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Allied Veterans Center faces uncertain future after Allied Veterans of the World gambling bust

6:06 PM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Allied Veterans Center that receives nearly all of its financial support from the Allied Veterans of the World is worried about what will happen in the next 90 days.

Allied Veterans of the World on Tuesday had all of its internet cafes shut down by the state and its National Commander, Jerry Bass, was arrested. Bass had a guest office at the Allied Veterans Center, with his internet cafe operation contributing nearly $2 million during the past two years.

The IRS said the business hardly delivered helping charities pocketing nearly $300 million.

"We got a good program, we got people who trust us. They came in with the idea that we were going to help them and we got to figure out a way to make that happen," said Len Loving, the center's Chief Operating Officer.

This week, the center has 27 vets including six women living in the facility located off Atlantic Boulevard.

The center offers not only housing and meals, but a training program for vets.

Loving said most of the vets in the program suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Tony Centonze, 25, is the newcomer at the center, spending his first day in the facility on Wednesday.

Cetonze, a Navy vet, said he has been homeless and living on the streets since before Thanksgiving.

"The big thing getting me off the streets and able to keep myself cleaned up for job interview," said Centonze while having lunch with fellow vets.

The Allied Veterans Center said its monthly operating budget pushes $50,000 with enough money on hand for the next couple of months.

Beyond that, Loving said he doesn't know right now where financial help will be coming from. 

First Coast News

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