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URBAN LEAGUE Program finances OK in audit



Published: Thu, July 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An audit of the Warren-Trumbull Urban League by the state is pending.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Finances for the fatherhood program run by Warren-Trumbull Urban League were managed properly, according to an audit conducted by the group's parent organization.

"We have completed our review of the fatherhood program and the financial resources of that program ... and did not find any truth to the allegations of financial mismanagement of that program," Annelle Lewis, senior vice president of affiliate development at the National Urban League, said Wednesday.

"Based on our findings, there was nothing to substantiate any allegations of financial mismanagement. Their records are in order."

Complaint: Four former employees of the fatherhood program, who lost their jobs earlier this month, contend that the Warren-Trumbull Urban League overbilled the Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services $78,000 for the program.

The fatherhood program was funded by a $235,000 grant by the state and federal government.

The former employees say they were never interviewed by National Urban League auditors, who were in Warren on July 5 and 6.

Tynetta Hall, one of four program employees who lost their jobs two weeks ago, said they were scheduled to meet with auditors, but the National Urban League balked when the employees asked that their lawyer be present.

"They were going to check with their attorney to see if it was OK, and they never got back to us," she said.

She said the employees, who compiled paperwork and invoices documenting what they say is evidence of inflated billing for the program, were eager to talk about the allegations.

"They left us hanging," Hall said.

The National Urban League responded to the latest contention by telling The Vindicator this morning, "we'll have to get back to you."

Report upcoming: Lewis declined to discuss any specific findings in the audit of the fatherhood program until it is reviewed by the local chapter's board. A report will be released to the local board later this week, she said.

Vernon Murphy, chairman of the board, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Thomas Conley, president and CEO of the Warren-Trumbull Urban League, has been placed on leave pending the results of the audit.

Lewis said she did not know if he would be returning to work.

"Personnel decisions are handled on the local level," she said.

Conley did not return telephone calls.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services also will audit the agency within the next few weeks, said Dennis Evans, a department spokesman.

siff@vindy.com




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