By Tom Momberg
Included in the state Legislature’s omnibus bill that passed in both chambers at the end of the session was legislation introduced by Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) to work against the proliferation of used clothing receptacles provided by fake charities.
The law would prohibit the placement of collection bins on public property throughout the state, and imposes maintenance requirements on receptacles that are placed on private property. It also strengthens disclosure requirements for the operation of the bins, such as whether a bin is used by a non-profit or for-profit organization.
Operators of the receptacles would also be legally required to disclose whether nonprofits and for-profit organizations are working in conjunction with one another in a practice known as “rent-a-charity.”
The legislation was introduced about a year ago after businesses and residents in northeast Queens lodged several complaints about the sudden appearance of clothing bins on public spaces that appeared to be scams.
The main concern was that such bins might detract from legitimate charities’ use of the clothing drops.
“Fake charities are benefiting from the generous nature of our community by misleading people into believing that their donations are going to help those in need of assistance,” Braunstein said in a statement. “These bins are frequently placed on sidewalks and other public places, damaging the quality of life of our neighborhoods. It is time we remove these bins and ensure that fake charities no longer benefit from their deceptive actions.”
The receptacles become eyesores when they are not properly maintained, Braunstein noted.
“I applaud Assemblyman Braunstein for taking action against these unscrupulous individuals who are looking to make a quick profit off of our intended good will donations,” said Chrissy Voskerichian, president of the 109th Precinct Community Council. “These illegal boxes do not serve those in need. They do nothing more than block sidewalks, attracting litter, graffiti and dumping, diminishing the quality of life in our community.”
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb