Wolves in Sheep Skin-The “Charities”

Wolves in Sheep Skin-The “Charities”

Water Aid, a charitable organization in America, incorporated in Delaware with corporate offices in NY. David Winder, President and CEO (current) *April 1, 2008 – March 31, 2009 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances. Compensation information for Mr. Winder is not available at this time. Past CEO Patricia Dandonoli received $281,866 in compensation for the year ended March 31, 2009. Duh…expected.
The salary information below was calculated by adding the IRS Form 990 categories of “Compensation,” “Contributions to employee benefit plans,” and “Expense accounts and other allowances.” Not included are any benefits received but not reported in the charity’s IRS Form 990.When information is given only on the national headquarters and the charity does not include its affiliates in its financial statements, “National Office” or “N.O.” appears after the group’s name.

This table was published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report.


Name & Title Organization
Top Salary*
Peter T. Scardino, M.D., Chairman Attending Surgery, Department of Surgery Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Michael Friedman, M.D., CEO City of Hope
Edward J. Benz, Jr., M.D., President/CEO
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Jimmy Fund
Kenneth Guidera, Chief Medical Officer
Shriners Hospitals for Children
Includes $939,936 retirement and other deferred compensation.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President/CEO International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
Includes $602,397 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan.
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Past President Heritage Foundation
Steven E. Sanderson, Past President/CEO Wildlife Conservation Society
Jonathan W. Simons, M.D., President/CEO Prostate Cancer Foundation
Robert J. Beall, President/CEO Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Brian Gallagher, President/CEO United Way Worldwide
Harry Johns, President/CEO Alzheimer’s Association – N.O.
Includes $393,218 retirement and other deferred compensation.
Robert J. Mazzuca, Past Chief Scout Executive Boy Scouts of America – N.O.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO & Executive VP/Ex-Officio National Rifle Association & Foundation, respectively
Scott A. Blackmun, CEO United States Olympic Committee
William R. Brody, M.D., President Salk Institute for Biological Studies
William E. Evans, Director/CEO St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ALSAC
Christopher DeMuth, Past Senior Fellow American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Includes $500,000 severance and $606,075 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan, and excludes $550,572 earned in prior years.
M. Kathryn Cloninger, Past CEO Girl Scouts of the USA – N.O.
Nancy A. Brown, CEO American Heart Association
David Harris, Executive Director American Jewish Committee
John R. Seffrin, CEO American Cancer Society
Larry Jones, Past CEO Feed the Children/Americans Feeding Americans
$800,000 severance to fired founder.
James E. Williams, Jr., President/CEO Easter Seals
Rabbi Marvin Hier, President/CEO Simon Wiesenthal Center
Michael L. Lomax, President/CEO UNCF/The College Fund


In this feature you’ll find the personalities behind the major charity scandals that inspire our work and illustrate the importance of a tough charity watchdog that is unafraid to challenge wrongdoing. The most important lesson to be learned from the following colorful stories of charity scoundrels is that regardless of how distinguished, well-connected and honored a charity leader is, he is only human and may be tempted to use the power and influence of his position to abuse the public’s trust and thusly become the next member of the CharityWatch Hall of Shame.

Father Bruce Ritter

The late Father Bruce Ritter founded Covenant House (CH) in 1972 to create a safe shelter for homeless teenagers. The organization had its humble beginnings in Ritter’s shabby New York apartment where he first began providing housing for homeless youth. CH quickly grew into one of the most well-regarded charities in the nation. Ritter was called an “unsung hero” by President Reagan and was applauded by the first President Bush and Mother Teresa, alike. But underneath all of this public acclaim, rumors had circulated for years of sexual relations between Ritter and residents of CH, according to a report commissioned by the charity.

Four men stepped forward between 1989 and 1990, according to Time magazine, accusing Ritter of having sexual relationships with them while they were under his care. Ritter allegedly diverted up to $25,000 in CH money to finance one of these affairs, according to Time. Although Ritter denied these allegations, he stepped down amidst the scandal. CH then launched its own investigation into the priest. The resulting report cited 15 cases of reported sexual contacts between Ritter and people sheltered or working at CH. The report concluded that evidence “that Father Ritter engaged in sexual activities with certain residents and made sexual advances towards certain members of the Faith Community is extensive.”

The investigators also found what they described as minor financial irregularities at CH. According to the report, Ritter diverted CH funds to the Franciscan Charitable Trust, an organization he founded, and loaned charity money to two senior staff members who later resigned. The report also noted that CH had been structured so that Ritter had complete legal and operational control over its affairs, giving the board little authority or oversight powers.

William Aramony

William Aramony served for 22 years as president and CEO of United Way of America(UWA), the umbrella group for thousands of local United Way organizations that fund social and human service projects nationwide. In 1992, Aramony resigned amidst allegations that he siphoned money from UWA through spin-off companies he helped to create. Before the scandal broke, Aramony was widely respected as one of the most influential nonprofit leaders of his time. He even had a hand in creating many of the rules under which charities operate today. In 1995, Aramony and two conspirators, Thomas Merlo and Stephen Paulachak, were convicted of defrauding UWA. Aramony was convicted on 25 felony counts and sentenced to seven years in prison for fraudulently diverting $1.2 million of the charity’s money to benefit himself and his friends.

This scandal is especially memorable given how Aramony chose to use some of the charity’s funds. For instance, he used UWA cash to woo a girl, Lori Villasor, who was only 17 years old when they began dating; Aramony was 59. He met Villasor while dating her slightly older sister. Both young women were added to UWA’s payroll. For his notoriously young girlfriend, Aramony spent $450,000 of the charity’s money to purchase and lavishly furnish a New York condo; $78,000 to chauffeur her around New York City; and $4,800 to renovate her home in Florida. The couple vacationed in Egypt, London, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. The New York Times reported on the testimony of Aramony’s former aide, Rina Duncan, with whom he also had an affair. Duncan testified to falsifying Aramony’s expense records for seven years so that he could charge the charity for things like champagne, flowers and plane tickets for Villasor.

Aramony was also known for treating female employees inappropriately. He offered some women financial benefits if they had sex with him and would transfer those who declined, according to the indictment. Aramony’s lawyer claimed there were medical reasons for his client’s behavior, arguing Aramony’s ability to control impulses was impaired by brain atrophy.

When Aramony resigned amidst scandal in 1992, the organization’s growth in contributions stalled for a few years. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, remarked in USA Todayin 1995 as to how the scandal influenced public perception of charities, saying, “It created a climate where donors are more questioning. They want to know more about how an organization is governed and the ethics of its leaders.”

John Bennett, Jr.

In 1989, philanthropist and entrepreneur John Bennett, Jr. founded the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy (New Era), an organization which boldly promised to double the investments of nonprofits. In reality, New Era was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that, at the time of its collapse, was considered the biggest financial scandal in the history of American charities. Victims lost $135 million to New Era over its five and a half years of operation.

New Era’s premise was simple: a nonprofit would deposit money with New Era for a period of time. At the end of the holding period, the deposit would be matched by an anonymous donor and the now doubled funds would be sent back to the nonprofit. In reality, New Era was paying its original investors with money from new investors. It covered any shortfalls with loans that eventually totaled $50 million. In 1995, New Era’s loans were called in. Unable to repay them Bennett was forced to place New Era into bankruptcy and admit that his anonymous donors never existed.

In 1996, Bennett was charged in an 82 count indictment. Evidence showed that Bennett siphoned approximately $7 million from New Era for personal expenditures, including transferring charity funds to his own for-profit businesses. In 1995 he also used New Era funds to buy a Lexus and to pay himself an average of $26,785 per week in consulting fees. In 1998, Bennett was sentenced to twelve years in prison for his crimes.

Bennett was able to cover his tracks for so long by giving false information to both regulators and investors. For example, in correspondences with the IRS, Bennett misrepresented New Era’s assets, listed fictitious board members, and submitted fabricated board meeting minutes. He also used his reputation as a leading Christian figure to disarm donor suspicions. Bennett was able to secure donations from prominent donors such as Laurance Rockefeller, the brother of David Rockefeller, and former Treasury Secretary William Simon; and investments from major nonprofits like American Red CrossWorld Vision, and Nature Conservancy. The caliber of those associated with New Era helped attract others. As quoted by the Associated Press, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff commented that nonprofits “evidently saw New Era making money for a competitor and just played follow the leader, gambling away their individual donor contributions for snake oil.”

Lorraine Hale

Hale House (HH) was co-founded in 1969 by Clara Hale, a Depression era widow known for taking needy children into her home, earning her the affectionate title “Mother Hale.” For decades, HH provided help for children touched by poverty, drug abuse, and AIDS. Sadly, Clara Hale’s daughter and HH co-founder, Lorraine Hale, tarnished the legacy of her mother and the image of the venerable charity when she took over after her mother’s death in 1992.

Extravagant spending by Lorraine Hale and her husband, Jesse DeVore, who was employed as HH’s public relations director, was widely reported in the media. The New York Daily News exposed that Hale House Foundation (HHF), a separate fundraising arm of the charity, spent $444,953 on a bronze statue of Mother Hale in 1995. HHF also amassed an art collection valued at $440,133, according to the paper, most of which Lorraine Hale used to adorn her private office. The New York Times reported that HH employees overheard DeVore refer to the shelter’s children as “cash cows.”

In 2002, Hale and DeVore were criminally indicted by then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for stealing over $700,000 from their charity. AG Spitzer also filed a civil suit against the two, seeking the recovery of over $1 million in charity funds that Hale used to pay her property taxes, install a jacuzzi in her home, pay her brother’s legal expenses, and give $500,000 to her husband’s failed theatrical production. That same year, Hale and DeVore pled guilty to stealing Hale House funds and falsifying business records.

Roger Chapin

Roger Chapin, a self-described “non-profit entrepreneur,” founded more than thirty charities and advocacy projects over more than forty years. His causes ranged from curing Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, to assisting veterans. Unfortunately, Chapin’s track record often showed that he used his charities to enrich himself and his friends while spending too little on funding the causes he touted. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed Chapin in 2007 when he refused to voluntarily testify at its hearing on rampant financial inefficiency at many of the nation’s veterans charities. Chapin was later compelled to testify at a second hearing in early 2008.

Congress’ investigation confirmed CharityWatch’s previous findings that only about 25% of the $168 million raised between 2004 and 2006 by Chapin’s veterans charities, Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH), went to veterans. During the same period Chapin and his wife received $1.5 million in compensation, plus $340,000 to cover restaurant, hotel and other expenses. $446,000 of charity funds were used to purchase a condo for use by Chapin and his wife, according to the investigation. Chapin hired his long-time friend and direct mail expert, Richard Viguerie, to conduct fundraising campaigns for HHV, paying Viguerie’s company $14 million between 2000 and 2005.

Chapin was highly skilled at painting his charities in a favorable light for potential donors, often using celebrities to promote his nonprofit endeavors, or employing accounting tricks to inflate his charities’ financial efficiencies. For example, CSAH paid $100,000 to General Tommy Franks in exchange for his endorsement, the congressional investigation revealed. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, who was invited to provide advice and expert testimony at the hearing, alerted the Committee about unusual or inefficient financial transactions at Chapin’s charities. In 2006 HHV and CSAH each counted the same donated “phone cards,” valued by the charities at $18.7 million, as a contribution and program expense in their financial statements. These cards could not be used by soldiers overseas to call home, but rather to listen to sports scores and hear advertisements. Combined with $2 million in donated public service airtime, the cards accounted for 85% of CSAH’s reported program expenses in 2006. This financial reporting made Chapin’s charities appear to be highly efficient even though most of the charities’ cash was not going to veterans.

When Chapin retired from HHV in 2009 he rewarded himself, with approval from his charity’s board of directors, with a generous $1.9 million payout which HHV claimed was for “retirement.” This payment was in addition to the years of annual, multiple six-figure salary and benefits he received while serving as president of the organization. Click here to read more about Roger Chapin’s extraordinary retirement payout from HHV. After retiring from HHV, Chapin continued as president of CSAH and a newer nonprofit he founded, Help Wounded Heroes.

Roger Chapin passed away in August of 2013 just as he and other directors of HHV had reached a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office requiring them to resign from the charity and to pay a collective $2.5 million in restitution. Read about the details of the settlement in Leadership Booted at Dishonored Veterans Charity.

Larry Jones

CharityWatch members are certain to be familiar with Larry Jones, whose antics as president of F rated Feed the Children (FC) earned the group the moniker “Most Outrageous Charity in America” from CharityWatch. Jones is also famous for appearing in FC’s television infomercials that featured malnourished children in impoverished areas around the world. During Jones’ nearly three decades as president of the charity, FC was plagued by financial impropriety and mismanagement. For example, in 1999 an investigation by television station WTVF revealed that local FC executive staff in Nashville regularly took boxes of donated goods for themselves from the FC warehouse. That same year The Daily Oklahoman reported that FC allegedly attempted to pressure the newspaper into not reporting on Jones’ son, Allen, who had filed for personal bankruptcy and revealed that he owed his father’s charity $950,000. The paper’s editor reported that Jones said he would give the newspaper a story “twice as good” if it did not publish its story. CharityWatch sounded the alarm bell when it came out that FC’s former chief financial director confessed to forging the signature of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen on FC’s 1997, 1998, and 1999 financial statements. Jones also had a history of making major decisions without board approval, including awarding a $40 million annual, no-bid television buying agreement to Affiliated Media Group, a company that employed Jones’ son, Allen.

Despite the numerous scandals that took place under Jones’ leadership, he remained at the charity for nearly three decades before FC’s board finally took action. The final straw was Jones’ 2009 admission that he had authorized the wiretapping of FC’s offices in order to secretly record his conversations with his employees. FC’s board decided to put an end to his “freewheeling dominance” over the charity, demanding that Jones take a sabbatical for an indefinite period of time. Jones did not go away quietly. He attempted to install a new board who would be loyal to him. When that failed and he was fired, Jones responded with a wrongful termination suit.

The charity responded with a countersuit alleging that Jones took kickbacks from vendors, lied to FC’s board about giving himself and his wife unauthorized raises, misused charity funds, and had a large stash of pornography hidden in his private area at this Christian charity. In January 2011, Jones and FC announced a resolution of the legal dispute. Jones is no longer associated with the charity he founded, which continues to receive an F rating from CharityWatch.

In the CharityWatch archive, you can find more articles on the antics involving Feed the Children and Larry Jones.

John Donald Cody aka “Bobby Thompson”

'Bobby Thompson' pictured in 2006 and 2008A man who assumed the stolen identity of “Bobby Thompson” disappeared in June 2010. He’s now on the lam with a nationwide warrant for his arrest for crimes including corruption, theft, and money laundering associated with his sham charity, The United States Navy Veterans Association (USNVA). Thompson gained credibility for his organization, and donors’ trust, by claiming that he and other charity officers were ex-military men, and that USNVA had been in operation since 1927 with dozens of local chapters throughout the U.S. The charity’s website boasted of 66,000 “members,” cited substantial contributions from nonexistent foundations, and featured thank-you notes from soldiers USNVA purported to have helped. An in-depth investigation conducted by the St. Petersburg Times exposed USNVA to be virtually a one-man operation run out of a Florida duplex by an unidentifiable man with no record of military service. By the time Thompson’s deception was uncovered he had already succeeded in bilking donors out of nearly $100 million over a seven year period.

Thompson’s con extended beyond charity fraud to influencing legislation. He hired a lobbyist to persuade Senator Patsy Ticer to sponsor a Virginia state law exempting certain veterans groups like USNVA from registration that discloses financial activities and other information for public scrutiny. Senator Ticer agreed to sponsor the bill, and by the time she became aware of the serious problems at USNVA it was too late to prevent it from becoming law. Thompson also contributed $67,500 to Virginia politicians. After the USNVA scandal broke all of them eventually agreed to donate those monies to other veterans charities.

Thompson disappeared just as several states began investigating USNVA, with Ohio’s attorney general (AG) taking the lead. In October 2010, an Ohio grand jury indicted Thompson and Blanca Contreras-a former citrus processing plant employee who had signed USNVA registration papers in several states claiming to hold executive positions at the group. Contreras was arrested and pled guilty to charges including corruption, theft, and money laundering. She is currently serving a five-year sentence in Ohio. According to a press release from the Ohio AG, the state “won a default judgment for $3.7 million plus attorney fees” from USNVA, having “proved the organization had falsely claimed to raise money for US veterans’ causes; in reality, very little money ever went to help veterans.”

For more on the USNVA scandal, read Phantom Charity Takes Flight: Leaves Veterans Stranded.

2013 UPDATE: Bobby Thompson was captured by U.S. Marshals in Portland, Oregon after being on the run for close to two years. After his arrest authorities found numerous fraudulent ID’s in his possession, as well as a suitcase with $980,000 worth of cash. Thompson later admitted that his real name is John Donald Cody. Mr. Cody has been described as a Harvard-educated lawyer and a former Army intelligence officer. In November 2013 an Ohio court convicted him on 23 counts including stealing, identity theft, money laundering and record tampering. He received a 28-year prison sentence and a $6 million fine. In an interview with Reuters, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff said “No one has ever made a bigger mockery of veterans, politicians and charity as Bobby Thompson did with his U.S. Navy Veterans Association.”

Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson photo courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsGreg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute(CAI) and author of New York Times best selling booksThree Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, was the darling of philanthropic and literary communities until CharityWatch began investigating his charity in 2009. CharityWatch uncovered a serious lack of segregation between CAI’s finances and Greg Mortenson’s personal business interests. 2009 financials showed that the charity funded Mortenson’s book promotion and speaking events, yet it received no revenue from book sales or advertising and little to none of the $25,000 to $30,000 per-event speaking fees Mortenson charged at speaking engagements.

After seeing CharityWatch’s articles on the charity, 60 Minutes contacted us for insight into CAI’s finances. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, was later interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft for a story that revealed the problems at CAI went well beyond financial mismanagement. 60 Minutes surveyed about thirty schools that CAI claimed to have built, finding that roughly half of them were empty, built by someone else, or not receiving funding from CAI. 60 Minutes also interviewed author and former donor to CAI, Jon Krakauer, who argued that many claims made in Mortenson’s inaugural book were fictitious. Mortenson later admitted that events in his books were compressed, but insisted any literary license taken did not amount to lying.

CAI’s board confirmed to 60 Minutes that CAI spent only 41% of its expenses on building or supporting schools in 2009, but argued that the funds it spent on speaking events at which Mortenson promoted his books should also be counted as a charitable program. That year CAI spent $1.7 million on book-related costs that included “Advertising, events, film and professional fees, publications (books & freight), and some travel,” according to its audit. One attorney who examined CAI’s financial activities advised Mortenson and the charity’s board that “CAI’s outlays for book advertising and travel expenses for Mortenson’s speaking engagements appear to be in violation” of IRS rules, and that Mortenson could owe $7.2 million or more for “excessive benefits received during 2007, 2008, and 2009.”

The charity’s 2010 tax form revealed it continued to spend more on “awareness,” including Mortenson’s books, than funding schools that year. CharityWatch called for Mortenson’s resignation earlier this year, arguing that CAI will be unable to recover from its tarnished reputation with him at the helm. The charity is also under inquiry by the Montana attorney general.

UPDATE: Montana Attorney General announced a settlement agreement requiring Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, to pay more than $1 million in restitution for financial wrongdoing at the charity he founded, Central Asia Institute.

For more about Greg Mortenson and CAI, read these CharityWatch articles and check out the 60 Minutes coverage.

The Wingo Family

Joe Wingo, his wife Linda Wingo, and their son Andy were the subjects of a 49-count federal indictment for the theft, fraud, kickbacks, and cover-ups that plagued their charity, Angel Food Ministries (AFM), a Georgia-based nonprofit.

Joe Wingo, who also served as a pastor at a church he founded, started AFM in 1994, a few years after he served a one-year prison sentence for extortion. The organization’s stated purpose was to sell affordable food to the needy by purchasing food in bulk and distributing it through a network of volunteers and churches. It was partially funded by the USDA through an almost $7 million low interest loan issued in 2005.

In September 2011, the Wingos shut their charity down. Two months later federal investigators concluded a four-year investigation of AFM with an indictment that listed numerous alleged illegal activities. These included the use of charitable funds for extravagant personal spending (including cars, sporting goods, electronics, and a down payment on a jet aircraft which the Wingos then leased back to the charity), issuing millions of dollars in “bonus wages” to family members, who then paid the charity back the money in a scheme to cover up the Wingos’ debts to the charity, setting up a complex system requiring vendors to pay kickbacks to the charity as a condition of doing business, using charity funds to support political campaigns, and attempting to hide and destroy evidence being sought by federal investigators.

According to the Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office’s release of August 2013, Joe Wingo had admitted to prosecutors that he used his position at AFM to make personal purchases with charity funds and then tried to hide these expenditures. Joe and Andy have each been sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Joe and Andy must forfeit about $1.5 million and $2.4 million, respectively, and Joe must pay a $15,000 fine. Linda has been sentenced to five years of probation and must pay a $25,000 fine after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony (having knowledge of a crime and concealing its commission).



The Tuskegee Experiment

The Tuskegee Experiment (From Truth-The Hemorrhage of Pigs!)

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

by Truth on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 3:00am

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.

The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished, African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama; 399 who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 without the disease. For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards; primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. Revelation of study failures by a whistleblower led to major changes in U.S. law and regulation on the protection of participants in clinical studies. Now studies require informed consent (with exceptions possible for U.S. Federal agencies which can be kept secret by Executive Order), communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results.

By 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Choices available to the doctors involved in the study might have included treating all syphilitic subjects and closing the study, or splitting off a control group for testing with penicillin. Instead, the Tuskegee scientists continued the study without treating any participants and withholding penicillin and information about it from the patients. In addition, scientists prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area. The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press eventually resulted in its termination. The victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, cited as “arguably the most infamous biomedical research study in U.S. history,”  led to the 1979 Belmont Report and the establishment of the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). It also led to federal laws and regulations requiring Institutional Review Boards for the protection of human subjects in studies involving human subjects. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) manages this responsibility within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


The Public Health Service Act of 1944 structured the United States Public Health Service (PHS) as the primary division of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), which later became the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The PHS comprises all Agency Divisions of Health and Human Services and the Commissioned Corps. The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) oversees the PHS and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.


The mission of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the United States. According to the PHSCC, this mission is achieved through rapid and effective response to public health needs, leadership and excellence in public health practices, and advancement of public health science.

Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Black Male

In 1932, the Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a study to record the natural history of syphilis in hopes of justifying treatment programs for blacks. It was called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male”.

The study initially involved 600 black men – 399 with syphilis, 201 who did not have the disease. The study was conducted without the benefit of patients’ informed consent. Researchers told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several ailments, including syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. In truth, they did not receive the proper treatment needed to cure their illness. In exchange for taking part in the study, the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance. Although originally projected to last 6 months, the study actually went on for 40 years. It has been called “arguably the most infamous biomedical research study in U.S. history.”

Note that a USPHS physician who took part in the Tuskegee program, John Charles Cutler, was in charge of the US government’s syphilis experiments in Guatemala, in which Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers, orphaned children, and others were deliberately infected with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases from 1946-1948 in order to study the disease, in a project funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. President Obama apologized to Guatemala for this program in 2010.


Diseases with which the CDC is involved in other than the Tuskegee Experiment is:


The CDC has launched campaigns targeting the transmission of the flu, including the swine flu (H1N1). The CDC has launched websites including [flu.gov] to educate people.

Other infectious diseases

The CDC’s website (see below) has information on other infectious diseases, including smallpox, measles, and much more.

Non-infectious disease

The CDC also combats non-infectious diseases, including obesity.



Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment PART II

The Tuskegee Experiment II (From Truth-The Hemorrhage of Pigs!)

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment PART II

by Truth on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 3:17am
From: http://www.rbs2.com/humres.htm (There are many experiments on this site)



Tuskegee syphilis experiment

The deliberate failure to treat a group of male Negroes in Macon County (near Tuskegee), Alabama who had syphilis begun in 1932 and ended, by unfavorable publicity, in 1972. This experiment is difficult to discuss, because so much was wrong with it. In my opinion, there are three major mistakes. Page citations are to Bad Blood by James H. Jones, a historian and scholar in bioethics.

  1. The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) began using penicillin to treat syphilis in 1943 (p. 178) and penicillin became generally available in 1953 (p. 211). Despite this safe and effective treatment, which would have halted the progression of syphilis in the subjects, penicillin was deliberately withheld from the subjects. Not only did the PHS not give penicillin to their subjects, but the PHS (1) repeatedly distributed lists of names of subjects to local physicians and instructed the physicians not to give penicillin to these subjects (pp. 144-45, 162-63) and (2) supplied sham “treatments” (e.g., aspirin at p. 147, 160) to subjects, in an attempt to discourage subjects from seeking treatment elsewhere. The failure to treat this communicable disease violated Alabama law. (pp. 178, 212) In 1950-51, the PHS knew “that we have contributed to their ailments and shortened their lives.” (p. 182) In the 1970’s, the PHS offered the pretexual and lame excuse that penicillin would have harmed the participants if it had been given (pp. 8, 195), but when penicillin was given in 1973, there were no adverse reactions (p. 215). If, indeed, there were legitimate doubts about the safety and efficacy of penicillin in patients with long-term syphilis, administration of penicillin to these subjects would have made a worthy experiment in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.
  2. Dr. Vonderlehr, of the PHS, practiced a fraud on the subjects by offering a painful lumbar puncture as a “special free treatment”, when, in fact, the procedure was purely diagnostic and only for the benefit of the researchers.
  3. The subjects were not informed that they had syphilis (pp. 71-74, 219). Admittedly, informed consent would be extraordinarily difficult, because of the lack of education of the subjects: most were illiterate and many did not know their last name (pp. 4, 218). One of the best educated subjects had completed only eight years of school. To the extent that the subject’s lack of education made informed consent impossible, these people should never have been allowed to suffer for the benefit of the physicians. It would have been a different matter if the subjects had been treated benevolently, for example, given penicillin prior to 1954.

To me, the most important question about the Tuskegee experiment is:

“Why was this experiment begun and continued?”

The project was begun in 1929 as a syphilis control program, using the standard therapy of 1929-33: a series of at least twenty IM injections of arsenic compounds, supplemented by topical applications of mercurial ointment. (pp. 45-90) However, there was not enough money for full treatment, despite the application of the PHS to private foundations. The subjects received only eight injections, which cured only 3% of them (p. 119).

There was a very high incidence of syphilis among Negroes in Macon County: 36%, which should be compared to the national average for Caucasians of only 0.4%. Given that these black men were living in distressing poverty (pp. 61-62, 83, 107, 201) and ignorance, it was easy to get them to follow orders from white physicians. When it was not financially possible to treat these subjects, the physicians may have looked for other things that they could do with this docile and relatively immobile group of people. In 1933, the long-term complications of syphilis were well known in Caucasians, but the common view amongst physicians was that Negroes responded differently to disease than Caucasians. So, apparently, the physicians decided to study the progression of untreated syphilis in Negroes, ending only when all of the subjects had been autopsied. I say “apparently”, because with all of the bureaucratic obfuscation in the 1970’s, it is not clear what the motivation really was in 1933.

I get the impression that the PHS saw these subjects as a wonderful opportunity for an experiment, when the PHS’s first choice – a treatment program – was denied for lack of financial support, they found another experiment to do with this group of subjects. Support for my view is given by the continuation of the experiment in 1951: “the widespread use of … [penicillin] had practically eliminated the possibility of finding another large group of syphilitic patients”. (p. 179)

Given the unethical aspects of this experiment, why was it allowed to continue until stopped by public outcry in 1973? Apparently, the long-term experiment was never seriously questioned – as a matter of bureaucratic inertia – since it had continued for such a long time and was allegedly valuable. Further, when new managers were appointed, these new managers were reluctant to rescind decisions of their mentors. (p. 178, 180)

Bad Blood (at p. 190) alleges that the first physician objected to the experiment only in 1965. In 1966 a social worker at a PHS VD clinic in San Francisco objected to the study, and, in 1972, he tipped a reporter at Associated Press. (pp. 191-193, 203-205). The initial reaction of the PHS was that they had a public relations problem on their hands, but they had done nothing unethical. (p. 201) Remember, the Tuskegee experiment was no secret among physicians who worked on sexually transmitted diseases: results from this experiment were published in medical journals. I think it remains an important and unanswered question of why the entire medical establishment was so blind to ethics for more than forty years.

Other points of Tuskegee experiment

From the viewpoint of 1996, it is shocking that women were omitted from the study. But, by not treating the men in the study and by not informing the men of the nature of the disease, the PHS permitted many women to become infected with syphilis and many infants to acquire congenital syphilis. (pp. 104, 165, 215) Around 1930, 62% of the men in the study had congenital syphilis (p. 76), so the PHS simply allowed the disease to continue, nonetheless, one would expect better of the PHS.

A study of nearly 2000 untreated syphilitic in Oslo, Norway from 1891-1910 had been published and a follow-up study of them was published in 1929. (pp. 10, 92-3, 167, 183) Why did the PHS need to repeat the Oslo experiment? The common view amongst physicians in the 1930’s was that Negroes responded differently to disease than Caucasians.

Some commentators mention that the PHS paid for the subjects’ funeral expenses as a way of inducing consent to autopsy. I see nothing wrong with such compensation.

Finally, despite the suffering of the participants, it is uncertain how much valid, new medical knowledge was published as a result of this study. A 1933 review by the American Heart Association said the results of X-ray examinations of syphilitic hearts had “very little, if any, value”. (p. 139) No one knew the exact number of subjects. (p. 181) Twelve of the two hundred controls acquired syphilis in the first six years of the study. (p. 176) Some of the subjects may have received penicillin for other infections. (p. 202) The autopsies were conducted until 1952 with “high-grade Neanderthal equipment”. (p. 184) And, of course, these supposedly untreated subjects had received some treatment in the 1930’s, which cured about 3% of them and had unknown effects on the progression of disease in the remainder. (pp. 119, 131, 173-76, 182, 202) I am also concerned that chronic malnutrition might induce pathologies of comparable severity to partially treated syphilis. So, in the end, this ghastly experiment tells us nothing about untreated syphilis. And since penicillin is an effective cure for syphilis, we have no reason to know about the progression of untreated syphilis.

There was also little valid medical knowledge from the so-called experiments in Nazi concentration camps. This parallel raises the question “Are unethical studies also likely to be invalid?”. While I acknowledge that technical skills in biology and statistics are entirely different from knowledge of morality and ethics, I nevertheless maintain that a competent scientist is zealous about both technical and ethical concerns. In particular, I don’t see how a physician can work amongst suffering people without being aware of, and concerned about, their suffering. The moment that the physician sees subjects (as if they were a inanimate object), instead of patients or people, the physician has lost some of his humanity. If the physician can’t see suffering, how much else can he not see?

At least 28, perhaps more than 100, of the 399 subjects had died from syphilis. (pp. 1-2) Litigation against the PHS, et al., was settled in Dec 1974, 18 months after suit was filed, for $ 37,500 to each surviving participant and $ 15,000 to each decedent’s estate. (p. 217) As yet another piece of exploitation of the subjects, the attorney who brought the suit received 1/8 of the settlement, which gave approximately one million dollars to the attorney – quite a nice income in 1974 for a case that did not go to trial. (p. 217) Interestingly, this black attorney included neither any predominantly black institution nor any black physicians or nurses as defendants (pp. 216), although the Tuskegee Institute and a number of black physicians had been involved in the experiment, which was operated from the beginning until 1965 by one black nurse. While one might be reluctant to blame a black nurse for following orders of white physicians, especially during the 1930’s and 1940’s (pp. 151-169), “following orders” was not an acceptable excuse for German war criminals.




This is a big machine we live in and we supply the fuel to run it by going to work everyday and spending the money we make, pouring it back into what it had just come out of yet none of it is guaranteed, its borrowed.  My old father said it is “script”.  The term used by coal miners who lived and worked everyday in coal mines, yet remained poor.  They were handed a piece of paper called script and could buy against it but on payday the check went to pay off the borrowed script.

How many vacations have you taken in the past 5 years?  How many has our President taken, including reprieves.  When was the last time you spent $5000.00 to bring a “call girl” to another state for a fun-filled weekend like some politicians?  Have you ever asked yourself why the President’s wife hangs out with Oprah, and her children with Hanna Montana?  Well, they have made the “big time”!  They are living the American Dream!

Then ask yourself:  “How did Oprah become so “elite”?  Where did ALL that money come from?”  And Hanna Montana…how did she get so crazy rich, so fast?  Please tell me you know that answer, please tell me you realize that most of America would go hungry to see an outrageously priced movie at the theater, or watch a minor; a child pole dance.  This IS America and those are some of the wonderful things we spend all our money on.

What you spend your money on is in fact your business, don’t get me wrong.  But when the day comes when you cannot pay your bills and someday it will, and soon.  Please do not come crying to me or the system to pay your way, go crying to Oprah.  The system will help you I am sure in some way or another but ask yourself this:  “Will Oprah?”  That is a major downfall in America; placing people on pedestals who essentially do not give a damn about you.

For you diehard Oprah fans, try to ask her for one hundred dollars, or even $5.00 to pay for a chicken sandwich when your broke and hungry.  I challenge anyone reading this to try to contact Oprah.  She is bigger than the people who made her what she is, hell she is bigger than life itself…SHE IS HOLLYWOOD!  Go find one of her mansions, step on the lawn and see what happens.  You paid for that lawn, didn’t you?  You have a right to step on don’t you? 

When is the last time, if ever Oprah went into Walmart or somewhere similar?  When is the last time you did?  The “rich” spend money where the rich spend money.  Does that money make it back into the society most of us live in?  I highly doubt it.  Most of it goes to fancy homes, cars and boats from other exotic places and the purses of those providers of services to the wealthy, the caterers to the elite.  It is a world most of us will never know.

We live on script or credit, we put it in, it gets taken away every single day in one form or another.    The super rich delegate the script, we give them that absolute power by putting it in over and over until they become bigger than life as we know it, inflating their egos and suddenly we become submissive to monsters we create.  Yet we continue taking that last few dollars to go see that movie or buy that CD.  It sounds crazy because it is, think about it. 

We only get back what we are able to put in and that makes sense for the average Joe, but when you put in and someone takes without giving back, then a mismatch occurs, balance is off.  When balance is off, something usually falls and something usually gets broken.  When someone has a net worth a hundred times greater than the most money average people will make in an entire lifetime, balance is off.  Yet day after day it never changes.

The next time you are standing in Walmart, in a line of 30 people trying to spend your hard-earned money, thinking I just want to go home and lay down.   And you pick up a magazine to pass the time because the headline states some catching Hollywood phrase.  Really look at that story and wonder why you are standing in Walmart while the pictures you are gloating over gave the person you are looking at the life they live.  Wonder then, if ever they felt like you do at that moment.

Then pass your script to the cashier, while he puts the items you waited so long and patiently to buy because you desperately need them in a bag so cheap that it rips and all of your items fall on the floor.  Although you might feel like crying, just remember the magazine you gloated over just minutes before and know all your hard work is making someone very happy in a world you will never know…then you can cry, you have every right.     

The Rich, the Poor, and the Ugly

The Rich, the Poor and the Ugly

If you believe for one second that the current economic state of the nation does not affect you, don’t waste your time reading this. Come back to read this and talk to me in six months, a year if you are lucky enough  to have made it that far.  I am happy for you!  For those of you who know that trouble is just around the corner and you are wondering why, how did all this happen and what our future is, read on.  There may just be something here to spark an idea.

I cannot save you.  Hell, I am wondering what is going to happen to my life within the next year or so.  Being unemployed at the moment, I thought there might just be time to try to figure a few things out.  In a few short minutes of research, I realized that we Americans, compared to the most of the world are “spoiled”.  We seem to harbor a “Hollywood” attitude as though we are a rich nation, powerful, and as MC Hammer once said:  “Can’t touch this”, arrogance.

That is how we got here.  Do not get me wrong, it is good to have positive thinking skills, arrogance to a point and a “no fail” attitude but taking into consideration the rapid decline of the middle class; the working poor, those attributes are failing us.  We have no time for one another because we have to work so hard to survive.  We do not even have time for our own children, or our own lives.  There is an old American saying:  “United we stand, divided we fall.”

We are falling and fast!  In America according to the U.S. Census of 2007, there are an estimated 227,719,424 people in America.  In February 2010, the number of unemployed persons in America was 14.9 million (9.7 percent) according to a labor statistic update (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm).  Think about 14.9 million people who are unemployed!  Let’s look at the numbers or The Great Depression of 1933.  http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar03p1.htm

From an estimated annual rate of 3.3 percent during 1923-29, the unemployment rate rose to a peak of about 25 percent in 1933.  At the height of the Depression in 1933, nearly 25% of the Nation’s total work force, 12,830,000 people, were unemployed.  We have already surpassed that number by 2 million.  http://www.todaysteacher.com/TheGreatDepressionWebQuest/BriefOverview.htm  The total est., population in 1930 was 122,775,046.

There are now an estimated 105,000,000 more people in the United States since 1930, more mouths to feed and needs to be met.  The cost of living is higher, taxes are higher, everyday survival is higher.  There are more working people-true, but there are also more people who need assistance, who cannot or in some cases do not give back into society and drain resources causing the rest of society to carry the burden with nothing given in return.

The good is simply that if all of this has not effected you personally yet, you have been lucky or you are not the middle class working poor.  If you are middle class, sit down and count exactly how many resources you have to survive a collapse of our system v.s months before you are homeless or cannot meet the needs of your family or yourself.  You may just be surprised.  You may find that you are just a few paychecks away from total devastation.

Those of you or us or them who pay mortgages and credit card debt actually have nothing except borrowed time.  Just because what you have sits neatly in your castle, ponder this…if you don’t have the deed, it is not your castle.  And even if you do have the deed, what happens if you become ill or have an accident?  Your castle you worked for your entire life will pay the hospital bills, you’ll recover and come home to someone else’s castle where yours used to be.

The bad…you’ve just read it and it is a very, very small piece of a much bigger, much uglier picture.  Not long ago I overheard a conversation between a man (a doctor) and his brother (a manager of a homeless shelter).  The doctor said  “I have a million dollar home”, and the brother said  “I have an apartment”.  The doctor said  “So that means you don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.”  The brother said  “Either do you brother, either do you.”

A painting within a painting-The Political Painting…Truth-The Hemorrhage of Pigs! (Controversial and still debatable)