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Letter Accuses Ward Connerly of Mismanaging Funds

Letter Accuses Ward Connerly of Mismanaging Funds

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Published by Colorlines.com

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Colorlines.com on Jan 18, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/18/2012

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 September 22, 2011Page 3employee, past employees, and review contracts for services by ACRI, leases, and other
transactions, as it appears that many are not “arm’s length” but benefit Mr. Co
nnerlyeither directly or indirectly.
Second, Ms. Gratz is concerned that Mr. Connerly’s salary is taking precedence
over payment of salary to staff members, several of whom are single mothers and in needof regular income. On September 6, 2011 the staff was informed via email that theorganization
ma
y not meet its September 9 payroll for the pay period of August 22 toSeptember 2, 2011. In fact, no salary has been paid to the staff since August 26, 2011 (onAugust 26, payroll was met for the pay period ending on August 19). At a time when
reassurance from ACRI’s leader is more than necessary, Mr. Connerly has been absent
from the office, but for the rare fifteen minute drop-in, and has avoided talking to thestaff. Prior to March 12, 2010, employee salary was consistently paid through directdeposit. From that date through the present, salary has been paid seemingly at randomthrough either physical check or direct deposit. On at least four separate occasionsduring that period, salary payments have been delayed or missed. On one additionaloccasion the staff was notified that payroll may be delayed; however, it was distributedthrough a physical check on time. Ms. Gratz believes that earlier in the year Mr.Connerly arranged to pay himself weekly and without the same week delay as staff to put
him ahead of the staff’s bi
-weekly schedule. There was discussion about offering thissame payroll arrangement to other employees, however, it was never offered. Ms. Gratzbelieves that Mr. Connerly continued to receive his salary through the beginning of September, and Ms. Gratz believes that if Mr. Connerly had reduced his salary to a level
commensurate with the organizations’ current revenue when the organizations financial
difficulties began in March 2010, funds would have been available to pay the staff.Third, Ms. Gratz is concerned about the fact that neither ACRI nor ACRC filedfederal income tax returns for several years, which resulted in ACRC recently losing itstax exempt status. The returns were not filed, Ms. Gratz speculates, to keep at least
 partially from public scrutiny the extent of Mr. Connerly’s salary amidst the
organizations dire financial circumstances. For example, a recent filing disclosed that
Mr. Connerly’s compensation from ACRI i
n 2009 amounted to over 58% of the
organization’s total revenue that year. While Mr. Connerly’s actual salary is of little
concern to Ms. Gratz, it is disconcerting to her that his compensation prevents theorganization from funding programs in furtherance of its goals and that the organizationmay have jeopardized its tax exempt status and its relationship with donors solely to
disguise the extent of Mr. Connerly’s salary.
 Fourth, Ms. Gratz is concerned that there are inadequate financial controls inplace to provide oversight for the salary advances Mr. Connerly receives, or for paymentsmade to him for consulting fees, speaking engagements, travel advances, and other cashtransactions. For years, Ms. Gratz was aware of the allegations that Mr. Connerlyreceived excessive compensation. She presumed that the issue was politically motivated
and raised solely by opponents of the organization’s mission. It has come to her 
attention, however, that there may be some merit to the allegations of financial

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