• Report: #426413

Complaint Review: The Salvation Army

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  • Submitted: Fri, February 20, 2009
  • Updated: Mon, April 25, 2011

  • Reported By:Henderson Nevada
The Salvation Army
615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, Virginia U.S.A.

The Salvation Army Shame on these people! Alexandria, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas Virginia is the National HeadQuarters

*General Comment: Former Salvation Army Officer

*Consumer Comment: Red Cross, Red Kettles --It's Still a Scam to Me

*Author of original report: Sorry, you have no credibility, perhaps delusions of grandeur?

*UPDATE Employee: Very vague

*Consumer Comment: I HAVE A FEW THINGS I CAN SAY ABOUT THEM AS A RESULT OF MYUNDERCOVER STUDY OF THEM

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I have listed the Virginia address, where the National Commander resides and reigns over his kingdom of ministers spread throughout the U.S.A.

This organization is one of the (If not THE) richest charities in the country. They appeal to good-hearted people as a "poor" charity that "does the most good" for people. They helpp themselves, mostly.

I had opportunity to see them over quite a few years, in various locations. The scam is this:
1. Take some people that attend church for awhile, or the kids of existing officers, send them to "school" and teach them to become officers, then send them out to various cities to either become assistants, or to be in charge of the local organization.

2. Once in charge, these people are not supervised, other than whether they raise their quotas of donations and pay the higher up people a 10% share of their monies raised. Since they are generally ignorant and incompetent, but since they are "ministers", they get away with all kinds of abuse and mismanagement, as well as illegal activities in some cases.

3. To further the problem, The Salvation Army is top heavy with older officers and has huge administrative costs, which they try to disguise to donors as "program" costs. The officers rarely do anything, other than bark orders (no matter how ridiculous), so they have to hire outsiders to do their work, driving costs up even more. Most of their "program" costs are church-related activities, which are basically related to the ministers' costs.

4. The entire organization, including the National Commander, are in the "brotherhood of the church" and refuse to see anything bad or negative about the place, even with proof of problems. Their responses are to dump any complaints back to the original source, or to the persons complained about, for THEM to resolve! That's like asking the fox to resolve the issue of his eating the chickens! Why do they cover up for each other?
*Mainly, to preserve a great deal for their ministers and their families. The organization raises billions yearly (they could pay off the national debt today!), which mainly (I'd estimate 80%) goes to pay for salaries of TSA (The Salvation Army) ministers, their wives, their kids' needs, their vehicles (these are for "church" use, yet are almost always unmarked?), their vehicle gasoline, their vehicle insurance, kids drive the cars too, their home phones, their cell phones, their utilities, their houses (these are usually $500,000 homes in great areas-what's Israel live in?), their trips to "conferences", their ful medical/dental for them, spouses and kids (even adult children with them). And, they get food for free, plus petty cash for anything in between.

Not bad, but it gets worse: Each one of these dill rods also has to have an assistant set of officers to run the church, or to run programs, or just to be the whipping boy (if right out of their "college"). Yeah, each set of "assistants" is also given all the freebies listed above.

You could estimate the costs for houses, living expenses and salaries (and retirement perks deferred for them) per couple as $100,000 per year EASILY, and that's not counting the higher up people like in Virginia.
So what happens when you report fraud, mismanagement, abuse or other problems?

*First, they deny or ignore it, hoping it will go away. Then, they take anything you report, send it in total back to the origin of the complaint for them to resolve! Like washing their hands of the problem?? The minister that is responsible for the problem simply either explains it away (this is always taken at their word, since they are "ministers" too), or blames someone else that is not an officer (ie, throw them under a bus?). In the worst case, such as legal problems (there are documented reports of minister couples having violent DV situations, officers stealing money, officers' kids abusing cars or property, molestation concerns, etc) what does the Salvation Army do?

They simply move the offender to a different location far away. This is regular and common, but they call it "answering the Lord's call to move" or some silly crap, which is used for many things.

People working for The Salvation Army (regular employees) are treated very badly, including harassment by the ministers, other staff, church people. There is no recourse because of the fact the Salvation Army is seen as a holy institution, no one believes it, especially the public that keeps giving them money. They pay well below the local average in wages, explaining that the employee is working for a "poor" organization doing the "lord's work" and shouldn't expect high wages-most employees are under Federal Poverty guidelines due to the organization's own set salary scales! When the officers hire their own kids or parents to work (yep, it's nepotism, happens ALL the time), they get paid above average wages, or overpaid for less work. Nice.
Why are wages low? To pay for the extravagant lifestyles of many of the officers! They run low on money due to mismanagement, they simply lay off employees and make the remaining crew work harder-the officers don't help, they are "busy".

If a good lawyer or person that does reporting/news wanted to have a great story, investigate this place. It's amazing. Contact current and ex employees, they'll tell you the real story about the harassment and abuse by officers.

By the way, when you donate your property, it is sold and the money goes into big old trust funds that are invested to make even more money; these are used to buy the big houses the officers live in.

Start with the local Salvation Army property lists- just look at the values, go see the houses. If you investigate officers, just look at the costs in their accounting offices for just them and their families-forget the "church" cost excuses. Every local Salvation Army officer is taught to "poor mouth". They appear pious on TV and say "we're not going to be able to feed anyone this year" and look at the ground. Donations then pour in, usually more money than anything else, all is good again. Same routines with special events, toys, programs, etc. They fundraise to pay themselves/buy new cars and toys.
What a joke!

My advice to any good church person, Christian, or donor: DO NOT give the Salvation Army a dime, now or ever!! They are a classic Rip-Off. Don't believe the lies about "doing the most good". Those Red Kettles raise money that never sees a poor person, it goes into the "general fund" which is the officers' pockets! Any program run there (like shelters, food, etc) is paid for mainly by government funding (oh yes, they get HUD money, state money, local government money, FEMA) that restricts the usage-they've tried for years to circumvent government regulations to allow use in the church, to no avail.

The Salvation Army was a great organization before 1980. They were respected and built a wonderful reputation. Then, they got greedy. Now, it's all about getting a piece of the pie for themselves. In the pre-greed era, the Sally ministers were few, worked very hard and lived simply. They helped people in need, had few staff and litle administrative support. Now, it's PR directors, HR departments, Admin support, mail appeal (yes, they pay companies to raise even more money!), wills and estates experts, legal teams, IT departments- none of this crap is program related!

Madashellandnotgoingtotakeit
Henderson, Nevada
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/20/2009 05:24 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/The-Salvation-Army/Alexandria-Virginia-22313/The-Salvation-Army-Shame-on-these-people-Alexandria-Tucson-Phoenix-Las-Vegas-Virginia-426413. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Former Salvation Army Officer

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)



I couldn't hlep reading what this article had to say about The Salvation Army and it's Officers.  I once was  an Officer for 16 1/2 years and then was asked to resign or be terminated.  During most of my Officership I was appointed as either the assistant or associate Officer in most of my appointments.  I have worked with Officer's who have been in charge and their attitude was just that "I'm in charge".



I remember during times that I would be repermanded for something I really didn't do wrong, and would even be yelled and sweared.  There were times that I would witness an Officer swearing and telling a group of homeless people they were good for nothing people and should get a job.  I even worked in a shelter program and the Officer in charge would not be supportive to the program, which was an excellent program for homeless working men, and he decided to shut it down, because it was not bringing in the money and we were charging $10.00 per person a night and housed 44 men each night a month up to even six months.



My last appointment I was the associate Officer working with and Envoy, which is an employee filling in the position as an Officer, and I had caught him mismanaging the funds and told him that he had to run the funds through the books.  But he would not listen to me, so I contacted my Divisional Commander at the Divisional Headquarter and they just talked to him and pretty much slapped his hands and told him not to do it again.  Well, things then got out of hand and he made life miserable for me, which I couldn't understand why anyone who claims to preach the Word of God have such an attitude towards others.  Later Headquarters decided to remove both of us, and I know it was because if they let him go and not me, he would file for discrimination.



I moved back home and started attending The Salvation Army where I grew up as a  teenager and the officer that came onboard started having an attitude towards our Social Service Director.  He would yell at her for no reason at all, and then one day he yelled at her and she resigned from her position.  Headquarters came to talk with her and others about the sitution, and the Officer that came to investigate the situation were friends of this Officer.  So really there was not proper investigation.  It was just the Officer's word against those who filed a complaint.



After all this took place, I decided to leave the church.  I couldn't believe that the person from our Headquarters would not listen to the people.  They accepted the Directors resignation.  This Officer had threatened that he had the authority to close down the Social Service Department, and she told him to go right ahead.  I told her that he does not have the authority to close down Social Service Department, that it had to come from Headquarters.



I wrote an email to the Divisional Commander, who was commissioned as an Officer the year after me, and also his wife was in my session.  I was disappointed in his judgment in this case.  Most likely, if anything really comes about on this situation that they had to make a decision to have him moved to another appointment, will most likely happen, because he is close to retirement.



I really am ashamed of how those in higher position do not take in  consideration of what people (church people, employees, advisory board members and the community) have to say.



Before I came back to The Salvation Army in my hometown, years ago, the community wanted The Salvation Army out of the community.  Until this person came onboard to become the Social Service Director and got involved with the community and began a new relationship that show that The Salvation Army here was ready to take a new course in action and did just that.  The City gave The Salvation Army another chance.



It embarrasses me to seeing how corrupt The Salvation Army really is with Officer's who are not really committed to this "Calling", but look at it as a "Carreer".  God does not call ministers in preaching the Gospel a carreer opportunity, but that it is a life time service.



I know go to another church where I feel the pastor and the people are genuine.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Red Cross, Red Kettles --It's Still a Scam to Me

AUTHOR: Helene - (U.S.A.)

I am glad that I am not the only person in the world who is disgusted by these so caller WONDERFUL, SELFLESS ORGANIZATIONS.

But it sure felt that way at times.

I saw first hand how the persons who are supposed to be helped at the Savlation Army are starved --but do have a place to sleep from at least 3 p.m. until 5 a.m. when they are kicked out of the facility. They never see the unsold, but still good food, donated by area restaurants or the food from the grocery stores that is donated the day it is out of date and still good.

Somebody got to eat that good food and not be hungry and malnourished.

It wasn't the people who were there.

I also heard  rather reliable rumors amongst law enforcement officers that there was a pervert who had concealed cameras in the women and men's showers and was secretly taping people taking a shower there and selling the DVDs he made and putting the videos on the Internet. I don't know if he was fired, whether or not he was a member of the SA Church or just an employee. They keep that kind of thing hush hush by apparently paying off influential people with shares of the bounty they receive.

They hire winos here for minimum wage to supervise the persons who stay here. They go through all of the mail and take out money orders and checks and money and even raid packages sent to the Salvation Army shelter and the recipient never sees it or find out about it. The one time I spent the night, I went downstairs to talk with a caseworker and at the desk where you make the appointment is where the mail comes in. The people behind the desk were supposedly rehabilitated former drug addicts and alcoholics and whores and so forth but they were opening those packages and stashing the valuables for themselves. They told me they could not let in any contraband. nobody will investigate either because THIS WONDERFUL SOCIAL SERVICES CHARITY CAN DO NO WRONG.

The winos act like capos in a concentration camp yelling at all the other inmates and even pushing and shoving them because they do not want their masters to send them back out on the street. It reminds me of the old "keeper" system that the Texas Department of Corrections used to have where inmates bossed other inmates to keep "order" and ended up with murder, oppression, racism, sexual assaults, etc.

The Salvation Army has one of the greatest PR machines in the world.

I think the Red Cross uses it too. They are another organization that collects billions and their " volunteers" rip them off --guess they figure they are going to get paid somehow."

Same with the Salvation Army.

I wish I could tell people what I saw based on just one night's stay -- but NOBODY would believe me.

NOBODY WOULD WANT TO BELIEVE ME.

They do their share of helping society's leavings, dregs, castoffs and unwanted...

THEY DONATE and DONATE OFTEN.

Now go away and don't bring up this sad, sorry, downer topic anymore --at least, not until another Salvation Army pitchperson calls attention to THE PROBLEM.

(EXPLETIIVE DELETED)
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#3 Author of original report

Sorry, you have no credibility, perhaps delusions of grandeur?

AUTHOR: Madashellandnotgoingtotakeit - (U.S.A.)

For the company guy that claims the writer had only pointed out a "few problems" and that the Salvation Army is wonderful, blah, blah, blah:


As an officer/employee (same thing?), or someone that's on the upper management level for The Salvation Army, you would be wise to protect what you have, which you seem to do quite well. I would not expect you to agree, nor to do anything to jeopardize your standing; in fact, that's the whole problem with The Salvation Army. Officers and upper management butt-kissers cannot or will not see beyond their own inner realm, or even admit problems exist or COULD exist. The fact that the organization is a church, and that this church "ordains" ministers that would NEVER do wrong is the primary problem here. Denial never works, nor does claiming "that's only a small number of problems" in a huge corporation; it is apparent that problems with The Salvation Army are widespread, you rarely hear of them externally (outside the officer's circle of trust?) or publically, unless they are of major concern (no pun intended), such as the occasional drug, violence, theft conviction of an officer. The church retains law firms to do damage control, work out "undisclosed" settlements, hires PR firms-c'mon, man, smells like a corporation, acts like a corporation, looks like a corporation, BUT IT'S A CHURCH-ha! Just another rip-off charity that is in business for the people at the top.


Obviously, when an officer commits a crime (yes, it does happen, doesn't it? Is that denied also?),  he/she is generally disciplined, but this again is self-preservation for the higher ups. Minor items are dealt with by counseling (internal, religious style), moving the poor schmuck that's repented to some other unsuspecting community-you know it happens. What about the multitude of under-educated, ignorant officers running rampant through communities, firing employees, commiting nepotism and exhibiting unethical behaviors? Not illegal, certainly not officially condoned by the National/International Commander, but these actions are ignored regularly and you know that too-no doubt you've seen this or experienced it firsthand, but have denied and ignored it yourself, depending on who it was or who they were related to in the church. IF not, you are one of the truly blessed at The Salvation Army, those that have high ranks, high salary,  live in fine houses and command underlings to research anything you require, those that never, ever would think their dear organization has sunk into the sleazy world they claim to "save". Why? Because you live in an Ivory Tower (or perhaps a glass house?). I know I speak the truth, I've seen it and spoken to numerous others across the country; you're the one with your head stuck in the sand, stonewall it to the end, I do not care...

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#4 UPDATE Employee

Very vague

AUTHOR: Joel - (U.S.A.)

While some of what you have said may be true in certain locations, nothing you said there is true of The Salvation Army in the United States as a whole. I agree that sometimes things can be overlooked/ignored and other things are handled badly, but what you failed to realize is that this is true of any organization of this size.

I know firsthand that The Salvation Army can actually be very harsh in their discipline of officers, sometimes ending in "recommended" resignations. Officers are definitely not left to run free in the corps they command. In fact, The Salvation Army conducts quarterly reviews of each corps, including an annual command review of the entire corps center and officer's quarters.

Also, to say that officers do not actually do any work is quite wrong. Again, some officers do pass off their responsibilities and get lazy, but the majority of officers work tireless hours. Some only being home to sleep. Also, many corps do not have assistant officers as you have said. The few corps that do have assistant officers are corps with larger congregations and community programs. Out of the over 50 corps centers in my division, fewer than 10 have assistant officers.

As far as administrative offices, the majority of the employees and even department heads are not Salvation Army officers, they are hired employees, many of whom, especially at the administrative level, have college degrees in their field of employment.

I advise you that next time you decide to write about an organization, observe more than just one or two locations, and do your research.

www.salvationarmyusa.org/
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#5 Consumer Comment

I HAVE A FEW THINGS I CAN SAY ABOUT THEM AS A RESULT OF MYUNDERCOVER STUDY OF THEM

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

THEY DO NOT LIKE WORKING WITH WOMEN.

THEY ARE TAKING MONEY FROM THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE TO GIVE WOMEN PRISONERS A PLACE TO STAY BUT DO NOT MONITOR THEIR BEHAVIOR.

THEY DO NOT SEGREGATE THE PEOPLE WHO STAY THERE BY AGE. OR EVEN WHETHER THEY MIGHT HAVE A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE OR NOT.

THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS AVAILABLE TO POOR PEOPLE BUT THEY SELL THEM TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO MONEY TO BUY THEM AND THEY APPEAR TO BE SAMPLES OF PRODUCTS THAT WERE DONATED TO THEM.

THE GOOD CLOTHES THAT ARE DONATED ARE SOLD IN THE STORE. THE PEOPLE WHO NEED CLOTHES GET THE BAD STUFF THAT IS TOO BAD TO GO IN THE STORE.

THE FOOD IS GODAWFUL! FOR BREAKFAST THEY SERVED EGGS I GUESS WITH MYSTERY MEAT AND HAIRS IN IT, A SHOT GLASS OF ORANGE JUICE AND POTATO PEELINGS WITH GREASE POURED OVER IT,. FOR DESSERT THERE WAS BUSCOTTI WITH POWDERY MILDREW AND MOULD IN IT!

I FELT SO SORRY FOR THE PEOPLE IN THERE.

THE CASEWORKER TURNOVER IS HORRENDOUS.

I HAVE BEEN IN SALVATION ARMY FACILITIES ALL OVER THE STATE OF TEXAS.

THE BELL RINGERS AND THE ARMY PERSONNEL GET THE BEST OF THE BEST.

THE CHEF THAT WAS PREPARING THE SLOP WE HAD FOR BREAKFAST WAS ON PROBATION TO THEM FOR ALCOHOLISM PROBLEMS. LIKE INDENTURED SERVITUDE. HE SAID THE GOOD FOOD AND ALL OF THE DONATIONS GO TO THE ARMY OFFICERS.

THEY LET THE HOUSE WINOS ACTUALLY RUN THE PLACE AND THEY TREAT EVERYBODY ELSE LOUSY. IT'S LIKE LETTING THE TRUSTEES RUN THE PRISONS AND THAT IS HOW THEY TREATED US.

I FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN NOT GET UP LIKE I DID AND WALK OUT.

I THINK I WOULD RATHER BE DEAD THAN TO STAY IN THERE.
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