send a strong message:
"Thought you should know that Evan Cohen, believe it or not, has relocated to Hawaii and had been applying for Development Director positions at local nonprofits. I was involved as a part of an interview team in which we interviewed him a couple of months ago . . . Fortunately, we did some research on him, as he was (obviously) not honest in his resume, and eliminated him from the process. . . . Chances are, he has already moved out of the state."
Al Franken, who specializes in blowing the whistle on "lies and the lying liars who tell them," could provide a helpful public service by passing this warning on to his vast audience of caring liberals. Cohen is out there somewhere. Both he and current Air America executives know a lot more about the liberal radio money pit than the public has been told -- and not just related to the victims at the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club.
But don't worry, Al. We're on the trail.
You can wake up now.