Monday, April 11, 2016

Who Can You Trust Anymore?

Last month both Bill and I received letters from the American Legion Post 28, of which we are members, requesting donations to fix their roof.

I thought it was an odd request since the American Legion Post 28 is the fourth largest American Legion in the United States.  Whenever we're down there (we only go to put our name on a ledger to reserve a ride to the Veterans Medical Center in Wilmington - we would spend more time at their facility in Millsboro but smoking is permitted on the premises because they are a private club and we can't take the second hand smoke) we note that the parking lot if full and the facility itself is full, with veterans' playing pool, hanging out at the bar (yes Virginia, veterans hang out at the bar at even 10 AM in the morning - private club don't you know), and eating at their restaurant facilities.

Photo I took of the American Legion Post the time I tripped on that yellow strip and fractured my arm. 

I correctly assumed that this American Legion post was flush with money.  They have several fund raisers during the year.  Our membership costs $39 a year.  And, they have gambling on the premises and you know that the house always wins when there is gambling.

So it was with some puzzlement that I read this letter from the American Legion begging for money.  What really caught my eye was the sentence:

"The why of the lack of funds is not important at this point."

WTF? (excuse the French)

My first thought was someone has embezzled money from the American Legion. This coming from me who adult working career was accounting and control in the trust department of several different banks.  Yes, I was the guy who made sure the debits and credits matched.  My last jobs at several different banks I was brought in as a consultant to reconcile out of balance situations.  And in doing so I often uncovered "sticky fingers" that took advantage of those out of balance situations.  So of course my first thought reading "The why of the lack of funds is not important at this point."  


Yesterday, while I was on the computer, Bill appeared at my home office door with his iPad and said "Look at this Ron."  Of course I was irritated being interrupted from my online Scrabble game but these days I try to be more patient, as people are often patient with me.

This is what I saw on Bill's iPad:

Yep. Five officers of the American Legion Post 28 were charged with STEALING $641,000!


Actually, there were six of them stealing, one has since died after stealing $218,040.  

Folks, I cannot emphasize enough how disappointed I am in this development.  Actually I was sick to my stomach when I read it.  With all the thievery going on today; from the top 1% taking even more from the rapidly disappearing middle class, to lying politicians, to identity thieves, to our outrageously expensive medical system, to harassment by telemarketing calls, to . . . . . . well, so much more.  The one institution I could count on was the American Legion, especially this American Legion post which gave us free rides (Bill and I always paid them anyway) to the VA in Wilmington

I am reminded of that old Johnny Carson/Ed McMahon show before Johnny hit it big time with the "Tonight Show."

"Who Do You Trust?"


Header photo on this blog Bill took of me butching it up by the tank outside the American Legion Post 28 last summer


  1. Ron, I am so sorry members of your American Legion post have had to endure this indignity. When I worked for Sacramento City School District, similar outrages occurred every 15 or 20 years, sometimes oftener, and employees suffered, the kids and community suffered. Sometimes some of the revenue could be recovered --never all of it-- and litigation dragged on interminably. I just wish people could more honest and principled, and that oversight committees could pick up their paces. Veterans, everybody, deserves better than officials with their hands in the till.

    1. Geo.,
      What astounds me is that there was no oversight on the funds collected and spent by this American Legion Post. And now they want more money and say "The why of lack of funds is not important at this point." The arrogance both in the statement and asking for more money. Amazing, simply amazing.

  2. Ron,

    I trust no one or anything except God. The corruption is getting worse and will get more so. All I can really do is not do the same. Each of us to make the effort to be honest keep a little of it in the world.


    1. Lar,
      I trust some people, like you for instance. And other friends of mine. I'm glad you find comfort in "trusting God" but as you know that doesn't apply to my view of life. To me that's like saying I trust the Easter Bunny. Doesn't work for me. t know one thing, I trust myself.

  3. I was helping a family in which one of the sons had stolen a large sum of money from his elderly mother, I asked "well how bad was his drug habit" and got a response I never expected to hear, it was prostitutes, the man had spent $250,000 on hookers in a year. He admitted doing so to his wife, under pressure from his sisters. Oh, the joys of dysfunctional families.

    1. David,
      What a sad story. I may be estranged from my brothers (because I'm gay and had the temerity to get married for real) but one thing I can say, my brothers are honest and we would never do such a thing to my Mother. We have a dysfunctional family, as are most I believe, but thank goodness we're honest.

  4. Ron - that's a pretty shocking story in that it happened at an institution which is based on principles like looking out for others - vets who have served (if I understand correctly). And then on the other hand, it's not surprising as so much goes wrong it seems with every type of organization, private or public. I hope some of that money can be returned to pay for the new roof. In fact it seems so bizarre to me the statement contained in the request for funds "the why of the lack of funds is not important at this point".

    1. Pat,
      I felt the same way, "The why of the lack of funds is not important at this point." That was the red flag that I knew money was stolen land someone failed along the way to have proper controls. Our vets deserve more.


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