New York, NY—New York State Senator Brad Hoylman announced today an investigation in conjunction with ABC7 Eyewitness News into the “New York Times Square News” (TSN), a for-profit organization soliciting donations from tourists in Times Square and falsely holding itself out as a charity.
The operators of TSN are the former directors of the sham not-for-profit United Homeless Organization. As part of a June 2010 judgment obtained by the Attorney General shutting down the fraudulent group, they were permanently barred from operating a not-for-profit in New York State.
Senator Hoylman said: “This is a shakedown in plain sight. These professional panhandlers posing as charity workers have no place in Times Square or anywhere in New York. My investigation with Eyewitness News has once again exposed the operators as con artists and I have alerted the Attorney General as a result. Their deceptive practices must be barred once and for all.”
Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said: “We are extremely grateful to Senator Hoylman for his leadership in drawing attention to another chronic quality of life and consumer protection issue in Times Square.”
Senator Hoylman’s own first-hand investigation found that solicitors affiliated with TSN mislead the public into believing they are contributing to charitable efforts. In addition, solicitors sometimes are an aggressive and menacing presence to those who ignore their appeals or question their legitimacy. Operating on Senator Hoylman’s tip, Eyewitness News caught TSN’s aggressive solicitors on camera claiming to be collecting money for the homeless and found the promised tourist information of TSN was either non-existent or wildly inaccurate.
On the heels of the Eyewitness News exposé, Senator Hoylman has sent a letter to NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and NY Secretary of State Cesar Perales, bringing the shady enterprise to their attention and calling on them to take appropriate action.
You can read the full copy of the letter from Senator Hoylman below.