Many veterans groups not registered to receive donations in Suffolk County

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (WABC) -- If there's one group of people who deserve a gift on "Giving Tuesday" it's our veterans.

In Suffolk County, people can go online and see if the veteran group they're donating to is registered with the county.

However if they did that now, they would find that out of at least 20 nonprofits, only eight have permits.

"We're disappointed that more hasn't been done," said John Cooney, of the Northport American Legion.

Cooney is with the Northport American Legion and was instrumental in getting legislators to pass the regulation back in April.

It requires nonprofit veterans groups to disclose their financials and be registered publicly with the county.

"Suffolk County executives including the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency have been promoting organizations and helping them solicit from the public when they don't yet have permits," Cooney said.

Some veterans groups told Eyewitness News that the county never told them about this regulation.

Tom Ronayne, the head of Suffolk County's Veterans Affairs Services Agency, says he realizes more needs to be done to notify veterans groups about the regulation.

"What that is, we're not entirely certain at this point, we have made every effort to date to reach out to the community at meetings with our veterans," Ronayne said.

"Many of the agencies that are very successful don't have permits or even applied for a permit," said Bruce Brenner, of VFW Post 1469.

Brenner is the commander with the VFW Post in Huntington.

He says legislators owe it not only veterans, but also to the public to enforce their own regulation.

"The public is entitled to know what are you doing with my generosity, with my funds that are going to veterans groups," Brenner said.

View the list from Suffolk County:
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