Well, not exactly. Thanks primarily to the efforts of Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney, they have been pressured, at least, into publicly dealing with this, and releasing another statement, which Brian has in full (with his commentary) here.
Brian has got a lot of good questions that are definitely worth asking, but I have a few additional points that should be made about this whole mess.
First of all, it's important to remember in this whole mess, that the group that is actually accused of diverting public funds is Gloria Wise, not Air America. They are, so far as we can tell, at least as ethically culpable here as Progress Media, being that they were the entity that "signed the money away" so to speak.
This has relevance when examining Air America's response to this fiasco. Brian already raises the point that agreeing "months ago" from now to repay the loan is a bit tardy in this case. Also, it raises the question as to whether money has been actually repaid or whether just repaid in agreement. I think the company holding my car note would agree that's a very significant distinction.
But I'd like to focus on a couple of other things in the statement that are downright fishy. In seeking to offer evidence that they tried to make this right as soon as they possibly could, they defend themselves thusly:
We at Air America Radio strongly believe in the mission of Boys and Girls Clubs to provide a safe and nurturing place for young people to learn and grow. As a result, we recently allowed the same club, Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, to use our name in a fundraising effort for a summer camp for children in their community.
Okay, so - the company switched hands in May of 2004 - presumably, someone at Piquant learned that they had taken a half million in funds from Gloria Wise, and so to make it right, they acted speedily in June and started promoting this Camp Air America. That's a rather nice gesture. The only problem with it is this:
The funding for Camp Air America was raised and collected entirely by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, and Air America promoted the camp on air and urged support for it.
So, in order to make amends for taking money from Gloria Wise, they sponsored a camp at one of their locations which Gloria Wise paid for? Jeez, that's awfully big of them, I guess. Plus, there's the rather obvious question (at least, it's obvious to me) of why anyone would trust an organization that they knew to be crooked in the first place to handle the fundraising for their "Let's make it right" campaign.
There are a couple of other rather large glaring holes in this statement. If Gloria Wise went under, was that due to the fact that they were short about half a million in cash? If so, it more or less leads you to believe that the money has not been "actually repaid" but is still in "agreed to be repaid" land.
Second, given that Gloria Wise is now closed, how will the money now be repaid? Isn't this a handy loophole for Air America to jump through? "Gosh, we'd really like to repay them - in fact, we agreed to repay them, but due to some unforseen circumstance, they went under. Weird. Oh well, nothing to be done now."
Unless I am missing something in this statement, that is exactly the position Air America is currently taking: we agreed to repay this months ago, but Gloria Wise doesn't exist anymore. They then offer in the last paragraph an offer to repay, but careful readers will notice that it is not an offer to repay the half million misappropriated from Gloria Wise funds:
We have offered any individuals who contributed to the camp as a result of Air America's promotion the option of a refund paid for by Air America Radio and the Club offered the alternative option of having their donation redirected to Kip's Bay Boys and Girls Club.
In other words, if you contributed to the club through us, we'll give your money back. Give the half million back to some other Boys and Girls Club? Who said anything about that?
UPDATE: Welcome again, Michelle Malkin readers!