This is the organization that you may find peddling for money in front of Walgreens or Walmart - VSO (Veterans Support Organization) run by Richard Van Houten
The state of Tennessee and others insist they are a fraudulent veterans group.
A veterans charity already under scrutiny for how it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tennessee handed out only a fraction of the money in the form of gift cards and threatened to fire workers if they didn't meet fundraising quotas, former employees say.
According to the 2011 earnings report to the IRS, the charity took in contributions of nearly $8.5 million but distributed less than $300,000 in grants and contributions.
More than $1.8 million went to salaries and compensation, including an annual salary of $286,000 for president and founder Richard Van Houten. Jones also said chapter managers could earn large bonuses if fundraising goals were met.
The charity also claims that it has housing programs in six chapters, including Tennessee, that aim to provide “sober, subsidized, transitional living for indigent veterans and to offer supportive services to help veterans recover from addiction and/or life’s misfortunes quickly so they can return to a successful, independent lifestyle.”
The charity’s former workers said all the program amounted to in Tennessee was a rented house.
They claim they were not provided with food, clothing or social services.
The charity’s executives would not answer questions about the housing program.
Jones said the charity claimed the house it rented in Madison was part of the program as it charged the workers $400 a month to live there.
McKenzie, who was living in the home, said all the charity provided them in the home was bunk beds — but no sheets — and plastic dressers for their clothes.
Veteran Organization Fraud posted by David Apperson