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  1. #1
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    Jan 1999

    Default A mutt is a mutt.....

    From the Philadelphia Inquirer

    Police: Wanna-be hero of 9/11 exploits tragedy
    Former Philadelphia police officer is profiting from appearances and a book.
    By Monica Yant Kinney and Peter Nicholas
    Inquirer Staff Writers

    Bill Bresnahan, a former Philadelphia police officer, has wowed audiences.

    To hear Bill Bresnahan tell it, he was a hero at ground zero.

    When the jets piled into the World Trade Center towers, the retired Philadelphia police officer sped from Chester County to New York - more than 120 miles - in 55 minutes.

    There, he pulled body parts from the rubble. He conferred with the Rev. Mychal Judge, the beloved New York Fire Department chaplain. He roped himself to firefighters in a hunt for survivors.

    Amid the chaos, Bresnahan saw a mob beating a Muslim hot dog vendor named "Achmed." Bresnahan fended off the attackers, then converted the victim to Christianity, right there on the spot.

    With tales such as these, Bresnahan has wowed audiences across the nation. Tearful churchgoers and students have opened their hearts - and wallets.

    Police in Illinois say that was the intention.

    They say Bresnahan, 54, is no hero, but a man who went to "extreme lengths of deception" to wring emotion and money from his listeners.

    In March, he was arrested in Decatur, Ill., and charged with theft by deception, a felony, after church appearances there netted him nearly $3,200.

    If convicted, Bresnahan faces up to three years in prison.

    He has not yet entered a plea and is free on bail, awaiting a June 3 arraignment. After turning himself in, Bresnahan told WAND-TV in Decatur: "I did not defraud anyone. No one defrauded anyone here."

    This much is true: Bresnahan was at ground zero. He is shown in photographs at the scene. He was treated at a hospital in Brooklyn, apparently for an injury suffered in the aftermath. And a $26.95 book he's hawking about his exploits, 9-11: Terror in America, has sold at least 7,800 copies so far.

    Though Bresnahan wears a police badge in the disaster photos and at some presentations, he hasn't been an officer since 1976.

    Since then, Bresnahan has said, he invented a pair of fold-up cardboard binoculars, an ergonomic rocking chair, and a pretzel-flavored hot dog.

    His effort to market the binoculars and hot dog have spurred resentment and lawsuits among some backers.

    And earlier this month, state officials charged Bresnahan with 94 violations of Pennsylvania's charity law.

    In 1998, Bresnahan founded Rise and Shine Inc. in West Chester as a Christian charity. A year later, he told the IRS it had ballooned to an operation donating $29 million worth of food, clothes and medical supplies around the world a year.

    In January 2001, Bresnahan told a Chester County reporter that Rise and Shine had donated $5 million worth of medical supplies and toys to Albania and Montenegro. Two months later, in a deposition, he acknowledged that those goods had not been delivered.

    Pennsylvania officials recently charged Bresnahan with violating state charity law by using Rise and Shine to fuel his for-profit enterprises. He faces up to $94,000 in fines and an additional $3,000 for each month the violations continue.

    "These are very serious allegations," said Karl Emerson, director of the state's Bureau of Charitable Organizations.

    The complaint alleges that Bresnahan in 1999 diverted $98,000 from the charity to one of his for-profit corporations.

    Investigators allege Bresnahan took 18,000 pairs of shorts from the Pennsylvania United Medical Association, then transferred the clothes - worth $270,000 - to one of his for-profit corporations.

    He is also accused of selling $88,000 worth of donated food, water, skin-care and other products, including some he received from the Newport Assembly of God in Western Pennsylvania.

    That shocked Newport's Pastor Gary Bellis, who said in a statement that he'd found Bresnahan to be "a well-spoken and charismatic man."

    Visited at home in West Chester, Bresnahan declined to be interviewed. His attorney did not return phone calls last week.

    Bresnahan's friends support him. They describe him as a man with good intentions.

    "He speaks from his heart. He doesn't think sometimes before he puts the words out," said Ken Booster of Indianapolis, who has known Bresnahan for more than a year.

    Felice Verrecchia made a promotional video for Bresnahan.

    "In dealing with Bill Bresnahan, I never ever had any concerns about his honesty or integrity," Verrecchia said in an interview from his office in Albuquerque, N.M. "He was always straight-up with me."

    Stephen Simpson, who runs the Bucks County nonprofit that gave Bresnahan the shipment of shorts, said he nonetheless believes Rise and Shine was doing "benevolent" work for the poor in India and Romania.

    The Sept. 11 book, as well a 2001 deposition and three hours of videotaped speaking engagements obtained by The Inquirer, offer a window into Bresnahan's activities.

    He claims to be the second most decorated member of the Philadelphia Police Department's SWAT team, saying he retired after 10 years with on-the-job disabilities from being run over by a truck and thrown out a seven-story window.

    Bresnahan was an officer for seven years, from 1969 to 1976, but there are no records that could confirm his commendations, a police spokesman said.

    Rich Costello, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he launched an "anecdotal investigation" into Bresnahan's claims earlier this year. Costello said officers who worked with Bresnahan could not recall any honors.

    In his book and in promotional biographies, Bresnahan claims to have been awarded the "President's National Leadership Award" and says he was appointed by President George W. Bush to represent Pennsylvania on the "President's Advisory Council for Businesses."

    White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that Bresnahan received neither honor.

    Bresnahan formed as many as 10 different for-profit corporations in the last decade to sell Maine lobsters, gourmet pies, Christian children's videos, and other products, Pennsylvania corporate records show.

    In the mid-1990s, Bresnahan won a contest to sell a back-friendly rocking chair on QVC, the television retailer confirmed.

    Some efforts to sell the binoculars have landed in court.

    In 1997, New Hampshire marketer Ron Katz sued Bresnahan and said he failed to follow through on a deal that would have allowed Katz to sell the binoculars to the Boy Scouts. Katz said he settled for $10,000.

    Philadelphia businessman Vince Norton also sued Bresnahan, saying he reneged on a deal that would have allowed Norton to sell the binoculars at sporting events. Norton said he won a $10,000 judgment.

    In 1998, Chester County accountant Howard Pollard loaned Bresnahan $50,000 for research and development on the pretzel hot dog and to help him win rights to sell the binoculars at the 2000 Olympics.

    Instead, Bresnahan used the money for an $18,000 trip around the world and to pay attorneys representing him in a lawsuit in Atlanta, according to a lawsuit Pollard later filed.

    In November, Pollard was awarded a $58,000 judgment. Bresnahan has yet to pay.

    Public records show Bresnahan has also been hit with state and federal tax liens. In 1991, he filed for bankruptcy.

    Today, most of Bresnahan's for-profit corporations are defunct. He receives $973.66 a month from his police pension.

    "It's clear he's living off money from someplace - and that someplace is people giving him money," said Pollard's attorney, Jane Shields. "He's an opportunist of the worst kind."

    A couple of days after the terrorist attacks, Bresnahan called a former associate, David M. Bresnahan, to talk about his experiences at ground zero.

    David Bresnahan, a freelance writer and former Utah state representative, suggested they work on a book. Bill Bresnahan agreed. (David Bresnahan says the men are not related; Bill Bresnahan and the book describe them as cousins.)

    Three weeks later, a draft was done. 9-11 Terror in America came out on Halloween.

    The book devotes one chapter to Bill Bresnahan's role as a rescuer. Bill Bresnahan wrote the epilogue and is credited with taking many of the photos. (The book also features other rescuers.)

    The front cover says a portion of the proceeds will go to the Emerald Society's "Hero Fund." That group's president, Bob Algar, said he has never heard of the fund.

    References to proceeds going to charity appear throughout the book. Seven months after the book was published, no proceeds have gone to any charity, according to David Roberts, a Texas businessman who co-owns a company that helped underwrite the book.

    The book is still available on Amazon.com. But given the charges against Bresnahan, the publisher is no longer actively promoting it, Roberts said.

    The chapter devoted to Bill Bresnahan describes an encounter with Father Judge in which the priest told a Bible-carrying Bresnahan that they needed to "split up" so they could offer "encouragement and prayer" to the most people.

    "There's just us here," Father Judge is quoted as saying.

    The book says Bresnahan reached ground zero after the second tower fell at 10:28 a.m. Father Judge died before the towers collapsed, so Bresnahan could not have met him then.

    The Decatur police also disputed Bill Bresnahan's arrival-time claim. He would have had to drive faster than 125 m.p.h. to get from West Chester to New York in the 55-minute time frame he claimed.

    David Bresnahan said he learned of the Father Judge discrepancy after submitting a draft of the book. CNN, which was planning to interview Bill Bresnahan, found the hole in his story.

    In a letter to Decatur police, David Bresnahan wrote that he was told by Dwight Wallington, owner of book publisher Windsor House: "We figured out how to handle this. Bill is just going to say he met an angel. He had a vision."

    Wallington denied that contention. He said it was too late to change the book, which had been printed by that time. "I was so frustrated about that I didn't know what to do," he said in an interview.

    In an interview, David Bresnahan said he trusted Bill Bresnahan, in part because he was a former police officer. He said he had no staff or fact-checkers and was under pressure to get a book out fast.

    The author blames "the dishonesty of one man in particular" for the book's flaws.

    "I'll take some of the blame," David Bresnahan said, "but I was as trusting as a lot of people have been of Bill Bresnahan."

    After the book came out, Bill Bresnahan went on a promotional tour that took him to churches, schools and firefighters banquets in Illinois, Texas, Kentucky and elsewhere. His story was retold in newspapers, on radio and TV, including the 700 Club.

    In one presentation at a church in Texas, the thick-set, gray-haired Bresnahan wore a dark suit with an American-flag pin on his lapel and police badge around his neck, standing before the choir.

    He speaks dramatically and tears up on occasion - as do audiences. He offers vivid accounts of the carnage at ground zero, telling of wearing heavy equipment, being parched and sweaty, breathing in noxious fumes, and wading through ankle-deep debris.

    One picture in the book shows Bill Bresnahan wearing a relatively clean, dark police T-shirt and blue jeans, carrying a big water jug; the caption said he used it to help rinse out the eyes of rescue workers.

    The arrest warrant mentions two rescue workers depicted in the book. Both men told investigators they believed Bresnahan arrived at the scene around 5 p.m., hours after he claims.

    They described him as "bothersome." They said his clothes showed "no apparent dirt or wear that would be consistent with a subject who had been digging people out of the rubble for several hours."

    In his public appearances, Bresnahan urges people to buy the book. He also has sold patriotic CDs.

    In a videotaped visit to a Baptist church in Stephenville, Texas, on Feb. 10, he said he is not "capitalizing off of disaster." The book proceeds, he said, would go to 3,500 children left orphaned by the attacks.

    Estimates show that no more than a dozen children were left parentless in the attacks.

    "This is for the pot scrubber in Tower Two that lost his life and left the wife and two children behind," Bresnahan says. "That's what I'm carrying the banner for."

    A student at a Stephenville high school where Bresnahan spoke two days later said that at least one of her classmates used lunch money to buy the book.

    Jennifer Muncey, an English teacher at the school, said sales were brisk. She said the school principal later called students together and apologized for Bresnahan's appearance.

    "He took advantage of a tragedy," Muncey said.

    Contact Monica Yant Kinney at 215-854-4670 or myant@phillynews.com. Contact Peter Nicholas at 202-383-6046 or pnicholas@krwashington.com. Inquirer researchers Marla Otto and Ed Voves contributed to this article.

    I have nothing further to say......


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    Sitting on my Laa Laa waiting for my Yaa Yaa

    Default Unbelievable

    This guy makes the characters in D.C. look like small time operators. How do these people look at themselves in a mirror?
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it

  3. #3
    Forum Member MOTOWN88's Avatar
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    Mar 2002




  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Reading the account of that mutt's actvities makes me want to dip into my dogs' supply of Frontline!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    This kind of mutt makes me long for my days working at the vet clinic, when "E&B" was on the list for an animal--euthanasia and burial. Got out the big syringe of purple stuff and an extra thick trash bag...

  6. #6
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    New Zealand


    Why bury him and ruin perfectly good ground...

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Sep 2001
    No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"


    Hopefully this MUTT will get hit by an 18 wheeler. This guy is
    so full of $#i{, maybe when he gets to prison they'll pack it in for
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

    Edward F. Croker
    Chief 1899-1911
    Fire Dept. City of New York

    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2001

    Default Put him to sleep

    It is time to put mutts like these asleep.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Trkco1's Avatar
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    Jun 2001
    New Jersey


    Mutt is to kind of a word for this scumbag.

  10. #10
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!


    Jail is too good for this F******ING SCUMBAG!!!

    How about taking him on a tour of all the firehouses in New York ...... as a PUNCHING BAG!!!!
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander


  11. #11
    Senior Member Temptaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002


    MUTT to the core this one is.

    Isn't wearing a badge and making false claims about your time as a police officer considered "impersonating". Hopefully prosecutors will get him on that too.

    I hope the IRS finds where he managed to HIDE all the money he has been swindling from people, and either give it back or send it to the appropriate charities.

    On the upside of things... even criminals have a code, most REALLY don't like it when you mess with kids, or hero's. Maybe he will get his "reward" once he is jailed.

  12. #12
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Default MUTT!!

    They wouldn't even consider this guy "debris" at Ground Hero. They'd probably have to decontaminate the dirt this guy walked on. They oughta make him pick through the piles on Staten Island...with his bare hands.

    My toilet doesn't flush turds his size!
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  13. #13
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!



    I like your idea better than mine!!! Bare hands and no mask!!!

    Sigh .......

    FDNY we will NEVER forget what you've gone through
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander


  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hilton Head Island, SC


    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force

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