Lesbian Girl Scout Executive Accused of Embezzling for High-Priced Lifestyle

by Peter Cassels

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday December 8, 2011

This is a story about a woman, a professional, an out-lesbian who apparently decided that having a good time was more important than the future of a lot of young women and girls. When Yaasmin Hooey was arrested in October for allegedly embezzling more than $311,000, the media barely noticed. Hooey, the director of finance for the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York at the time, allegedly took the money for personal expenses.

According to the Manhattan district attorney's office, the Girl Scout official began embezzling in 2008. Hooey wrote 65 checks to herself totaling $275,979 by forging the signature of the Girl Scout Council's then-CEO and either cashed or deposited them in her own checking account. Hooey also issued nine unauthorized wire transfers totaling $35,606 from two Girl Scout bank accounts to her checking account, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, Hooey used the money to pay for everything from groceries to a $13,000 diamond ring.

Hooey also is charged with failing to file New York state income tax returns for 2008 and 2009 and of intentionally failing to include the $142,077 she stole in 2010. Hooey was charged Oct. 4 with grand larceny, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records and criminal tax fraud.

"The defendant's charged crimes not only violated the trust of the Girl Scout organization, but the trust of the girls that the organization serves," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

EDGE was alerted by her former fiancé about Hooey's case (and her sexual orientation). Amy, who would not give her last name to protect her privacy, said in an interview that she and Hooey were in a relationship for three and a half years. "It started to fizzle out this past April and she finally moved out of the house September first," Amy said.

"I had a SWAT team at my house looking for her," she said, after the embezzlement came to light. Hooey, who has a black belt in karate, was eventually arrested at the headquarters of the World Seido Karate Organization three doors from the Girl Scout New York Council offices on West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Hooey spent two weeks on in the city's prison on Rikers Island before being released on $50,000 bail Oct. 19. The funds Hooey allegedly embezzled are gone -- spent on fling and bling, such as commuter rail tickets, a gym membership, cosmetic laser procedures, cruises and clothing. She spent more than $18,000 alone in restaurants and bars.

"Her lawyer can't find the money," her former fiancé reported. "She spent it all on things like trips, concerts, vacations, clubs, jewelry, TVs and surround sound."

According to Amy, the couple's living expenses were $50,000 a year. "She told me her salary was $130,000 a year, but it was really only $70,000. My whole relationship with her was a lie."

Amy also contends that Judy Dlugacz, owner of Olivia, the popular San Francisco-based travel agency that caters to lesbians, stayed in a villa in Hawaii that Hooey rented from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 for $20,000, also from the pot of money she allegedly embezzled. Because of her legal problems, Hooey couldn't make the trip. Dlugacz did not respond to EDGE requests seeking comment.

The former fiancé said during the interview that, according to her lawyer, Hooey struck a plea bargain with the district attorney's office and will plead guilty. Hooey's next court appearance will be Jan. 10.

"She has to pay full restitution," Amy said. "Her lawyer thinks she'll be in prison for three to six years. My relationship ended horribly," she continued. "It's a win-win situation for me. She deserves everything she gets."

Jezebel, a web site featuring celebrity, sex and fashion for women, was one of the few mediums that mentioned the story. They did not mention her sexual orientation.

"Of course, Hooey will probably go to jail," Jezebel wrote. "But perhaps a better punishment for her would be to require her to use her developing entrepreneurial skills to make the organization whole. She'll just about break even once she's sold 77,897 boxes of cookies."

Hooey's financial hijinks focus attention on a larger issue: the role lesbians play in the Girl Scouts. According to Amy, there are other lesbians on the Greater New York council's staff. "Everybody there knew she was a lesbian and several came to our engagement party," she reported.

Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts: Tolerance, Homophobia
The Girl Scouts offer a refreshingly open attitude, especially when compared with the notoriously homophobic Boy Scouts of America.

The Girl Scouts, for example, offer health insurance to same-sex partners. Girl Scouts USA national spokesperson Michelle Tompkins confirmed the organization's policy of inclusion and non-discrimination. The Girl Scouts will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012.

"Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and d o not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability," Tompkins said. "The Girl Scout organization is proud of our policy of nondiscrimination for staff, volunteers, and the girls we serve."

That position is the polar opposite of the one held by the Boy Scouts, which fought tooth and nail against admitting or employing openly gay individuals, culminating in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2000, Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, which upheld its right to discriminate.

EDGE asked Evan Wolfson, at the time a Lambda Legal attorney who represented assistant scoutmaster James Dale during oral arguments before the court, for his thoughts on the positions the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts hold. Wolfson has since become the nation's most prominent advocate of same-sex marriage by founding Freedom to Marry.

"The fact that the Girl Scouts and most other major youth organizations (the 4-H Clubs, the Campfire Girls and Boys and so on) reject the discrimination that the BSA hierarchy has smuggled into the Boy Scouts -- without any vote or even consultation of their own members and sponsoring organizations -- underscores the harmfulness and repugnance of the discriminatory policy," he replied in an e-mail. "It also shows there are many alternative groups to support in order to really serve and welcome all youth."

Girl Scouts' Inclusiveness Inflames Right
Social conservatives practically foam at the mouth about lesbians in the Girl Scouts. They contend that they promote the "homosexual agenda" and other progressive positions on such issues as abortion.

World Net Daily, in a 2009 article headlined "Girl Scouts exposed: Lessons in Lesbianism," attacked its "Journeys" curriculum for including female role models who are "feminists, lesbians, existentialists, communists and Marxists."

Among those the story cites are lesbians Ethel Mary Smyth, a leader of the English women's suffrage movement; tennis champions Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. The article doesn't spare those who are straight and support gay rights, such as Betty Friedan, a founder of the feminist movement; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, and singer and actress Bette Midler.

Free Republic, the notoriously conservative website that attracts the tinfoil-hat crowd, in November carried a story from The Christian Post (Girl Scouts Convention Has Pro-Abortion, Ultra-Feminist Agenda, Say Ex-Members) contending that the Girl Scouts national convention in Houston (held shortly after the story was published) didn't present "a balanced viewpoint when it comes to issues of abortion, sexuality, and marriage." Speakers included Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who lives with her partner Kathy Hubbard, campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood.

The story unleashed a barrage of Free Republic reader comments, such as, "WOW. So the top speaker to the Girl Scouts is a pervert. That begs the question: do you as a parent endorse perversion to your children? If not, why would you have them in this organization?"

Another reader wrote: "I wonder how many short-hair, not-so-hidden lesbians will be there looking to recruit? Does anyone know if they've breached GS leadership?"

Some Free Republic readers urged their brethren to pull their daughters out of the Girl Scouts and have them join American Heritage Girls, which according to its website (www.ahgonline.org/) is "dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country."

Meanwhile, no one in the Girl Scouts apparently believes that Yaasmin Hooey's actions reflected on anyone other than herself.

Peter Cassels is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's Excellence in Journalism award. His e-mail address is [email protected].