Controversy over the use of 9/11 donations by a charity in New York-Truth! But Resolved!
A Charity Fund For September 11 Victims is Helping People Suspected of Being Connected with the Terrorist Attacks-Not Anymore!
Summary of eRumor:
It is alleged in this eRumor that eight people being held in connection with the terrorist attacks are being helped by a charity that is receiving funds for victims of the attacks. The name of the charity is the "September 11th Fund." The fund is affiliated with United Way, said to have given a grant of $171,000 to the Legal Aid Society, which is assisting in the legal aid of suspects detained in Brooklyn, N.Y.
According to the Legal Aid Society in New York, none of the detainees being investigated for association with terrorists is any longer being helped by them.
The suspects in question had been not been charged with being terrorists, but had been detained for immigration violations as a part of continuing investigation into any potential ties. The Legal Aid Society says that their Immigration Unit helps people accused of immigration violations only, and not other crimes. According to their statement, the Society was asked by an Immigration judge to interview a number of people of Middle Eastern descent who had been charged with immigration violations. After the interviews, most of the cases were referred to the state bar. Three of the cases were accepted by the Immigration Unit for representation, but since that time, one of them has been settled and the other two turned out to have issues beyond immigration violations, and the society is not representing them.
An earlier 11/9/01 report from the Associated Press had said that a donation of $171,000 from United Way's September 11 Fund was given to the Legal Aid Society.
At that time, officials from the Legal Aid Society said all of the funds were going to help victims of the terrorist attacks and none of them was being used for the immigration detainees. The National and Legal Policy Center, however, a legal group, said it did not believe that donors would want their money supporting a group that is helping anyone arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks.
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
Sept. 11 Charity Gave Money to Group Defending Terror Suspects
By Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
November 08, 2001
1st Add: Includes September 11 Fund news release statement.
(CNSNews.com) – A charity fund established to help victims of the Sept. 11th attacks made a grant of $171,000 to a group defending eight individuals being held in connection with the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
The grant from the September 11th Fund, which is affiliated with the
United Way, was given to the Legal Aid Society, a group that is aiding in
the legal defense of eight suspects detained in Brooklyn, N.Y. as a result
of the government’s investigation into the terrorist attacks.
“Instead of helping out the victims, they’re actually helping out
potentially suspected terrorists,” said Dan Rene of the legal watchdog
group National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC).
“With all the questions about the fund-raising on behalf of victims, this
is a very shocking development,” said Rene. “I think a lot of people will
be very outraged.”
One official with the September 11th Fund refused to comment, and other
officials did not respond to repeated inquiries. Representatives from the
Legal Aid Society were also unavailable for comment.
In its Oct. 3rd announcement, the September 11 Fund stated the grant to
the Legal Aid Society will be used to “provide immediate direct legal
services to the thousands of lower-income individuals working in or near
the World Trade Center (including cleaning staff, waiters, messengers,
vendors, etc.) who were directly affected by the terrorist attack.”
According to Rene, the September 11th fund announced on October 3 the
$171,000 grant to the Legal Aid Society was ostensibly to “provide
emergency civil legal assistance to low-income attack victims.”
Ken Boehm and Peter Flaherty of the NLPC wrote in a letter today to the
September 11th Fund, “At a time when the public is questioning why so few
of the victims have received aid they desperately need from groups that
have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, it is disturbing that the
Legal Aid Society rushed to provide free civil help to the detainees.”
The letter continued, “We believe the public will be outraged, and
justifiably so, to learn that funds from the September 11th Fund are going
to support a group which is apparently providing civil legal help to those
jailed on violations of immigration law in the wake of September 11
The government has not released the identity of the eight men being
detained on immigration violations. The men are in solitary confinement in
the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in
The United Way and Hollywood celebrities have come under fire in recent
days because of questions regarding the financial distribution of the
September 11th Fund. Actress Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, who
participated in fund-raising efforts, have previously called for a greater
accounting of where the money has gone.