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Pastor who stole more than $631,000 from AIDS charities claims he’s ‘entitled to it’

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A New York City pastor is being charged with stealing money that was allocated to go to help HIV-positive drug addicts to use for Caribbean vacations and gifts for himself.

According to the New York Daily News, Bronx Pastor Reginald Williams, of the Charity Baptist Church of Christ, scammed nonprofit groups out of more than $631,000. Two others, Bennie Hadnott and Naomi Barrera, helped Williams and were charged with grand larceny in the Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday.

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Hadnott scored $40,000 from a contract with his Tondah Consulting Group and he managed to get $54,000 in kickbacks on top of it.

“Williams allegedly used the money to pay off his American Express bill and write cashier’s checks to himself and his wife,” NYDN reported.

Two taxpayer-funded nonprofits were completely plundered, according to prosecutors. Barrera is accused of using proceeds from a real estate sale. Barrera scored $30,000 and Williams pocketed $135,000.

“Prosecutors said Williams also had a lucrative expense reimbursement hustle,” wrote the NYDN. “They said he expensed $100,000 spent on trips to the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic and treated himself to $170,000 worth of dinners and bar tabs. He allegedly double-dipped his reimbursements by submitting the same receipts to both ARC affiliates.”

The men “shamelessly stole from publicly funded organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. “Even while their organizations struggled financially – failing to meet contractual obligations and even furloughing employees without pay – these defendants continued to drain the coffers for their personal gain.”

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Williams’ attorney disputes the account, saying that he raised over $14 million for the foundation. Because he raised the money, “he was entitled to” it, said attorney Paul Martin. “The board made the decision to pay my client, to pay him for the years in which he got no salary.”

Read the full report from the New York Daily News.


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2020 Election

These Florida Cuban-American voters are flipping their support from Trump to Biden: ‘I know what a dictator looks like’

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In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of reporting on President Donald Trump’s efforts to make inroads with Latino voters. But it’s important to note where most of those inroads have been made: Trump has generally fared much better among Cuban-Americans in Florida than among Mexican-Americans in western states or Puerto Ricans in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. And journalist David Smiley, in an article published in the Miami Herald on September 21, stresses that Trump’s support among Cuban-Americans is by no means universal.

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McConnell’s Supreme Court fight exposes the contempt he and Trump hold for millions of Americans: op-ed

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Writing for the Washington Post this Monday, Greg Sargent says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's forging ahead with a vote to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg is more than just "hypocrisy" -- it's a demonstration of "the contempt that McConnell and Trump hold for millions and millions of American voters."

"It’s about their cavalier willingness to treat all those voters’ political preferences as having no legitimate purchase at all — that is, when they vote for Democrats," Sargent writes.

According to Sargent, the "real game" was given away by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who declared that the “Constitution gives Senators the power” to confirm nominees, and so “no one should be surprised” if they do it in this case.

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2020 Election

Younger voters are most likely to have their absentee ballots rejected — here’s why

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As half or more of the 2020 presidential election's votes will be cast on mailed-out ballots, a new study on why absentee ballots were rejected in three urban California counties in 2018 reveals why young voters' ballots were rejected at triple the rate of all voters.

Nationally, it is well known that absentee ballots arriving after state deadlines, problems with a voter's signature on the return envelope not matching their voter registration, or a missing signature account for more than half of all rejected ballots, as the latest federal statistics affirm. But a new California Voter Foundation (CVF) study reveals the most likely causes behind those errors, especially for young voters.

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