Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kevin Johnson- St. Hope Scandal: Rick Maya Resigns, Gerald Walpin Investigates

In the reporting on the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin, a reader who I believe resides in the area of Sacramento, left some pertinent information on Kevin Johnson and St. HOPE, including a letter of resignation from St. Hope's executive director, Rick Maya on April 9th, about a month before Gerald Walpin's firing by President Obama. See update 11-10-09 below.

Kevin Johnson - Gerald Walpin, St. Hope Scandal

For background, please skip to the bottom of this article.

Here's the latest in the rest of the story: According to the Sacrament Bee, St. Hope board of director member, Rick Maya resigned due to misconduct by Kevin Johnson. Four board members have resigned since March.

Maya claimed:

1) another board member, Sam Oki, deleted Kevin Johnson's emails during the federal investigation by Walpin. Some of Maya's emails were also deleted.
We had to pay thousands of dollars to recover the information deleted from our e-mail system as a result of this highly inappropriate and potentially unlawful incursion into our e-mail system," Maya's letter said. "We are still unsure whether all of the deleted information has been recovered."
Oki, "one of the four original top fundraisers" denies that he deleted any emails.

2) no oversight of federal funds

3) antagonism toward him from the "old guard" and Johnson "loyalists" on the board

4) Kevin Johnson was allowed to participate in "key management and governance decisions," but was not a board members, which Maya believed to jeopardize state and federal funding for St. Hope

5) Kevin Johnson, while not a board member, "designated" the Nominating Committee and included himself on the Nominating Committee, a clear violation of Corporations Code Section 5212. Johnson's "disbarment for misusing St. Hope Academy's public funding prohibited him from participating in any entity which receives federal funding." Johnson's action could result in the loss of federal funding.

6) the board was stacked to guarantee Johnson's "continuing control of the Board and the Schools."

7) State Treasurer's attorney, Kristin Smith, warned that participation by those "associated with the St. Hope Academy federal funds debarment would result in the loss of federal funding..." other board members attempted to keep Johnson's participation on the Nominating Committee a secret.

8) Chairman Bernard Bowler was said to have resigned, but in fact had not. Upon the announcement of Bowler's resignation, Tracy Stigler presided over the Board's meetings, but had no authority to do so. Bowler informed the board that he would take his seat as Chairman at a March 26th meeting. Stigler informed Bowler that he would be arrested by armed security guards if he attempted to do so.

Rick Maya is a former Bank of America executive. He was on administrative leave for his tenure as executive director at St. HOPE. His resignation letter, as well as the resignation letters of others can be found in a pdf here.

Quick background summary: Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired by President Barack Obama last week. Obama ignored a statute requiring him to provide 30 days notice as well as provide reasons in writing to Congress for firing an inspector general. Walpin was given one hour to resign or be fired. He refused to resign.  

Walpin had investigated and reported $75 million in federal money misused by AmeriCorps and St. Hope - founded by Kevin Johnson, Sacramento mayor and one time NBA star. Johnson is an Obama supporter and donor. Michelle Obama seems to be involved in the hiring going on at the corporation that Walpin works out of. Michelle's chief of staff recently left her White House office to take a position at that corporation.
Johnson, St. HOPE Academy and its former executive director, Dana Gonzalez, were found to have misused grant money and volunteers during an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Millions of dollars in economic stimulus funding for the city of Sacramento also appeared to be at risk because Johnson was banned from receiving federal aid as part of the investigation.
Johnson and St. HOPE Academy were removed from the suspension list in April after agreeing to repay half the $847,673 in grants the nonprofit had received over a three-year period.

Update 11-10-09:
Announced today that Gerald Walpin has been cleared of charges that he overstepped his authority in his investigation of AmeriCorps and Kevin Johnson. Read the story here.
Related original background reporting:
Gerald Walpin Fired by President Obama: Inspector General Walpin Fired
Gerald Walpin Firing Update: AmeriCorp $75 million Misused: Michelle Obama Hires?
Glen Beck - Gerald Walpin Video: IG Gerald Walpin on Glen Beck

Others talking about Gerald Walpin:
Michelle Malkin: AmeriCrooks: obama's crony scandal continued

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