JCCEO govt’s firing adopted monetary inconsistences, alleged relationship with contractor

Jefferson County Committee for Financial Alternative’s Board of Administrators fired Government Director Sharon Myles earlier this month after the board was introduced with an inside assessment of 5 impartial contracts that present monetary inconsistencies and an alleged private relationship with one of many contractors.

The findings are contained in a report ready for the board by lawyer Thomas W. Scroggins of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLC, which was supplied to AL.com by the JCCEO Board. The report was introduced to the administrators in mid-October. Myles was dismissed on November 1 after unsatisfactorily responding to the allegations famous, in accordance with board chair Gary Richardson. The 5 “contract for providers” agreements had been additionally terminated.

Within the weeks after Myles was fired the company introduced it had a $2 million deficit, was pressured to surrender its grant to handle federal Head Begin packages, and introduced that layoffs had been imminent. On Wednesday the company laid off all of its 258 staff.

And this week Richardson, after a vote of the board, despatched a letter asking the Alabama Ethics Fee to research Myles.

Myles had not responded to requests for remark by AL.com previous to publication of this text. Fox 6 Information studies Myles has denied any misuse of funds.

There isn’t a indication that any company has begun an investigation into the problems raised by the board.

JCCEO, created 56 years in the past, has operated packages to assist cut back poverty and assist low-income residents of Jefferson County. Its packages have included Head Begin, utility and rental help packages, help throughout excessive scorching or chilly climate, and residential weatherization initiatives to assist low-income householders lower your expenses.

Learn extra on JCCEO woes:

JCCEO ‘lifeless’ with out $3 million bailout from Birmingham, Jefferson County: Board chair

With $2 million deficit, layoffs imminent at JCCEO

JCCEO fires govt director, terminates 5 private providers contracts

When the JCCEO board fired Myles it additionally cancelled the contracts with 5 different staff together with a person whom the report indicated might have had a private relationship with Myles. The inner report appears on the completely different contracts.

Thompson “Tommy” Nsuk contract

One contract was with Thompson “Tommy” Nsuk. Within the report, interim CEO Brenda Singellos reported Tommy Nsuk started working for JCCEO as a Amenities Marketing consultant a couple of month after Myles was employed as Government Director. On the time, the company employed Charlie Vargas as Director of Amenities, Upkeep and Repairs, Director of Transportation, and Director of Weatherization, titles he held from July 2017 till resigning on July 30, 2021.

Tommy Nsuk’s most up-to-date contract ran from January 2, 2021, to December 31, 2021, at $75 per hour for 3 eight-hour days every week ($1,800 weekly). Any hours above 24 every week had been to be paid at $30 per hour, which Scroggins thought was a typo “as the speed is considerably decrease than the speed of $75 an hour notes for the primary 24 hours labored within the week.

Tommy Nsuk was “entered into the ADP payroll system with a “rent date” of August 9, 2021, the report states. “It’s unclear why he was entered in on that date as he had been a contractor for almost two years,” the report continues. “ADP doesn’t present a pay charge for him and in reality, the data state ‘No Fee’ the place different contractors have some hourly charge or wage said within the area,” the report reads.

Tommy Nsuk was paid $4,080 on September 10, 2021, but it surely was voided for a $6,912.12 fee, the report states. On September 24, he was paid $5,280, in accordance with the report.

From the report: “Vargas first observed Nsuk at JCCEO shortly after Ms. Myles was employed round October 2020. Then round January 2020 he (Vargas) says Myles and he had a “closed door” assembly in her workplace between simply the 2 of them. Myles instructed him at this assembly that she and Nsuk had been in a relationship, and he was quickly to be her husband. She instructed Vargas that JCCEO would have interaction Nsuk as an impartial contractor Amenities Marketing consultant to work with Vargas as a result of she knew Nsuk couldn’t report back to her straight due to a battle of curiosity.

“Vargas says as soon as Nsuk was engaged that Vargas’ position modified,” the report states. “Vargas had no authority and the decision-making was achieved by Nsuk. The de facto state of affairs was that Vargas reported to Nsuk. Vargas didn’t see or approve Nsuk’s time or invoices which had been submitted on to the Finance division for processing and fee.“

Vargas states he was directed by Myles and Nsuk to select up and drop Nsuk off from a home in Gardendale starting round late January or early February 2020. Vargas lives in Decatur and would drive to Birmingham to work, in accordance with the report. He did as instructed and commenced driving Nsuk to and from work every day, the report states.

“Vargas knew that Myles and Nsuk lived collectively within the Gardendale home,” the report states. “He noticed Nsuk’s private automotive, a Mercedes convertible, parked within the storage. He noticed Myles and Nsuk there collectively inside the house.”

Scroggins, in accordance with the report, obtained copies of Tommy Nsuk’s divorce case in opposition to his former spouse in Jefferson County Circuit Court docket in 2020, which contained an deal with for Tommy Nsuk that “matches the deal with that Vargas reported selecting up Nsuk and dropping him off …”

Richardson says the board requested Myles to clarify her relationship with Tommy Nsuk.

In keeping with minutes of the JCCEO board assembly when she was fired: “The Board supplied to present Ms. Myles an opportunity to answer the allegations that had been being made in opposition to her. Ms. Myles said that the contracted employees had been employed with funds from the American Rescue Act briefly which is why they aren’t everlasting staff of the company. She additionally went on the inform the Board that Mr. Nsuk is a long-time household good friend who she let use her deal with to obtain mail every now and then.”

Jackson contract

Among the many contracts reviewed within the report by the attorneys, was one with Rev. Lawrence Jackson, lead pastor at Better Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Middle Level to function a Behavioral (or Well being) Specialist. There’s a discrepancy within the precise contact, which notes a time period starting in July 26, 2021, and ending Could 30, 2021, which is an apparent error. Written subsequent to the latter date by hand is “perhaps 2022″. The speed of $5,000 per 30 days ($50,000 whole), in accordance with the report.

Pay data point out Jackson was paid $2,500 on September 20, 2021, and $2,500 on September 24, 2021, the report states.

In the summertime of 2021, JCCEO leased house at Better Grace for a Head Begin program on the charge of $10,000 per 30 days, the report states.

Jackson was assigned duties at Nice Grace church and the Craig Pouncey Head Begin facilities, in accordance with the report. Administrators of the Pouncey and Better Grace Head Begin facilities each reported in early October that Jackson had not achieved any work on the facilities, in accordance with the report.

In a phone name with AL.com, Jackson supplied additional clarification of the 2 contracts, and vehemently defended his position.

On November 20, 2020, a fireplace destroyed Better Grace’s authentic constructing in Centerpoint. 5 months later, it moved into a brand new dwelling in a constructing bought from First Baptist Church of Middle Level. “We had been simply blessed to get it,” Jackson stated. “They stated, ‘We would like you to have a pleasant place. We’re shifting out as a result of we’re older.’ The church is simply an enormous place, far more than we will think about, however God allow us to get it.”

Jackson says Myles contacted him quickly thereafter and stated JCCEO was in search of a spot on the East aspect to put a Head Begin facility. “I stated, ‘Certain, we received a complete aspect we don’t use.’” He says the company introduced a contingent to the power, then supplied the 12-month contract to lease the power. “What pastor on this planet wouldn’t wish to do a contract for $120,000 a yr and you bought the house to do it?” Jackson stated. “Any pastor can be a idiot to not do it. Not solely wouldn’t it profit the church, it might profit [JCCEO] .”

Jackson stated the church was paid once–$30,000 for July, August, September, however nothing since.

Relating to his private impartial contractor settlement, Jackson says he has a Masters’ diploma in social work from Alabama A&M, so he approached Myles about any alternatives to make the most of these providers with the company. “I’m a go-getter,” he stated. “At all times have been.”

He stated Myles knowledgeable him a Behavioral Specialist place was obtainable. He says he despatched a resume and was instructed he can be assigned to the Better Grace and Pouncey websites, beginning in August. “Up to now, no person from JCCEO gave me any tips,” he stated. “Go Monday, Tuesday‚ and Wednesday. I’m pondering, ‘When can I’m going?’”

Jackson stated the position of a Behavioral Specialist is to answer inquiries when a baby shows behaviors points, “or a baby is out to regulate,” he stated. “You then would go see by the kid, do an intervention, no matter is important to transient the guardian, write up in evaluation, all that comfy. No downside. I’ve achieved that.”

Jackson stated no work was achieved at Better Grace as a result of the power by no means opened. “There aren’t any youngsters, so there’s no want for me as a habits specialist,” he stated. “That’s the one purpose why I haven’t gone.”

Pouncey returned to in-person faculty on September 21. “Usually, you don’t go there within the first or second week since you presume everybody’s on their greatest habits,” he stated.

In mid-October, Jackson stated he went to Pouncey and launched himself to lecturers and college students. “They had been just about all okay,” he stated. “Possibly one or two youngsters cursing. I talked to them. That’s my first preliminary evaluation. Since then, I’ve had no calls. My second evaluation will likely be most likely later within the yr. I received no calls.

“They’ve had a behavioral specialist earlier than, they usually solely went twice a yr to do assessments–unless they had been known as for particular incidences. Why did the principles change for me? How can they gauge what any individual ain’t doing when you don’t have any college students at one place and the opposite place simply began again on September twenty first How will you gauge what anybody was doing in a month and make it seem like this man ain’t doing full due and I’m in a fraudulent contract?

Lastly, Jackson stated he despatched a letter to each board member asking for a possibility to handle them in regards to the agreements. He stated he obtained no response.

Jackson additionally stated he was not contacted by lawyer Scroggins, who ready the report.

“Thank God, [my members] they know me,” he stated. “They know my coronary heart, in order that they known as me and stated, ‘Pastor, we all know higher.’ I ain’t excellent however, man, however I like my neighborhood and if I didn’t assume I used to be certified for this job, [Myles] couldn’t have made me take it.”

Ortiz contract

One other terminated contract belonged to Bilingual Particular Michelle Ortiz, who was assigned to the Pageant Head Begin heart. Her charge was $15.18 per hour, beginning on August 2, 2021, by Could 30, 2022, the report states. Ortiz was designated in payroll as a “new rent” on August 23, 2021, and was paid $1,200 biweekly, in accordance with the report. That quantity interprets to $15/hr. “[This] is inconsistent with the speed laid out in her contract,” it states within the report.

“The ADP data mirror Ortiz is just not utilizing the Time and Attendance system and doesn’t have any taxes deducted from her compensation, which might point out JCCEO has her categorized as an impartial contractor,” the report states.

The report additionally notes Ortiz was assigned an company car “for her use despite the fact that her contract states she is to offer her personal transportation.” Neither of JCCEO’s two different bilingual specialists had an company car, in accordance with the report.

Massa contract

In March 2020, 4 months after being employed, Myles terminated Chief Monetary Officer Richard Wells. Successor Jaqueline Hill was employed on November 16, 2020, then terminated on February 17, 2021, in accordance with the report.

JCCEO introduced on Ann Massa as an “impartial contractor interim CFO by Mississippi Early”, in accordance with the report. (ME offers “fiscal, program administration coaching and technical help to entities nationwide) She started work “roughly July to August 2020, after Myles had terminated many of the staff Within the Finance Division.”

That ME contract states Massa is “key personnel,” in accordance with the report. But, though a pay charge for her was not mirrored in JCCEO’s payroll system, she was paid $79,800 between Aug. 19 and Sept. 24, 2021, in accordance with the report.

Massa’s contract was amongst these terminated on November 1.

Keenan Nsuk contract

Keenan Nsuk, son of Tommy Nsuk, was contracted to function a custodian between September 1, 2021, to December 30, 2021, at a charge of $16 per hour for 40 hours, “making it a full-time engagement,” the report states, though the contract required submitted invoices.

The report additionally states there was “no staffing requisition for a brand new custodian place, which is the customary course of”.

On August 9, 2021, Nsuk was entered into the JCCEO’s payroll system at a charge of $15 per hour, the report famous, completely different from the contract charge. On September 10, 2021, he was paid $1,560, although it was voided and changed with a $1,859.34 fee, the report states. “That quantity would mirror 123.96 hours labored over the two-week pay interval or 61.9 hours per week.

Nsuk’s contract was amongst these terminated on November 1.

The report concludes that Keenan Nsuk, one other custodian, Derrick Bryant (he was discovered to be working with out a contract), and Ortiz are “misclassified” as impartial contractors.

“All three individuals are paid an hourly charge to carry out full-time work the identical as different JCCEO staff,” Scroggins wrote. “For my part, they don’t cross the IRS’ or Alabama Division of Income’s impartial contractor assessments and thus their misclassification exposes JCCEO to legal responsibility for employment taxes and advantages to those individuals.”

AL.com reached out to Myles, Tommy Nsuk, Ortiz for touch upon the knowledge contained within the report. None have but to supply remark. Ortiz was reached however didn’t wish to remark.

JCCEO monetary woes

A day after discovering out the company had a $2 million deficit, the board was pressured to relinquish a Head Begin grant representing about 90% of JCCEO’s $37 million annual finances. “We didn’t have a lot of a selection,” Richardson. “[Head Start] regional instructed us, ‘Both relinquish it or we’ll take from you, and you’ll by no means have the ability to file for a federal grant ever once more.’ By relinquishing the grant, it provides the chance to return again in 4 to 5 years and re-apply.

Richardson stated packages funded by the grant will proceed, thus avoiding the lack of myriad jobs within the midst of the vacation season. “The providers and amenities will nonetheless be ongoing, and not one of the individuals who obtain these providers will likely be affected by it,” Richardson stated. “However it’ll now not be administered by JCCEO. Will probably be administered by one other third occasion or by Head Begin.”

The edict to the board from Head Begin was precipitated, Richardson stated, by the invention of a letter written to Head Begin by board member Rev. T.L. Lewis. “He wrote a letter … [asking] them to reinstate [Myles], [saying] that the board erroneously fired the manager director and that 10 members of the board must be eliminated.”

The letter was forwarded by Head Begin to Singellos, who learn it to the board on Monday. Lewis was among the many 10 members in attendance.

After the letter was learn, Richardson moved to take away Lewis from the board for “interfering with a board motion.” The movement was seconded; the vote was six in favor, two in opposition to, with two abstentions.

Lewis has not responded to requests by AL.com to remark about his elimination from the board.

To keep away from extreme cuts and layoffs—not less than momentarily—the company is asking $1.5 million every from Jefferson County and the Metropolis of Birmingham.

Richardson says he has been “in discussions” with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Jefferson County Commissioner Tyson in regards to the lifeline.

This story was up to date 7:36 p.m. Nov. 26, 2021 so as to add Jackson’s response and make clear that Jackson had just one contract with JCCEO, and clarifying the dates of the contract.