Dubious 9/11 Charity Shut Down

License revoked; status of donations sought


 
 

Ed Beeson | | Thursday, August 28, 2008


PASSAIC, N.J. -- A Sept. 11 charity founded by a disgraced former Passaic police officer was shut down Tuesday when state officials formally revoked its license as a charitable organization, officials said.

Meantime, authorities continued to investigate what happened to any charitable donations raised by former cop Frederick Parisi and the 9/11 RescueWorkers Foundation, a spokesman for the state Division of Consumer Affairs said.

The division issued a final order on Tuesday morning that revoked the 9/11 RescueWorkers' non-profit status. Parisi, fired from the Passaic Police Department in 1997, founded the organization last year under the guise that it would raise funds for firstresponders who contracted debilitating illnesses while working at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York.

In July, the state Department of Law and Public Safety, which oversees Consumer Affairs, issued a provisional order to close the foundation because it found Parisi made false statements on his application to register it as a non-profit organization. The order also came one month after Parisi pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of impersonating a U.S. Secret Service agent while operating an automobile repossession firm in Little Falls, according to court documents.

Parisi and the 9/11 RescueWorkers Foundation had 30 business days to appeal the provisional revocation before it became final. But no appeal was ever filed, said Consumer Affairs spokesman Jeff Lamm.

"It's basically done," he said.

Authorities continued to investigate what happened to any charitable donations given to the 9/11 RescueWorkers Foundation over its short lifespan. The foundation, which was granted non-profit status in September 2007, quickly went after corporate donors before it collapsed in late March following Parisi's arrest on theft charges. In that case, the Jefferson Township Police Department charged him with fleecing a former business partner out of tens of thousands of dollars.

It was about this time when doubts were cast on Parisi's claim that, as a New York police officer trainee, he helped rescue people from the rubble of the World Trade Center shortly after the buildings collapsed. Parisi, then a cadet in the New York Police Department, was actually taking a driver's education course in Brooklyn when hijackers crashed two planes into the towers, the NYPD later reported.

Parisi, who has been incarcerated since his March arrest on the theft charges, remained held Tuesday at the Morris County Jail on $200,000 bail, according to jail officials.




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