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Could John Hope Settlement House Have Kept Federal Funds if Williams Resigned?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Could John Hope Settlement House have had its federal funding saved?

A new document has been unveiled that shows that prior to the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) determining that the John Hope Settlement House -- and Board Chair Representative Anastasia Williams -- to be ineligible from receiving federal funds, that a draft agreement would have allowed for the continuation of funding, if Williams and Board Treasurer Walter Morgan resigned. 

JHSH, Williams, and Morgan were explicitly disqualified from further participation in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for program mismanagement, according to a recent ruling from RIDE on September 29 after finding the "absence of any documentation to establish that the CACFP funds were expended in support of the Program but rather evidence that the monies were spent improperly for non-food program items."

Now, a document entitled "Settlement Agreement and Dismissal Stipulation" from May shows that a deal had been put forth that RIDE would have rescinded its recommendation to the USDA that JHSH be disqualified from federal funding -- contingent upon the resignation of Williams and Morgan.

Read the Draft Document HERE

After outlining its findings, the agreement put forth the following conditions that would have enable JHSH to maintain its funding.

1.           JHSH hereby withdraws, with prejudice, its March 23, 2015 appeal of RIDE’s Notice of Termination and Disqualification;

2.           JHSH hereby represents that as of the date hereof, it has fully complied with all aspects of the Corrective Action Plan as to Serious Deficiencies 1 through 3, above, and has corrected Serious Deficiency 4, above;

3.           Williams and Morgan hereby stipulate and agree to resign as members of the JHSH Board of Directors, effective immediately, and further stipulate and agree that for a period of seven (7) years from the date of this Stipulation and Agreement, neither will serve on any board of directors which maintains, or contracts to maintain, meals under the CACFP; and

4.           RIDE agrees to verify the accuracy of JHSH’s representations in 2, above, as soon as is practicable;

5.           RIDE further agrees that if the accuracy of JHSH’s representations in 2, above, are, in RIDE’s sole and absolute discretion, verified, RIDE will recommend to the USDA that RIDE be permitted to withdraw the Notice of Termination and Disqualification, nunc pro tunc; and

6.           RIDE and JHSH both stipulate and agree that the sanctions sought by RIDE in the Notice of Termination and Disqualification shall, without further action, take effect immediately, without any right of appeal, in the event that:

(a)            RIDE does not, in its sole and absolute discretion, verify the accuracy of JHSH’s representations

Williams did not respond to request for comment on Tuesday as to what happened to that May proposal.


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