NewsChannel 5 Investigates Veterans F...

NewsChannel 5 Investigates Veterans Fundraiser Group - NewsChan...

There are 36 comments on the Nashville story from Feb 24, 2010, titled NewsChannel 5 Investigates Veterans Fundraiser Group - NewsChan.... In it, Nashville reports that:

NewsChannel 5 Investigates - A NewsChannel 5 investigation is raising questions about a new charity in town that has some local veterans groups concerned.

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Jimmie King

Woodbury, TN

#22 Mar 1, 2010
I do not really think to many people believed all they heard, or this Blog would have Hundreds of people on here raising cane as always seen on many other issues. Hank seemed honset to me in his efforts to help others by doing something good and needed. Most non-profits only give that 15% by Law, and yet many do not even give that. Churches and Ministries don't even File or Pay Taxes and are not accountable to anyone but God for all Properites, Buildings and Monies they take in. There are many who give nothing of what they receive freely. Most are Personal Family Earthly Kingdom Building. New Church Business INC., Buildings are opening daily and yet Christian Numbers have fallen by another 1/8. If you want to get rich, own properties, and let others carry the Federal and Property Tax Load on your Business and Home, you start a Church and Ministry. I went into the Ministry in 1983, I have always refused to take any monies from anyone for any reason, and I never did and never would go Non-Profit. It is wrong even though Man made it alright against what Jesus showed and told us about paying Taxes.

Nashville, TN

#23 Mar 1, 2010
Richard...They've posted the audited financial statement for the year 2009 with the story, and it clearly contradicts your extensive research. It shows that the story was pretty much right on, VSO reportedly raised more than $2.5 million last year but only gave/donated about $404,000 to veterans causes/groups. Are you claiming they fabricated this financial report?
Like most people, I don't consider things like expenses for automobiles, rent, travel and uniforms to be "program services" for vets. Those are fundraising costs, not program services. So you pay 30 cents of every dollar I give to a non-veteran homeless guy who Hank admits should be in a treatment center, and another 10 percent to Hank (also a non-vet) and that's supposed to be counted as Veterans Program Services?
I did the math and $404,531 of the $2.5 million is like 15.8 percent. If anything the reporter was nice to you by rounding it up to 16 percent!
Richard, you are not being truthful.
Richard 8 year army vet wrote:
I have checked this group out in every way they have given 64 % in 2009 ,and Hank you are right the group you represent V.S.O has had an public certified out side audit in 2008,and 2009. Veterans Support Organization has given millions of dollars to veterans directly and they have proof i have seen it. As for the veterans and non veterans that V.S.O have raising donations for them i found out they are on work programs. I have read some of the letters written from the people raising donation for V.S.O how they were homeless or just about homeless and V.S.O came to their aid and helped them first and then offered them a chance to help other veterans while helping themselve from becomming homeless again.Some of these letters made me cry.Hank V.S.O should sued the news for lying
Extra Crispy

Hendersonville, TN

#24 Mar 1, 2010
Personally, I'm not sure why there is a fuss over the actual dollar amounts going towards helping veterans. Have you bothered looking into more well-known charities - like those you have likely seen on TV commercials? A very small percentage of donations actually go towards "the cause". Who do you think is paying for the millions and millions of dollars worth of TV commercials? That money comes right off the top of all donated money. If you do some research, you'll find that a great many charities have costs that eat up as much as 88% of your contribution dollar.
Hank Edney

Nashville, TN

#25 Mar 1, 2010
$404,531 is the absolute minimum, that can be considered donation. It does not even touch things like the costs of our clean-and-sober housing facility(which is for Veterans only), which we receive no outside funding for.
I can assure you, this "news" station has only shown, what lends itself to a completely slanted perspective. After what they did to the interview I gave, they have reached a new high, in journalistic incompetence. I knew all too well, it was only to set up an ambush like this. But to refuse is an admission of guilt. Especially to anyone expecting to see un-biased reporting on this station. You can't complain about their integrity, because there is none.
Hank Edney

Nashville, TN

#26 Mar 1, 2010
I appreciate you doing the homework Extra Crispy. Unfortunatley, for me to elaborate on why this has become such an issue here in NASHVILLE, would only sink me to the level of those who have initiated this waste of time and effort.

Nashville, TN

#27 Mar 2, 2010
So what you all seem to be saying is that since there are other charities that give little, then it's ok for this one to fleece us to?
Picking up a load of homeless guys in a van and giving them uniforms, signs and buckets means this is merely an organized panhandling operation in which some guy in Florida is getting a cut. Normally, if I give to a homeless guy holding a sign on the corner at least he gets all the money.

Just because you put your 'workers' into one home in Florida doesn't necessarily mean you are being benevolent and running a 'shelter.' It merely means that you know where all of your workers are at all times and you can pick them up in your van at one single location early in the AM. That is not charity, that's self-serving!

You haven't even addressed the point the reporter made in the story that the person who set up the Florida operation had a very lengthy criminal record.
Jimmie King

Woodbury, TN

#28 Mar 2, 2010
I know everyone of these Blogers have given LOTS to the Cause Of Vets. They themselves are out standing in front of places FREELY Daily collection money for Vets, yeah, right. Some on here have said they seen some of these people collecting money, but they didn't give them any, and that was before this story broke out on Channel5. So it tell me the gripper are not only NON-GIVERS to start with (maybe for any cause), but spend their time and efforts out trying to help others with what they have or receive freely from others. Some to look at Ministry and see where all the Money given to big Churches and Ministries go. Look at their own Church and Pastor who is to be in service for God Freely as all are. Yes, some need clean-up their front yard so they can get to their front porch before trying get someone else to clean-up their back porch.
Retired Vet

Boynton Beach, FL

#29 Mar 2, 2010
I am a member of a Veterans organization in the Atlanta area. I hope this PANHANDLER and his cronies comes to Georgia to PANHANDLE at the local Walmart, I look forward to that day. I am sending the Walmarts here a link to this site so they can decide before hand whether they will allow these PANHANDLERS to PANHANDLE in front of thier stores. I am also sending this link to other REAL VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS in the area so they can be aware of these PANHANDLERS and can sound the alert when they are detected PANHANDLING here. I can assure you they will be met by REAL VETERANS who REALLY SERVED this great nation who REALLY SHED THIER BLOOD in defense of this great nation and WOULD GLADLY SHED THIER BLOOD AGAIN for thier VET BROTHERS nad this great nation again. The organization I belong to contributes 100% of monies we raise for charity to those charitys. We do not PANHANDLE in front of Walmart or any other store. I would like to ask the HEAD PANHANDLER here, why they keep any contributions, why they dont give 100% to charity. I think I know, because the only thing hes in this for is money to line his pockets, he doest care a bit for REAL VETERANS and thier families. This PHONY vet PANHANDLER and his fellow PHONY vet PANHANDLERS were sitting around PANHANDLER CENTRAL (TRAILER PARK) drinking beer and the HEAD PANHANDLER jumps up and says hey boys I says Reps of the VFW (thats a real VETERANS organization) asking for money at the Walmart when I went to get the beer, course I snubbed em, but check it out, why cant we do the same thing. We can come up with some kinda PHONEY uniform and beg for money, hell, most of the rubes we ask just wanna get us outta thier face, so they gives. Yeah I know we gotta give some of it to charity so's we dont end up behind bars, but we can keep most of it, hell we might beg enough to get us some new trailers. End of story.
Yes I and all of the REAL VETERANS Im sure would love to meet THIS PARTICULAR PANHANDLER and all HIS CRONY PANHANDLERS. This is an open invitation to these PANHANDLERS wearing PHONY uniforms begging for money. PLEASE, COME ON DOWN. WE WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU.
Sgt- Stewart

Brooklyn, NY

#30 Mar 2, 2010
I'm a Army Ranger vet, as well as a store manager of Walmart in Upstate New York. A friend of mine that works at the VA informed me about these criminals. The VSO called me to fundraised in my store. I said "No" knowing how they lie to the public and they steal the monies raised. Well, two weeks later they showed up anyways. They were outside the store where I couldnt see them. I went out to lunch around 2 and i saw them. I went up to them, and they started telling me a bunch of crap how veterans in New York begged for the VSO to fundraised because they needed the help. I didnt want to get into the guys face, but he looked like a criminal rather than a veteran. The police was call, they came and kicked them out and told them not to come again. These guys are liars, manipulators,****. I informed Walmart corporate to not allow the Veterans Support Organization to fundraised anywhere in New york State. We should all unite and end this MAFIA organization. Please call your local supermarkets, malls and tell them about the Veterans Support Organization and how they steal the money, and lie to the public, as well as impersonating veterans when they never served. I GET SO ANGRY BECAUSE I SPEND YEARS OF MY LIFE TO BE ABLE TO WEAR THE UNIFORM OF A US SOLDIER, AND THESE GUYS CAN JUST BUY THEM.****!!!!!LETS END THIS MAFIA ORGANIZATION GUYS.
TN Vet

Nashville, TN

#31 Mar 2, 2010
Geoff Oldfather: Ex-cons collecting money for vets makes you think
By Geoff Oldfather
Published Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Richard VanHouten admits people with criminal records are standing on street corners and collecting money for his Veterans Support Organization.
He explains it this way:“We like to give everybody a chance,” VanHouten says.
Bryant Kisbert is listed as the COO on the organization’s filings through the end of last year. He has a criminal record in Rhode Island that includes felony convictions, and the record is long and covers about a decade of offenses.
He explains it this way:“We relieved him as soon as we found out,” VanHouten says.
VanHouten, who says he is now the chief operating officer, admits Kisbert’s wife is still a director on the board of the Veterans Support Organization.
And he admits not all the men soliciting donations at traffic intersections are veterans, even though they dress the part and act the part, wearing military fatigues, covers (hats) and military boots.
He explains it this way:“You don’t have to have cancer to collect money for someone with cancer. We don’t portray to be veterans, they’re not military uniforms,” VanHouten said.¶
“You can buy fatigues at Wal-Mart,” he said.
But Bobby Brooks finds all of that offensive, especially the part about people who aren’t veterans wearing military fatigues while asking people to throw their hard-earned cash into a bucket.
“It hurts me deeply to see somebody wear a uniform that has never served. We wanted to come here and set the record straight,” Brooks said.
Brooks, a 21-year veteran who served with the Airborne Rangers, came to Martin County from his base in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday to warn county commissioners about the Veterans Support Organization.
“Every person that works with our organization is a veteran, I want to let you know that we don’t want to be confused with that other group,” Brooks said.
I started writing about the Veterans Support Organization in October when they first came to the area, pointing out their 2007 financial reports showed more than 63 percent of what they collected went for fundraising and overhead, and what they collect here goes somewhere else.
I suggested we consider donating money to local organizations staffed by volunteers and without expensive offices, where 100 percent of every dollar donated will go to help a veteran (see a list of local organizations in the info box with this column and online at ).
Since then dozens of people, including local officials, have started questioning the Veterans Support Organization, how it collects money and where the money really goes.
VanHouten says his books are open to anyone and says the organization gave away 52 percent of what it collected in 2008 —$491,000 — to veteran’s causes.
“I will meet with any committee, any group, anybody. We are making a difference in southern Florida, we’re helping the veterans in southern Florida,” VanHouten said.
As I have pointed out before, the Veterans Support Organization does donate some of what it collects to the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Riviera Beach and to other veteran’s programs.
Jimmie King

Woodbury, TN

#32 Mar 2, 2010
Vets or no Vets, you needed to learn to read, not just blow smoke. The one running the Org. in Nashvilles was not and is not a Vet like he said. The man they interviewed WAS A VET wearing a Uniform and laying about the whole deal.But he was also a Homeless Drug Head Vet here to go through Rehib. I didn't see any of us great citizens and Vets out with out time and money doing anything for nothing to help him.

You are a Vet and you have a right to wear your uniform, but not all the Strips and Bars, etc. which goes with it went not active. That man did also. You work at Wal Mart for a living, that man doesn't, but he was still trying to make a living. If a Dime of every penny he took in when to the Vets, that is more than I bet anyone of us give daily to the Vets, Churches or any other thing unless it's the United Way and it is taken out of checks before we get our hands on them. This whole thing is like shooting your dog because your cow died, and your dog was chained at your house. THINK, and thank God there are People out there helping People, and us Vets are not the only ones who do things for this Country and the People of this Country. The Biggest Hereos in this or any other Country are the Trucker, nothing moves and we wouldn't even have TP if it wasn't for them. THINK!!!
Jimmie King

Woodbury, TN

#33 Mar 2, 2010
My wife's dad up in the northern part of Minnesota, is 93 year old and stopped working around 5 years ago, when he sold or gave his Saw Mill to his brother's son. Walter built Roads, fell trees and ran his ONE Man operation where he Ripped and Planned Boards for People by himself. Walter spent his evenings and week ends going around visiting friends and People in Hospitals and Nursing Homes, even the Nursing Home where he is staying himself as of a couple months ago.

Around 3 months or so back, Walter a Finn-lander and being a US Navy War Vet, was told he had Cancer in two or three places, one with in his Colon and it had really spread. Walter was told he had maybe 6 months at most to live, that is when they decided to move him into a Nursing Home so he could no longer still be out driving around daily visiting people. Walter having always been a big hearted working man who was both a giver of his time and money helping others.

Walter was a man who never believed in God or there even being a God. Walter being Preached too over and over about the Lord by Grand-kids and Vivian, and of course his late wife, Vivian's Mother, who was a Hand and Voice raising Christian who died around 8 years ago in the same Nursing Home Walter is now in. Well, after all those years and Preaching, Walter gave his life to the Lord just before entering the Nursing Home.

What is so hard for many to understand, I guess. It Walter still has no Pain and IS NOT taking any kind of Pain Medication. Yesterday, Vivian was told Walter has refused taking Blood Transfusions or any other Treatments, and that one of the Christian Grand Daughters had to go pick him up to-day and drive him to visit some of his friends. Yes, this man having two weeks or less to live, is at Peace, and his big loving heart and very bright mind is still on others and what he can do to help and cheer them along in Life. The only regret Walter has, is that he is not going to be having another Birthday.

Not only has God gone all out to reach Walter and bring him into His Flock by the saving of his Soul, God has allowed Walter to live out a full life plus. Now God's great proof of His Love for this New Creature in Him, and His answering Prayers, is being well displayed by God letting Walter live out these last day of his life without any feeling sick or having Pain. Thank You Jesus. Many or all I have known who have had Colon Cancer were in very bad Pain up until the end, even while on heavy, heavy Morphine. Yes, while I set here with all my excuses of why I'm not going to Church to-day because of no sleep do to Pain, etc., Walter is waiting this morning for a Grand-Daughter to come pick him up, so he can go out visiting the Elderly and others who are sickened and can not or will not get out.

I once wrote a Song Titled "Model Of A Woman." If I was to write a Song today, it would have to be a Story Song about Walter, and it would have to be Titled "A Model Of A Man," while giving all the credit and glory to the Lord. Amen.,,, God Bless, Jimmie

Wyandanch, NY

#34 Mar 5, 2010
The public needs to go by FACTS not OPINIONS.VETERANS SUPPORT gave away 65% OF EVERY DOLLAR RAISED with only raising less than 3,000,000,00 IN 2009. Some of the national chartered VETERANS groups gave away 67-69% with raising 100,000,000,00 Do the homework,these numbers are public info. it is easy to listen to other people,but you are cheating yourselve of the real facts.Do the research,and you will be surprised

Whitney, TX

#35 Mar 11, 2010
These men are making a job out helping Vets!that is crinimal. I spent years raising money in our VFW post,for needy veterans and widows of Veterans,helped a great number of them. No one ever considered taking a dime for any reason for compensation. I greatly appreciate Channel 5 Investigates very much. I wonder how long our government resourses would have allowed this to continue. Only seventeen cents on every Dollar is an outrage, and this group should be brought up before a group of Veterans and asked if they thought it was ok. When was the State Department going to get off it Donkey and do something. I got an idea here, why don't we let the people in charge of investigating the Veteran Nursing Home at Murfreeboro check it out. Maybe they can do the same sorry A-- Job they did on that.
Jimmie King

Woodbury, TN

#36 Mar 11, 2010
I'm not to bright, but I believe it is better to have a little bit of every-thing, than a whole lot of nothing.

It the Vets received 65% or 66% of each Dollar, that is a whole lot more than they had to start with. Not everybody has a income or retirement pay coming in so they can just up and give all their time freely and pick-up the expenice tab out of their own pocket. And your sure no going to find many who will work all day and then spend their Evenings and Week-ends out at their own expenice collecting money for anyone or any cause.

But to all those who do such, I say "God Bless You." And to those who don't, I ask "why don't you-?" Now let the self-excuses roll, they don't cost anything but time. But maybe start with your Church Pastor who more than likely do not work even in the Lord's Service for nothing, work without a House Freely furnished, Benefits and Retirement Plans, Auto Gas paid for as with Treavel Expenices, and fore-sure he or she does not take it all out of their own pockets. And in many cases the Buildings and Lands are owned by them under a Family Business INC. others pay for and keep up. Ask them what is wrong with that even though it is not Scriptural, they will tell you they have to make a living for them and theirs also. So what is wrong with these People making a living for them and theirs-?
billy bob slob

Nashville, TN

#37 Mar 17, 2010

Send the people who steal money fro Vets to a war, digging up Land Mines by theit bare hands.

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