The city Community Development Agency's efforts to hold Gleaners Food Bank accountable, based on CDA records:
Gleaners Director Joseph Lordi and his wife, Linda, are told by CDA that they can't benefit from the agency through the city federal money that it receives. Lordi and his wife are paid employees and members of the board of directors. The city suggests either their salaries can't be paid with city federal money or the Lordis have to leave the board.
Gleaners is notified by CDA that the employee-board connection is a conflict of interest. City suggests: both Lordis resign from the board; that they draw salaries from another funding source; that Youngstown representatives be added to the board because many members are from suburbs; and that the board adopt a conflict of interest policy.
CDA notifies Councilman James E. Fortune Sr., D-6th, -- a supporter of Gleaners -- that suggested changes to the food bank administration won't stop the agency from receiving federal funding that city council awarded.
The city overpaid $2,827 on Gleaners utility bills from April 2000 through May 2001. The reason is that the food bank isn't following the right procedures. The city calls Gleaners' accounting "highly inadequate" and offers to help with accounting and record keeping. City notifies Gleaners that an accounting firm soon will evaluate all agencies getting city federal money.
CDA tells Gleaners that the food bank needs to provide the city with: internal audits for three years of funding; a list of the board of directors; and board authorization accepting the city's federal money. The city notes that its federal funding could be in jeopardy because government regulations aren't being followed.
Cohen & amp; Co. report shows a "total lack of records" held by Gleaners. The report says that the agency is out of compliance with federal regulations and its contract with the city for the funding. Numerous suggestions are made to fix the problems.
CDA requests, via certified letters, a meeting with Gleaners board members. City says it has tried to work with Gleaners staff to fix ongoing problems to no avail. The board is warned that funding could be suspended.
Community development office gets no response. The office notifies Atty. Mark Colucci, identified as the board president, that the city -- as a last resort -- no longer will process payment requests from Gleaners. The city cites "continued lack of cooperation and communication." The notice says it "seems as if we [the city] have been completely ignored." Notice says the federal government may hold the city liable for funds improperly administered or unaccounted for.
March 7, 2002
Community development office meets with a few members of the board of directors. City outlines what actions Gleaners must take. Those actions include: providing bank records and an internal audit; administrative changes including an "active, competent and reputable, bona fide" board of directors; and accounting changes.
March 8, 2002
Jay Williams, CDA director, seeks a legal opinion on the city's position on suspending further funding for Gleaners. The memo explains the community development offices' "innumerable" and "exhaustive efforts" to help Gleaners that "push to the limit of reasonability." The memo says that the city's federal money is in jeopardy.
March 22, 2002
Gleaners director Joe Lordi sends the city bank statements and copies of checks for 1999, 2000 and 2001 and IRS forms from its accountant. Lordi asks that the moves be considered a good-faith effort to comply.
CDA finishes reviewing bank records. The city notifies Gleaners that it intends to cancel all contracts and ban future participation in federal programs through the city. The city cites "several years of consistent and substantial noncompliance" and "additional extensive and egregious violations."
A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development review of the Youngstown community development office cites the city for problems with Gleaners. HUD demands the city repay the federal government $36,108 for ineligible expenses incurred by Gleaners.
Source: CDA records