Archive for June 2013
Hey, wait, we have a new complaint: Trinity Youth Services
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
Trinity Youth Services, is the latest agency flirting with disgrace. In the latest fiscal review, Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe noted, “…significant issues,” and ominously, she recommended a reevaluation of the need for the county to, “…continue doing business with Trinity.”
The Controllers report can be found here. here.
A summary of the fiscal audit noted almost $500,000 in unallowable costs. The breakdown includes, credit card and loan interest charges, Internal Revenue Service penalties, almost $90k in bank overdraft fees, and even parking tickets. It is good to know our foster care dollars are being spent so wisely.
“Trinity had loaned approximately $2.3 million in LA County foster care funds to three organizations affiliated with the agency.”.. about $1.6 million has been paid back, but “… the comingling of foster care funds, indicate that Trinity was not managing foster care funds appropriately.” Said Ms. Watanabe.
In an interview with the Daily News, CEO John Neiuber is quoted;
“During the period in question, program audits were conducted but no findings were issued that call into question a lack of services, nor the quality of services, provided by Trinity.” “The issues contained in the original audit are procedural and accounting issues that we’ve addressed and taken care of.”
Uh, so no children were tortured or killed. Move along, nothing to see here…
CEO Neiuber gallantly noted, “Those are all mistakes that were made in the past by the previous administration.”
As of June 30, 2011, Trinity still owed $2.4 million in delinquent payroll taxes, penalties and interest, and the county wonders how they are going to pay it back, and do so, without compromising the care of the children.
It is amazing that Daily News reporter Christina Villacorte, managed to get the CEO to say anything. Cheers!
The CEO scoffed all this stuff was 4 years ago, and that things have been fixed. Said Neiuber; “All these tax liabilities have been removed, and loans have been repaid.”
Well, except for anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000, but who’s counting.
These guys misallocated hundreds of thousands, went millions into debt, but don’t worry, it’s all good. And don’t stress about that kid who didn’t get a decent Christmas gift, or extra services, that was ages ago, it’s fine and dandy now.
The controllers report begs the question, how was this state of irresponsibility, misuse of taxpayer dollars, and utter incompetence, allowed to continue for so long, and with so much money? Exactly what type of oversite was there? And who is responsible?
What has happened to those kindly folks from the “old administration?” What about the old CEO’s company car? You know, the $67k Lexus LS 430? Just saying…
It would be interesting to know what other gifts these individuals are bestowing to the taxpayer, as well as to those decent folks, who were kind enough to donate monies to help abused and neglected children? It is hard to believe charity givers had delinquent payroll taxes, bank overdraft charges, and other assorted unallowable costs in mind, when they donated money to a genuinely worthy cause.
Because as usual, this is another example of the public trust, and specifically, foster children, being once again violated.
Teens Happy Homes contract terminated.
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
The county supervisors have voted to terminate the contract of Teens Happy Homes. The closure of the corrupt agency, has been inevitable since the first Times article appeared weeks ago.
The highlight from the Times investigation were the transcripts, and actual audio excerpts,which were secretly recorded 3 years earlier, in 2010, by Askari Moyenda. The recordings, memorandum of understanding, and links to the audit, have previously been posted.
What is new, and which will be linked here, is a copy of the deposition of Beautina Robinson by Mr. Moyenda.
The deposition, which took place on August 28, 2012, is a bit tedious, especially since Ms. Robinson seems to be the only one represented by counsel.
But it does open a window into the type of individual written about here, and elsewhere, which sully the image of foster care in Los Angeles.
In the deposition, we learn that Ms. Robinson didn’t know if the county prohibited solicitations for personal gain,. Also, she doesn’t recall if she received nearly $10k personally.
She can’t recall when she got a check for almost $10k? … Huh?
Actually, Ms. Robinson says, “I don’t recall,” so frequently throughout the deposition, that one wonders what she actually did remember.
Robinson couldn’t recall for example, when she was asked what the qualifications were, when she became an executive director of a foster agency.
On another question, Ms. Robinson noted, that she learned that selling a non-profit was illegal, “During the process of this.”
Other enlightening tidbits, have to do with the qualifications of sitting board members, (presumably proof of life).
Near the end of the deposition, there is a long, twisted and rambling question and answer session, about what Ms. Robinson considers to be fraudulent, lying, misleading and misrepresentative, when she is communicating with board members.
Finally, towards the end of this confusing repartee, Mr. Moyenda asks:
Question: “Okay. Would you consider it fraud if you –if an administrator –if an executive –chief executive officer misled the board on the amount of donation that was given, would you consider that fraudulent?”
Answer: “I refuse to answer that.”
We found it a bit more confusing (if that is possible), when Ms. Robinson was asked about her education. She went to Oakwood Academy College, …”went to Indiana University and took some classes,” and has an “honorary doctorate degree.”
Then, the following questions and answers ensues:
Question: “Slow down. So you have what? I’m sorry?”
Answer: “An honorary doctorate degree.”
Question: “What does that mean?”
Answer: “Just what I said.”
Question: “I don’t know what that means.”
Answer: “Well I don’t either.”
Question: “Is that related to any education? Is the honorary degree related to any education?”
Answer: “Humanities. I have a doctorate in humanities.”
At this point, Mr. Moyenda seems to be trying to get Ms. Robinson to state the honorary degree is useless. Things ramble a bit, until he asks…
Question: “Okay. So there was no educational attachment to that honorary degree? Yes or no?”
Answer: “I don’t recall.”
Not exactly the Supreme court, or even Matlock, but one hopes the gist comes through.
There is a lot more, and it is a worthwhile read, if for no other reason then to highlight the lack of professionalism and utter incompetence we allow, by the people who run these places. For that alone, the plaintiff has clearly done us a service.
One doubts however, the “pound of flesh,’ even when served cold, will bring much peace.
It is ironic that a foster child, whose entire life fits inside a plastic garbage bag, could shoplift a $50 IPOD, and get booked, fingerprinted, photographed, and tossed into jail.
Yet when previous corruption was exposed, similar, and in some cases much worse than the goings on at Teens Happy Homes, there was nothing more than a slap on the wrist to the perpetrators.
Currently, there are agencies in Los Angeles County, with similar proclivities. Should there be no legal consequences for perpetrators, then crooked executives from other agencies, will know the only thing risked, is to be shut down.
Monies need not be paid back or returned, and there will be no incarceration, regardless of the extent of the malfeasence.
Money meant for abused and neglected children has been siphoned. This requires justice. For the children, and for us, the taxpayers. Such malfeasance is a bit more rare these days, but still not unusual with foster care agencies.
A couple agencies come to mind immediately.
Financial corruption invites mistreatment, in one form or another, towards foster children. Such corruption, over time, often ends with a foster child dying.
There is a correlation.
It has happened time, and time again – and shall coninue to happen all too frequently, unless we make changes with honest appraisal.