Al Franken Discusses Air America Funding

Al Franken (search) says 20,000 poor kids and old people weren't the only victims of an executive who allegedly arranged a Bronx, N.Y., charity's mega-buck "loan" to Air America (search).

"About three weeks into the life of Air America, I became an involuntary investor — I stopped being paid," Franken told listeners Monday on WLIB (1190 AM).

It was the first time the all-liberal network's biggest star addressed at length a controversial $875,000 loan from the disgraced — and now de-funded — Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club.

Since The Post first reported the story on July 30, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced an investigation into the social services agency whose development director, Evan M. Cohen, was also Air America's founder.

"He let us believe that we had enough funding to go three years before making a profit," Franken said.

"Turned out it was three weeks."

Moments after Air America's widely publicized, early-spring launch last year, checks bounced and the fledgling lefty net was yanked off stations in Los Angeles and Chicago.

"I think [Cohen] was robbing Peter to pay Paul," Franken said, adding that the network's current owners, Piquant LLC, did some "forensic accounting" and learned about the defaulted loan.

Franken said Piquant didn't legally have to pay back the loan, "but we morally do, so they started to make arrangements to pay it back.

"I didn't know anything about this until last week," Franken claimed. "I really had nothing to do with this."

The Post has been unable to reach Cohen in either New York or his native Guam.