Claddagh Officials Call Wave Story A ‘Smear’
Responding to a front page article in last week’s Wave: "Claddagh Under Fire For Selling, Donations, Health Concerns," the soup kitchen’s director Tony Job has announced that his organization is no longer accepting donations or monetary support "until the newspaper retracts its allegations."
The "smear campaign," however, will not stop the Claddagh Inn from accepting "new toys and gifts for Christmas and turkeys and canned goods for Thanksgiving," he says.
In a three-paragraph press release, Job refers to last week’s story as a "reckless and slanderous article defaming Dr. Tony Job." The press release also states that a detailed response will come from the Claddagh Inn’s attorneys shortly.
There are still many questions about the operation of the Claddagh and the actions of its manager to be answered.
The first question remains its operating name.
While the operating name may be the Claddagh Inn, the official name of the organization is the Claddagh Inner City Nutrition Network, similar to that of the highly regarded Interfaith Nutrition Network, which ended their association with the Claddagh Inn due to accounting and food handling irregularities.
When questioned about the similarity of the names, Job initially offered a letter from the Interfaith Nutrition Network (I.N.N.) to The Wave. The letter could not be read, however, when Job took it back.
The Interfaith Nutrition Network, when it broke with the Claddagh in 1999, forbade the local from using those initials in its name.
Job told The Wave that the new name was not meant to fool anybody into thinking that they were still connected with the nutrition network.
According to the Attorney General of the State of New York’s guidelines on charitable giving, however, residents are urged to "be careful of charities with names that…resemble those of other organizations – some organizations use names similar to those of well known organizations in order to confuse donors."
With regards to Food Bank NYC’s disaffiliation with the Claddagh Inn, client and advisory board member, Jean Jenkins says "Job was trying to protect the poor and elderly of Far Rockaway, by trying to quietly set up another soup kitchen." She continues, "Tony Job did not trust the integrity of New York City to care about the poor and hungry."
As for allegations that senior citizens are afraid to complain about the Claddagh Inn, Job brought five senior volunteers to the Wave office. The seniors categorically denied the accusations in the newspaper and affirmed their support for Job and the Claddagh Inn.
Charitable organizations are required by New York State law to provide information about their programs and annual financial reports to those who request them. The law also requires that the information be given within 15 days.
Donators are allowed to "ask what proportion of money given actually goes to support the charity’s program and what proportion goes to administrative costs."
Job refused to comment on the matters.
As a matter of record, The Wave asked Job for some documentation on his use of the term, "Dr." in front of his name. Job responded by saying, "I am not talking to you any longer, our attorneys will contact you shortly."