A New York Times investigation published Monday claims just 2 percent of funds Shriners raised in 2005 went to operate their charitable hospitals.
In interviews with current and former members of the Masonic order, the newspaper reported more than 57 percent of the $32 million the group raised in 2005 through circuses, bingo games and raffles went to costs of the fraternity.
”Money raised for the hospitals is being used to pay for parties and liquor and trips and they know it,” said Johnny Edwards, a former leader of Oasis Shrine in Charlotte, N.C. ”The way I see it, they are stealing from crippled children.”
In response, Michael Andrews, the executive vice president of the Imperial Council, told the Times isolated cases of fraud have been discovered and rectified.
”I think if you compare us to any other charity in America, you would find we do the best job, Andrews said. I think you need to look at the big picture here: We probably do more for children with special needs than any other entity.”
Since 1919, Shriners have built 22 hospitals that provide orthopedic and burn care to needy children.