Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Chris Savage Headshot

St. Louis Teabag Protester Lies about Medical Coverage to Solicit "Donations"

Posted: Updated:

It's been widely reported that Kenneth Gladney, the African American man who claimed he was beaten during a scuffle at a St. Louis health care town hall did not have health insurance. His attorney, David Brown actually solicited funds for his medical bills:

Kenneth Gladney sat in a wheelchair on Pershing Avenue Saturday, his knee bandaged, holding a flag that read: "Don't Tread on Me."

Gladney, 38, was handing out the same flags after a town hall forum in Mehlville Thursday night, when, he says, he was attacked by members of the Service Employees International Union.

Less than 48 hours later, protesters gathered Saturday in front of the union's offices, many of them holding signs with a slightly different version of the message: "Don't Tread on Kenny."

Supporters cheered. [His attorney, David] Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance.

.

The Washington Independent is now reporting that this was a complete fabrication and that Mr. Gladney was neither "laid off" nor without health insurance coverage. Despite this, he still collected over $1,000 in donations

Brown said, contrary to recent reports like [the] one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gladney wasn't laid off and has health insurance. "He's just unemployed," says Brown, and "has insurance through his wife."

Meanwhile, though Gladney appears to be just fine in the video right after he was supposedly beaten up, he showed up the next day at a tea party event in a wheelchair. At the event, Bill Hennessy, the organizer of the St. Louis tea parties, asked the crowd to donate money to Gladney to help him pay for his injuries, despite the fact that he now says he has insurance. When I asked Brown about this, he said: "Well, who doesn't need a donation? If people want to give him a donation because he's injured and unemployed, that's up to them." Brown said Gladney has raised about $1,100 in donations so far.

In other words, Gladney lied in public about needing money for his bills and is now profiting off his lie to the tune of over a grand in donations.