Thursday, January 18, 2007

You think they'd learn.....

I have set up my Google News to include stories about "Nonprofit Management" "Nonprofits" and "NGO's". Most of the time, I get stories about fund raising events, or building openings, the appointment of board members or the hiring of a key exec.

Other days.....

Today, I started with a story from the New York Times about an ex-official of the American Red Cross being charged with fraud...allegedly about $110,000 over the last five of her 17 years at ARC. There was, of course, the expected disclaimer from the Orange County Exec...“The American Red Cross takes a very aggressive stance against fraud and works closely with law enforcement when criminal activity is discovered.” Since the story is a cautionary tale, I decided to blog about it, but then remembered that if readers who were not signed up for NYT online were to click on the link they would have to register, etc. So, I decided to look for another edition of the story on another paper, and found a link for you.

And, I also found more fraud at the Red Cross--in fact, almost identical to the Orange County event. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Almorogordo, NM office suffered $120,000 fraud from a former manager. Most of this money was intended for Katrina victims. Gads. In this case, the manager admitted the crime and will spend some well-deserved time in jail.

Given the similarities of these two cases...insufficient oversight with donations, obviously inadequate auditing (the fraud in Orange County occurred over FIVE years...), it would seem that the Red Cross has not done what it said it would do---tighten up its financial controls.

So, next disaster, no money for the Red Cross from me, or anyone I can talk out of it. I was burned after 9-11 and after Katrina. No more.

I wonder what tomorrow's news will bring.

1 comment:

Kathy Podgers said...

Well writen! I did have to chuckle that you just recently found out about the American Red Cross as they really are! Did you know that in the late 1970's they held a meeting and decided not to inform the public, nor most of the medical community about a secret epidemic, the transmission of Non A Non B hepititis (now called HCV) through the blood supplies? They did this because they were afraid that folks would cancel elective surgery and they, the ARC, would loose mony from loss of the sale of blood.

This resulted in the spread of HCV to millions of unsuspecting victims, including women whose only crime was do give birth. In 1981 a study done by Johns Hopkins showed that 1 in 5 of those who recieved blood transfusions resulted in infection with NANB, ie HCV.

Instead of contributing to the ARC, call the Salvation Army. They did a great job in Katrina, and deserve to be supported.