In its heyday, many prominent people supported the Eastern Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. “It was a central charity of the NBA All-Star Game,” Capitol Hill resident Jim Myers says. “Clinton painted a wall there.”

Last month, however, far less credible advocates lobbied on behalf of the Capitol Hill club. On Nov. 27, Marc Borbely was on his way to class at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law when he spotted several kids soliciting money for the club. “‘Please help us try to keep the Eastern Boys & Girls Branch open,’” he remembers them saying. Borbely found their plea strange: The branch has been closed since August.

Kerrin Torres, spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, says, “If we did solicit funds, we’re not raising money for the Eastern Branch.” She says anyone who sees kids trying to raise money for the clubs on street corners or at Metro stops should call the organization immediately.

“It’s bittersweet that people are trying to raise money for the club we don’t have,” says Myers.