Report: #1019309

Complaint Review: Union Rescue Mission

  • Submitted: Sat, February 23, 2013
  • Updated: Wed, February 27, 2013
  • Reported By: Justin — Los Angeles California United States of America
  • Union Rescue Mission
    545 S San Pedro St
    Los Angeles, California
    United States of America

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I have worked and lived in Downtown Los Angeles for over 15 years. In the time I have lived there I have volunteered in almost every mission including Union Rescue Mission. While volunteering at Union Rescue Mission I learned some disturbing things. I learned its not about helping the homeless its about using them to make the executives at the mission rich.

First off all the management at the mission earn 6 figure salaries and the CEO Andrew Bales earns a seven figure salary. They also claim to be a mission with Christian values however they are actually interfaith. They have people from all religions holding services at the mission and pretend to lean to what faiths wallet is in the door.

One of their closest allies Kevin Haah is the president of the Interfaith Clergy Council (Source
.....385em;"> ). One thing about the article this was an attempt to shutdown a competing ministry by Seventh Adventists and the Dream Center. Haah and the other members of the council are connected to the Interfaith Council based in San Jose. This would not be an issue if they were honest about being interfaith but the biggest issue is the riches made off the backs of the poor by the executives.

The executives own private planes, luxury cars, mansions and even boats. If you don't believe me here is the million dollar mansion their CEO lives in in one of Pasadena's most pricey neighborhoods in the link.,+Pasadena,+CA&ie=UTF-8&ei=k4ApUeOgI-axigLvtYGwBw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg  The home has been appraised as high as $2.3 million. The missions management team attended a conference ran by Child Fund and Creflo Dollar on how to get people to first give you money and then spend as little on the ministry as legally possible and maintain tax exempt status. As I recall the number was 27% which Union Rescue has set as a goal to create even more funds available to pay themselves. One mission employee told me its against their interest to end homelessness because without "bums" on the streets people would not give them money.

This organization is a kin to the sleazy TV evangelist if not worst. They will say and do anything to get your money. Then they will say something totally different to another for the same reason. They are nothing but a scam using to the poor to get rich.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/23/2013 09:00 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

URM save my life

AUTHOR: doina - (USA)

I am 65 years old and I live at Sequoia, senior housing belongigng to URM. I made mistakes late in life and I ended up homeless.After 5 months in a so called transitional shelter of VOA I was ready to live in my car. VOA did nothing to help me with housing. The only way to get low income housing on the skid road is if you play the menthal health game. A wonderful lady from health 360 helped me to find Hope Gardens in Sylmar that belongs to URM.I don't care how much money the executives make, i live in a decent place where even cable is provided. I worked for 31 years as a senior accountant and I understand the salaries of the executives. In fact they are much lower then I expected. They hire people from the program, they help women with children.After 31 years of work, the goverment gives me $1,100 a month. What can you rent in Los Angeles with these money? I understand that some employees might be unhappy but think of all the people that were helped to survive!I worked for a non profit organization for the last 10 years, and I was unhappy how I was treated and how I was paid, to the point that I went back to my addiction ( gambling) and I embazzled money. Still, that non profit was a rehab and they do wonderful things for lost souls.I paid for my mistakes and I will pay for the rest of my life. This doesn't change the fact that we have to recognize the merit of organizations like the rehab that I worked for and URM. I am happy that Andy Bales has a mansion in Pasadena . He deserves it. What do you expect, for him to rent a 2 bedroom apt in Downtown? By the way, this is America. Is nothing wrong to make money, especially if you help millions of people as myself.

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#2 General Comment

The Character of a righteous man will save him from vicious slanderers

AUTHOR: Mark - (United States of America)

1 Peter 3:16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Shame on you Justin. 
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#3 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Abhonda - (United States of America)

I would like to apologize for my last rebuttal. I was very upset and frustrated about what you were saying and I didn't need to be so rude to you. Even though you were saying such false and slandering things about my Dad and the URM.

I understand that you can be told incorrect things by people that have had a history with the URM or that other missions out there can be using the homeless to get rich. I have seen cases of that myself and with church's across the world, but when you don't research and go to the source for the correct information it just makes you look bad.

If you look at what the URM brought in finances last year and then the salary of the CEO. The salary is only .0055 percent or around that figure. You have to also know the past and a few years ago when the URM was really hurting my dad cut his own salary down to help keep people employed at the URM.

Even though places are non-profit and are out to help people. You have to realize it is a full time job with lots of responsibilites. You can not, not make money doing that job. Most CEO's in the world would try to take 1 or 2 percent of the profit.

I agree with you that it is sickening to see people get rich off of helping the homeless and/or running a non-profit, but this is not one of those cases.
Again I would like to apologize to you Justin for my previous rebuttal. I just don't take it kindly when people try to harm the reputation of anyone in my family and/or places like the URM that have had such an amazing impact on the people and community. Los Angeles would be a worse off with out it.
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#4 Author of original report

Based on new information I amend this report.

AUTHOR: Justin Craft - (USA)

I want to set the record straight that this is not an attempt to destroy anyone's character and that I am open to all information. In Christian principle I think that would be wrong. I do have some corrections based on information that I did not have at the time of the report. Note that all the information came from people I spoke with, research or opinion based on the information.

The first being the value of the home and other assets. What does stay the same is that the home was valued by Zillow real estate at over a million dollars but it is possible that an appraisal on the house is incorrect because an appraisal is always opinion. That does make the CEO's net worth at over a million dollars. This does not resolve the moral implications of some someone making money off of charity. There are several possible reasons he might have that could be considered. He may have not wanted to raise his children in the city and these all might be personal factors.

The car may not be his despite what others have said. The image on google earth is low resolution so it could be any type of red car. As for other property I take into account what other sources have said and I consider that. I just have other sources and I consider your claims too. What can be said which is the intent and spirit of the report is most mission executives possess wealth and there is evidence of this.

As for the internal financial reports I do see some variations form things I have been told by other sources. Those things could be inaccurate. Remember I get my information from people I interact with and 10 people will give 10 different versions for 10 different reasons. When you talk to other people at the mission including homeless people and staff they might have their own reasons for say things. I did not see what they paid their staff in their report which I will say seemed fishy because most non-profits itemize this information so contributors can see how much is spent on pay.

I am willing to take new information but I still see lots of suspicious behavior. Again I with all the name calling which in my many years I have seen worse shows that you all seem to doubt that. I have been homeless before and am severely and am genuinely concerned about the community. I am very concerned that budgets continue to grow at all the missions and so do the homeless. This compounds what I have seen and been told. I am also concerned that most mission officials live in areas in the suburbs that are considered wealthy areas. Union Rescue Mission is not alone with this issue.

As always I am open to other sides and new information. I doubt you will find many people who with the information that I have been given and been called so many names that be willing to listen to your opinions. I just see lots of evidence and hear lots of things that make much of what goes on at least appear as I have stated in the past. I do think And Bales is a nice guy and does care about people. The issues I brought up in the past were more a global issue with the mission and were not meant to question that. I respect Andy as a family man and spiritual leader.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Justin is a moron

AUTHOR: Abhonda - (United States of America)

I was trying to stay appropriate and kind to you Justin... but since you are the dumbest person I know and allowed to write your stupidity on a website slandering my Dad. I have changed my mind. If you really think you can guess what car is in someone's driveway on Google maps or Google earth, you sir are a fool. Go ahead and look at that again and all you can see is a car on the street and maybe a blur under some trees.

The house is actually 3 stories and was a crack house when we bought it. I know first hand throwing away used needles and glass pipes(probably what you are smoking right now). It had over 30 people living in it and also it has a guest house in back that was so run down that nothing worked. Our church we went to at the time donated their time and money and fixed it up for us and my dad rents it out to a poor pastor that lives in Pasadena and his 4 or 5 sons for far too cheap a price for what it was worth.

Even though you say such evil and stupid things about my dad he would be the first one to forgive you and help you.

Have you ever been to the URM or are you out to just slander anything that is christian based? Maybe you can just read minds and know everything after looking at "Google Earth". Your whole article lost it's grounds when I put in my first couple of rebuttals, but you came back with more stupidity and ignorance.

Again I must say... This world needs smarter individuals. Starting with Justin the Incredible Moron!

I can't wait to see what more stupidity comes from you. I welcome a rebuttal.

P.S. When did a Honda Ridgeline become a luxury car. If that is the case my Ford Fuzion must be like a Porsche 911.

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#6 Consumer Comment

This Article is NOT true at all...

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

 I know that the CEO Andy Bales is the most down to earth person along with his wife that I have ever known. I have worked with his wife and she is caring, compassionate, patient and loves the Lord. Her husband Andy Bales has no bad bone in his body and he would give his last to help anyone in need. 
The Union Rescue Mission has great core values and Andy is the right man for the job! He is a server for the Lord and he will go up and beyond to help the homeless in the L.A. area. 
They do not live in a mansion but a simple house in a area that houses have gone up in value. He does not have a private plane, new car and they don't have all the amenities that "rich" people have. He and his wife are very simple and don't take what the Lord gave them for granted. He also doesn't get the salary that this report says he does. Andy works long hours and is dedicated to solve the homeless problem.
They also continue to give back to their community and have helped bring the homeless problem in L.A. to the fourth front. 
If the person that wrote this article was really a volunteer at the Union Rescue then he would know that its not at all about money but helping the needy and trying to get the homeless a better environment and getting the help they need when they need it.

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#7 Consumer Comment

The only fraudulent thing here is you!

AUTHOR: Ruth - (United States of America)

You should get your story straight. First the house was 2.3 million now its just over a million dollars? You are very wishy washy. Also our house was built on 1907 making it a craftsman style. Second, I went on google maps and looked up my address I wasn't surprised to not see a red Lexus given that Andy doesn't drive a Lexus neither does anyone in our household. So now I'm lead to believe you are so twisted that you believe your own lies. The URM is not an interfaith place it is a Christian organization! I don't even want to know how you came up with that one. Justin Craft, you clearly have some sick vendetta towards the URM. All you want is to get a rise out of people and maybe get a little attention. Nothing you have stated is truthful. You are digging yourself in a deep hole. Here's some pictures of our house, my dads car, if you are that obsessed the W2's are coming soon given it is tax season, you creep. 

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#8 General Comment

Give it up.

AUTHOR: Mark - (United States of America)

I'm not an employee of the URM.  I've known Andy since he lived in Iowa.  Craftman homes are 2 story.  I live in one.  They are not luxury homes.  They are old and drafty. URM posts IRS forms on their web site which show that all  the administrators added together are not making 600k.
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#9 Author of original report

Your all just employees of the mission

AUTHOR: Justin Craft - (United States of America)

Andrew Bales homes is accessed by the county for over a million dollars. It is two stories which is luxurious for southern California especially Pasadena and no craftsman home has two stories. Notice in the picture his wearing a suit worth over a $1000. You can see the Lexus in his drive way on google street view. The missions "audit" looks fishy I would love to get a release of their official reporting to the state. Despite all Mr. Bales friends URM is still a fraud. 
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#10 General Comment

Andy Bales has an impeccable reputation

AUTHOR: Mark - (United States of America)

This absurd report is a nefarious attack. It's anonymous author is a coward.

I've known Andy Bales for over 25 years and his reputation is pristine.  His skill set would certainly enable him to hold a 7 figure position, but he has given up wealth in order to serve his God, by serving the poor and downtrodden. 

The URM web site can be searched for their IRS documents.  These documents show that no one over there is getting rich and that no one is earning a 7 figure salary. 

The Bales live in Pasadena in an old Craftsman style home.  Their neigbhorhood is plagued by gangs and crime. 

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#11 General Comment

This is absolutely absurd!

AUTHOR: Ruth - (United States of America)

This is by far the dumbest thing i have ever read. I am actually upset that i lost precious time to read such false accusations. I am my dad's number one fan. Andy Bales is an amazing human being, so let's get down to business. Whoever wrote this poorly written and ludicrous article should be ashamed of themselves. Not only did you attempt to slander my father, but also the rest of the people who work everyday to clean up skid row and end homelessness and also make the streets of LA a safer place.

Before you spew such ridiculous things, you should investigate and get some facts. Which clearly, you failed to do.

I have never lived in a mansion before, nor do i now. This "mansion" you speak of is actually an old craftsman home. That is no where near 2.3 million dollars. If you think Marengo St. is the priciest part of Pasadena. I would love for you to take a stroll down my block after 10 PM and see how safe you feel. Every night there are helicopters flying above us, police chases, fights breaking out, there has even been SWAT teams that block off our street. The street parallel to us is government funded apartments. Our home is not in a "pricey" neighborhood and actually the furthest from it. I have to be walked out to my car every time i leave my house by my Dad or brothers.

The red Lexus you posted that is supposedly my dad's car, i have never seen it parked in my driveway. Although it is a very nice car, my dad drives a Honda.  Nice try though. Nor do we own private planes or a boat.

This is my favorite part, "Andy Bales earns a seven figure salary..." That is laughable. He makes no where near that amount. But man, wouldn't that be nice? Even if my Andy did earn that kind of a salary i'm sure our family wouldn't see anymore than we do now. He would give it all to others, that's what kind of man my dad is. He would even give you the shirt off his back if you were in need. Even after this absurd article. He is a strong christian man. The strongest man I know, and i'm not just saying that because he's my dad.  He is a man of God and he shows it by his actions everyday.

Throughout my life i have had many foster brothers and sisters who were homeless children my dad took in, while their parents couldn't fend for them. He took it upon himself to turn our personal family home into a shelter as well. If all he cared about was the paycheck or getting rich, I highly doubt he would open up his home.

Next time you want to pick on Andy Bales or the other employees of the Union Rescue Mission, do your research. Otherwise, you'll make the same mistake of looking extremely foolish. I feel badly that you are an angry or spiteful person and you feel the need to take your feelings out on others who are doing amazing work and touching the lives of so many. The CHRISTIAN URM people and strong supporters of Andy Bales will be praying for you. Thank you. God Bless you.
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#12 General Comment

Completely erroneous report on income and real estate

AUTHOR: Natalie - (United States of America)

The author of the report does not indicate the source of his information to support his claims.  Other sources do not confirm the claims of inflated salary or that Mr. Bales owns a "mansion."  Anyone who knows Pasadena knows that Mr. Bales lives in the lowest income part of town.  It is historic, and there are still some very large houses in that neighborhood, but many are not in very good shape and there are apartments and a lot of crime.    It is also important to note that the house listed on the report was purchased in 2003 for $485k.  Real estate, even in Pasadena's worst neighborhoods, jumped considerably during the housing boom.  They have since dropped and are starting to rise again.  But you will see a fair number of foreclosures in his neighborhood.  It is highly unlikely that his home appraised for $2.3 million - where is the evidence?

Salaries can be verified through URM's 990 filings.

If the author can get these fundamentals so wrong, what else about the article is erroneous?
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#13 General Comment

This is actual evidence.

AUTHOR: Abhonda - (United States of America)

Here is the 2012 Financial's of The URM and also the Tax infor for 2012. Now there is some evidence and proof to show how this is a legit and christian mission. Where they do help people out of the good of their hearts and not for their own pockets.

Who ever disagrees with this needs to go down there and actually volunteer their own time and see what life changing minisitry is like.

Maybe in the future people will actually look into something and not make idiotic claims about some one else and provide false info on how they live their lives. Not just for the URM or the CEO of the URM, but for anyone out there.

This world needs smarter individuals.
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#14 General Comment

A Man of Honor

AUTHOR: Carrie B. - (United States of America)

I was surprised and mildly amused to read the Ripoff Report on the Union Rescue Mission.  I am a long-time friend of Andy Bales, the current CEO of URM, and the idea that he earns a 7-figure income is laughable.  Andy is a truly understated and humble man, and he lives a truly rich life, but not in the same way mentioned in the notice. 

My husband helped hire Andy many years ago as a Pastor at Lake Avenue Church.  Andy moved his wife, a gaggle of young kids, a nephew, and a few other kids who needed a home from Iowa because of his intense love for the homeless and desire to make a difference. The job paid only enough to make ends meet, and the Bales lived in a home provided them by Lake Avenue.

His friends and supporters were thrilled when he was offered the job of CEO of the Union Rescue Mission.  There is no one who would do that job with greater integrity, unswerving loyalty, or passion.  The URM job was made for him and he was made for the job.

With a little more income, the Bales purchased an old Craftsman home in a very tough area of Pasadena.  The home is huge, which enables them to house their large family and anyone else who might need a place to stay.  Friends and supporters have helped them fix up their home, but it is anything but lavish.  The neighborhood is so rough that Andy and his boys regularly have to protect young women being beat up, break up drug deals going down in their front yard, or chase away burglars.  The mansion you claim he owns does not even have central heat.  They huddle around the fireplace and put on sweatshirts during the winter.

Even if Andy was given a 7 figure income, he would never keep it for himself.  He would end up giving it to others who needed it more than him.  Andy is the complete antithesis of what you described in your report.  He is a deeply committed Christian and truly exemplifies the teachings of Christ in all that he does.  He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk.   

If you are so concerned about Andy Bales being overpaid, I would suggest you spend just one day with him.  He would be happy to show you what URM is all about and even invite you home for supper.  Unfortunately, you will not drive to his house in a limousine but in a humble truck.  You will be treated like a king, but you will probably eat on paper plates.  You will not find a maid at your service and might even be asked to help with the dishes or take out the garbage.

I hope that some day you might have an opportunity to correct your views on Andy Bales and the Union Rescue Mission.  I am a better person because of knowing him and I am sure you would be too.  
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#15 General Comment


AUTHOR: Abhonda - (United States of America)

This report is shameful and very inaccurate. The CEO of the URM has been attacked by a person who did no investigating or research in the company. I really would hope that who ever wrote this is aware of their stupidity. Quite disturbing when this moron was allowed to write this article with no truth in it.

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#16 General Comment

A collection of lies

AUTHOR: Stangman1208 - (United States of America)

This is nothing more than a smear campaign against URM, and I can't really understand why. This website should have facts checked better, as there's pretty much nothing accurate in the above report. URM is a fantastic organization with incredible leadership that helps people. Plain and simple.
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#17 General Comment

No way

AUTHOR: prof - (United States of America)

I know Andy Bales in passing, and have served on a committee with him.  I know his family and I am also familiar with the Union Rescue Mission.  I don't know what the author of this "report" has against URM, but everything I know about Andy Bales is that he is an honest, good-hearted guy.  I have been to his house.  I used to mentor poor, disadvantaged kids in his neighborhood.  Unless it's lined with gold and diamonds, there is no way it is worth anywhere near 2.3 million.  

Truth be told, I make sure I'm very aware of my surroundings when in his neighborhood.  It is not a nice neighborhood.  The police helicopters are flying over this neighborhood pretty much every night.  If he makes a "7-figure" salary, he has a peculiar taste in houses and choice of neighborhood.  I've seen him driving his Honda, and I do not consider it a "luxury" car.  Why anyone would want to lie about a guy who has devoted his life to helping the homeless is beyond me.  There are so many jerks in this world deserving of attention from this site.  Andy Bales is not one of them.    
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