Claim That Homeless Veterans Were Evicted to House Migrants Was Total Bullshit: Report 

Claim That Homeless Veterans Were Evicted to House Migrants Was Total Bullshit: Report 

Using doctored receipts and offering cash payments, a N.Y. nonprofit duped lawmakers and conservative media into ginning up anti-immigrant outrage

A scandalous claim that homeless veterans being housed in an upstate New York hotel were evicted to make room for undocumented migrants turned out to be an orchestrated fraud — with homeless men having been recruited by a nonprofit to gin up national outrage. 

On Friday, The Mid-Hudson News, which interviewed several of the “displaced” men, found that the nonprofit YIT Foundation had offered cash, food, and alcohol to a group of 15 homeless men from a local shelter to pose as evicted veterans.  

The organization’s Executive Director Sharon Finch told The Mid-Hudson News last week that 20 veterans housed at the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, New York, were given a day’s notice to vacate their rooms, allegedly to make room for undocumented migrants from New York City. But in reality, Finch herself had allegedly participated in a scheme to dupe local officials and the national media in order to malign migrants who had yet to arrive in town. 

“[Finch] told us to act like we were the veterans that had been displaced. And she told us that if asked, we were supposed to say we had been kicked out and Sharon found us rooms in Fishkill,” said one man, who added that they were told to claim they were “too traumatized to talk about it,” if asked for details. 

The explosive claim quickly became national news. State Assemblyman Brian Maher (R) became a self-appointed spokesperson for the supposed veterans, appearing on Fox News to call the situation “an embarrassment, a slap in the face to veterans, who are cast aside to allow for asylum seekers to come here.” Outlets like Fox, The New York Post, and Newsmax hammered the story for days. Maher went so far as to introduce a bill in the New York assembly to prohibit the displacement of veterans in favor of migrants. 

Fox claimed they had confirmed that veterans were kicked out due to migrants!

“Fox News confirms 20 homeless vets just got kicked out of several hotels in the suburbs north of Manhattan to make room for those migrants”

— Lis Power (@LisPower1) May 19, 2023

Things began to unravel when local reporters reached out to the hotel in question, which said no such veterans were ever housed there. According to a Wednesday report from The Mid-Hudson News, photos of a receipt provided by Maher that allegedly showed a $37,000 payment for the rooms the vets were staying in had been doctored. The hotel’s manager claims they have “no record of this transaction.”

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The manager told The Mid-Hudson News that no veterans had been kicked off the property, because none had been housed there in the first place, and that while they were housing several migrants, rooms remained available. Furthermore, the report found that a second hotel to which the veterans had allegedly been moved to after their “eviction” also had no bookings associated with the YIT Foundation, and hadn’t for a long time. 

Fox publicly addressed the new developments in a televised update on Friday. “We’re now looking into new reports that a veterans’ advocate misled lawmakers and media outlets,” said the network. 


Fox News has added an editor’s note to 3 online articles to “clarify allegations surrounding the treatment of homeless veterans,” and reporter Nate Foy just delivered this update:

“We are now looking into new reports that a veterans advocate misled lawmakers and media outlets”

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 19, 2023

On Friday, Maher admitted that he had been had by the foundation. “When Sharon and several veterans explained to me their situation, I believed them at their word,” he told The Mid-Hudson News. “I had absolutely no knowledge of any wrongdoing and believed that their stories were real until a phone conversation with Sharon yesterday afternoon when she explained to me that this did not happen the way she purported it to.”

The New York attorney general’s office said that it was aware of the situation and “looking into it.”

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