Tetyana Pilyakova regularly tossed change into the UHO jugs that seem ubiquitous at tourist hot spots.
“I’m in shock,” she said Tuesday after state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo called the United Homeless Organization “a sham” and sued it for pocketing donations for personal expenses. He said the UHO took in at least $360,000 a year.
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“You don’t really feed the homeless,” the 24-year-old NYU student told a man at UHO’s Union Square table — one of about 50 in the city. The money he collects — minus $15 for the UHO — he uses to feed and clothe himself, he told her.
“I’m happy for you,” Pil-yakova said, “but the organ-ization is fooling people.”
She thought the money funded soup kitchens.
“Most people that come by, they see us here every day,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “They know where the money is going. We’re not fooling anyone. I’m not jiving them.”
Cuomo has accused UHO founder Stephen Riley and director Myra Walker with defrauding the public.
They allegedly spent the collections on travel, at GameStop, Bed Bath & Beyond and Weight Watchers. The suit seeks to ban UHO from soliciting donations.
After five years with his UHO jug, the man at Union Square Tuesday said he’ll probably return to his native Connecticut to panhandle.