Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dem indicted for homeless scams

One of the subjects we address in Chapter One of DONKEY CONS is how Democrats' class-warfare ideology allows them to shrug off scandals. After all, what's a little scandal to a party that defends the poor and downtrodden against the rich and powerful?

This is a myth, of course. In Springfield, Mass., veteran Democratic politician Francis G. Keough III got himself appointed director of the local homeless shelter:
Eight months after indicted shelter director Francis G. Keough III was fired, Friends of the Homeless Inc. is still negotiating with state officials to end a funding freeze that has cost the agency more than $250,000 and hindered its rebuilding campaign. ...

Keough, 47, a former five-term city councilor, awaits trial on fraud, perjury, conspiracy, tax evasion, witness tampering and other charges arising from his management of the shelter.

Some more details:

Keough ... is accused of numerous fraud charges – ranging from stealing appliances and other goods from local charities to outfit his $700,000 Rhode Island vacation home to charging the shelter for time he worked on former state Sen. Linda J. Melconian’s failed bid for the mayor’s seat in 2003. ....

Keough also stacked the shelter's board of directors with friends and those beholden to him. ...
Among others, he appointed his real estate lawyer, Frank A. Caruso, who allegedly paid Keough $5,000 to gain forgiveness of a city loan; Michael R. Wells, a one-time School Committee candidate whom Keough helped to get jobs with the New England Farm Workers Council and as a state probation officer; and two tenants for whom he secured rental assistance meant for the poor and homeless, even though they were neither.
In exchange, Keough's board-approved salary jumped from $40,000 to $95,000 between 1994 and 2005. His vacation time doubled to six weeks. He scored a $500 monthly car allowance, plus other bonuses including a "performance award" of $10,000 in 2001.

In addition to (allegedly) enriching himself in the name of helping the homeless, Keough is also accused of getting himself a little Clintonesque action:
Keough handed out no-show jobs. ...

Keough traded rooms at the shelter for sex with two female residents.

Keough collected $50,000 in “consulting fees” from the Springfield Housing Authority for helping to obtain a city department head job for the son of former authority director Raymond B. Asselin, who is charged in a separate corruption investigation. His son, James, is serving federal prison time for bilking the city out of $600,000 while he worked at the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium, a city agency.
Keough used shelter employees and inmates recruited to perform community service to perform maintenance, landscaping and other chores at his residences here and in Rhode Island, at his rental properties and at the homes of his friends.
In all, Keough is accused of charging city, state and federal agencies that reimburse the shelter for salaries and supplies: $230,000 in bogus salaries; $27,500 for maintenance supplies purchased from his brother-in-law; and thousands more for phony rental vouchers intended for the homeless.

Remember Mr. Keough's "ministry" to the homeless, next time some Democrat tells you how much they care about the poor.

-- McCAIN