Several homeless men in Orange County, New York recounted local news points of sale that they were paid to pose as homeless veterans who were removed from a nearby hotel to make way for migrants who had crossed the southern US border and were first taken by bus to New York City.
The story had received maniacal coverage from right-wing news media after the New York Post ran an “exclusive” last Friday. Fox News ran articles about the Republican outrage on its website and live on air, where pundits suggested the story was the proof President Joe Biden didn’t care about America’s veterans. Fox presenter Laura Ingraham ran a chyron on her show reading “New York City Puts Illegals Before Veterans.”
New York State Assemblyman Brian Maher (right) appeared on Fox News Call the supposed mover “A total embarrassment.”
Maher was the first to draw attention to the alleged incident because he was already familiar with a small Orange County-based charity, the Yerik Israel Toney Foundation, and its founder, Sharon Toney-Finch, who originally tipped off the rep . He told the Mid Hudson News that he took Toney-Finch at his word and had no idea the whole thing was an apparent scam until he spoke to her on Thursday and she allegedly admitted to having deceived him.
Maher didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.
Migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border are transported by Republican officials in border states to what conservatives call “sanctuaries.” New York Mayor Eric Adams has struggled to cope with the influx of people.
As the Mid Hudson News first reported, seven of the men said they were staying at a Poughkeepsie shelter north of New York City when two people approached them with an offer. The two reportedly said they would have jobs for 15 people between the ages of 40 and 60 if they claimed to be military veterans who were evicted from the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, New York, across the Hudson River.
The Albany Times Union spoke to two of the homeless people involved.
The men reportedly said they were promised $200, then were shown to a restaurant and told they could order whatever they wanted.
“We ate like kings,” one of the men told Mid Hudson News.
They were then reportedly taken for an interview with local officials, and Toney-Finch prompted one or two members of the group to put forward the false claim that they had been removed from the hotel.
The men told the Times-Union they were alarmed when they never received any payment.
In its original story, the New York Post quoted Toney-Finch as saying one of the men allegedly called her to tell her she had been abandoned on the street.
“I cried last night,” she told the Post.
The New York Post had updated its online articles about the incident with editors’ notes, but Fox News appeared to have made no corrections to its website at the time of publication.
A spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Letitia James said Politico Her office was “looking into the matter” but had not launched a formal investigation.