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Thread: State Eyes Bravest Fund Feud

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    State Eyes Bravest Fund Feud

    STATE EYES BRAVEST FUND FEUD

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN



    May 9, 2002 --

    The state attorney general's office is stepping into an ugly fight between the firefighter's union and family members who accuse labor officials of trying to hold onto some $60 million in 9/11 donations.

    The lawyer for a group of relatives from 60 families fired off a letter to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's charities bureau yesterday, asking the agency to investigate the handling of the Widows and Children's Fund of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

    "What the union is doing here is outrageous," said the lawyer, Randy Mastro.

    Spitzer's office said it would take a look at the dispute.

    "These families have already been victimized by the horror of 9/11. They shouldn't be victimized again by the very union that represented their fallen loved ones."

    Mastro has asked the charities bureau to consider taking the union to court over the fund, which stood at less than $1 million before Sept. 11 and then ballooned to between $60 million and $70 million.

    The families are angry because the union wants to invest that money and then dole out relatively modest amounts to the relatives over many years.

    Under the union plan, the money would not only go out to relatives of firefighters who died on Sept. 11, but would also reach the families of other firefighters who died in the line of duty.

    However, only widows and children would benefit - meaning the kin of single or childless firefighters would not see a penny, Mastro said.

    The fund would pay eligible families $20,000 up front, followed by $3,000 a year for each widow and child. Once kids reached the age of 24, they would get a final payment of $50,000.

    Instead, the families want the UFA to keep only $3 million as a reserve and distribute the rest immediately, with the money divvied up equally between the families of both single and married firefighters killed on Sept. 11, and firefighters who died beforehand and left widows or children.


    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/47575.htm

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    Survivors of Firefighters Ask to Look Into Union Charity

    May 9 2002

    Survivors of Firefighters Ask to Look Into Union Charity
    By STEPHANIE STROM

    group of widows and families of single firefighters who died on Sept. 11 have asked the New York State attorney general to investigate the main firefighter union's handling of tens of millions of dollars in donations they believe were made to immediately assist the survivors of those lost in the World Trade Center disaster.

    The group, which calls itself Widows Helping to Overcome Loss Everyday, or Whole, has accused the Uniformed Firefighters Association of failing to promptly distribute much of the at least $60 million it has raised for the U.F.A. Widows' and Children's Fund since the attacks. The group claims the union is attempting to hold much of the money to finance the fund into the future, something they maintain does not reflect the wishes of the people who made the donations.

    The group has also objected to the union's decision not to make payments to family members of the 85 single firefighters who died in the attacks.

    In a letter to the attorney general's office, lawyers for the widows and family members asked the office to investigate what it called the union's "disturbing and, in our view, illegal conduct."

    Officials with the union would not respond yesterday to the specific complaints made by the group of widows, but the union has also asked the attorney general's office to resolve the dispute.

    The union has proposed giving each married firefighter's family a lump-sum payment of $20,000 and $3,000 each year for each widow and dependent child, followed by a $50,000 final payment to each child in the year he or she turns 24.

    "I believe that money was collected for the benefit of the widows and the families for the firefighters, but the union wants to control it," said Jean Fischer, whose husband, Lt. John Fischer, was promoted to captain in Ladder Company 20 after he died on Sept. 11. "It gives them power to have this kind of money, and they like that."

    The skirmish is the latest in a series of fights over charitable donations administered by the unions. Widows of police officers who died in the attack have complained about the administration and distributions of the more than $11 million raised by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association after Sept. 11.

    Randy M. Mastro, the lawyer representing the widows' group, said the union told him that its plan for distributing the money would leave the fund, which was created in 1978

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Battle Over $60M Fund

    Battle Over $60M Fund
    Grieving survivors in clash with firefighters union

    By MIKE CLAFFEY
    Daily News Staff Writer

    The Uniformed Firefighters Association is sitting on more than $60 million donated to a fund for widows and children of fallen firefighters

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