BARNEGAT - For years, Charles Giles, of Ocean County, claimed he was pulled alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His dramatic story helped him receive thousands of dollars in donations from the community to offset medical bills and living expenses. But a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds the story may not be true.
On the morning of 9/11, Giles was working for a private ambulance service from the Bronx, and was dispatched to the World Trade Center. For years, he has claimed he was inside the North Tower when the building started to collapse. He claims he became injured by falling debris, but a Port Authority police officer wearing shield number 1236, who he later identified as Mark Meier, carried him toward the exit.
“This hero, this guardian angel…grabbed me and tried to get me to the exit, but we were unsuccessful,” Giles can be heard saying in a 2010 speech. “The building collapsed on top of us.” Giles says Meier called for help on his radio and other responders dug them out. He credits Meier with saving his life.
But News 12 New Jersey’s Walt Kane found major inconsistencies in Giles’ story. New York City’s list of people rescued at Ground Zero does not mention either Giles or Meier. And in an exclusive interview, Meier, now retired, said no such rescue happened.
“I never saw the person, never met the person; I was never inside the building,” Meier says. He adds: “To even tread on something I consider hallowed ground, the people who were the heroes and lost their lives there, I think that it’s a terrible thing.”
Confronted with Meier’s comments, Giles said: “I must have the wrong shield number.” He said another officer, not Meier, must have saved him.
But Kane In Your Corner found that explanation also has problems. For years, Giles claimed that he and Meier had actually met, face to face, two months after the World Trade Center attacks. “I embraced him and said ‘what is your name’?” Giles says in another 2010 video. “And his name was Mark Myers (sic).” Giles says he doesn’t know how the person, who he claims he recognized by sight, would have known to give him Meier’s name.
Bill Cox, a Barnegat resident who runs a Facebook page aimed at exposing “9-11 scam artists,” is convinced Giles’ story is not true. “They made a movie out of those two other Port Authority cops (who were rescued), but Mark Meier saved Charlie's life, and not even a medal? It doesn’t make any sense,” Cox says.
On Tuesday, Kane In Your Corner will examine other potential inconsistencies in Giles’ story. Among them: Was he really injured at Ground Zero, as he claims? Did he really spend 497 hours working on the site, which he claims caused permanent health problems? Did he really lose his home to foreclosure as a result of medical bills? And, if his story is found to be untrue, what impact might that have on the thousands of dollars in donations Giles has received, or on the federal aid he still hopes to receive?