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Former Discredited Head of ProCAP Named Executive Director of John Hope Settlement

Monday, September 01, 2014

 

The former discredited head of Providence Community Action Program (ProCAP) has been named interim Executive Director of John Hope Settlement House.

ProCAP’s former boss Frank Corbishley was forced to resign in 2011 after a multi-month investigation by GoLocalProv. He had served in the role of Executive Director since 1991 when then-Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci named him to the position. During the investigations that found ProCAP to be severely mismanaged, Providence Mayoral candidate Michael Solomon chaired the ProCAP board.

GoLocalProv has learned that in a heated board fight at the South Providence’ John Hope Settlement Board, State Representative and President of the Board Anastasia Williams has forced Executive Director Taino Palermo out and replaced him with Corbishley.

Representative Williams has endorsed Solomon for Mayor of Providence.

In 2011, Corbishley was suspended as Executive Director of ProCAP and stepped down. Corbishley becomes the latest in a quick succession of Executive Directors at John Hope Settlement House in recent past, once one of the most respected not-for-profits in Rhode Island.

ProCAP's Failed Leadership

In November of 2011, GoLocal reported of ProCAP, “More than $500,000 in government funds that were designated for various vendors that work with the city’s top anti-poverty organization were never paid while the organization continued to dole out interest-free loans to select employees, according to a report filed last week by an independent assessor.”

In an email to fellow Board members of John Hope Settlement, Major Robert Kountz called for the Board to replace Representative Williams as head of the Board as President. He wrote, “From 25 years of running not for profits and multiple commands it is my conclusion that the leadership must change and is to take place with our President (Rep Williams). This is not an emotional decision rather a logical one based on several factors.”

Outgoing ED Taino Palermo

"I've tried to deal with this before --- [Palermo] wanted to bring John Hope back to greatness.  He confronted Williams, and she counterattacked, and took him out.  She wouldn't even answer his direct questions," said Sarah LaRosa, a John Hope Settlement House Board member, who spoke with GoLocal in a phone interview.

Corbishley is closely tied to Democratic Mayor Candidate Michael Solomon.  Solomon chaired the ProCap Board and over saw Corbishley’s leadership and a reported $500,000 in missing funds.

Solomon served as head of ProCAP board

Corbishley Gave to His Bosses

Campaign finance reports dating back to 2004 show that Corbishley routinely gave to his bosses. He donated $150 to Angel Taveras in June of 2011 and Taveras returned the donation when the mismanagement came to light. In contrast, Solomon received two donations totaling $275 and according the state records did not return either.  Corbishley also made four donations to then Mayor David Cicilline totaling $490 and there is no record of any of those contributions being returned.

Investigation Found Severe Mismanagement by Corbishley

An audit of ProCAP conducted in 2011 by the Taveras administration found misuse of funds and mingling of accounts.  As GoLocal reported, “Corbishley, who made just shy of $100,000 in 2010, has denied any wrongdoing in the situation. But an assessment conducted by accountant Ken Richardson unveiled a 'series of inconsistencies' with health benefits, educational subsidies, cell phone usage and vehicle usage, on top of the interest-free loans given to some employees."

Richardson noted that $14,741 from Rhode Island Housing, $159,781 from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund and deposits of $111,867 and $388,703 from the Office of Energy Resources (OER) were transferred to other accounts rather than being paid to vendors who work with the programs.

In addition, in December of 2011, GoLocal’s review of payroll and staffing records found that Corbishley had grossly overspent his budget with the approval of the Board and Solomon.

By the time the board of directors for ProCAP unanimously voted to suspend executive director Frank Corbishley indefinitely, the taxpayer-funded nonprofit...under investigation by the federal government had a payroll nearing $2 million, according to records obtained by GoLocalProv.

The average salary for the staff of 58 was $32,832.83, with Corbishley leading the way with a salary of $95,017.48, followed by comptroller William Capron ($80,000) and COO William Bentley ($72,000). Bentley and ProCAP lawyer Kurt Hayes were terminated from their positions on Nov. 25.

Concern about future of John Hope

John Hope was once considered one of the jewel non-profits in Rhode Island. Its board read like a who's who of leading philanthropists and leading Southside leaders. The organization under the long-term leadership of then executive director Tom Whitten received millions in funding from RI Foundation over the years.

"I think a lot of folks liked the direction that [Palermo] was going in -- he was reaching out to the right folks, the South Side Community Land Trust; there were plans to keep the building open until midnight so that kids had a place to go," said LaRosa.  

"I think that building was closed over this long weekend -- and school's already started -- points to a larger issue.  We're supposed to be serving the community, instead my kids were in a hot building with no air conditioning this summer, and they walked to Zuccolo because there was no van to take them.  I stepped up to teach the girls Zumba this summer, because there was nothing for them," said LaRosa.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dan McGowan and Kalena Crafton contributed to the articles written in 2011.

 

Related Slideshow: Solomon Amended Ethics Reports - August 2014

Providence City Council Presient Michael Solomon filed amendments to the following Ethics Commission reports following City Council candidate Michael Long's complaint lodged on August 7, after a GoLocal investigation into Solomon's filings. 

Prev Next

2007

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Amended Item 7 by adding "385 Westminster Street, Providence RI 02903"

* Amended Item 9 by adding "Providence Community Action Program" and 
by adding "Board Member" of "Providence Economic Development Partnership" and "Providence Water Supply Board and Providence Community Action Program"

* Amended Item 11 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC"

* Amended Item 12 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "ongoing loan payments to the Providence Economic Development Partnership"

* Amended Item 16 by changing "Not Applicable" to adding a loan from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC
 

Prev Next

2008

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Amended Item 7 -- "Change Address from 1150 Westminster to 385 Westminster"

* Amended Item 9 by adding "Providence Community Action Program" and 
by adding "Board Member" of "Providence Economic Development Partnership" and "Providence Water Supply Board and Providence Community Action Program"

* Aamended Item 11 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC"

* Amdended Item 12 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "ongoing loan payments to the Providence Economic Development Partnership"

*Amended Item 16 by changing "Not Applicable" to adding a loan from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC.
 

Prev Next

2009

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Amended Item 9 by adding "Providence Community Action Program" and 
by adding "Board Member" of "Providence Economic Development Partnership" and "Providence Water Supply Board and Providence Community Action Program"

*Amended Item 11 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC"

* Amended Item 12 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "ongoing loan payments to the  Providence Economic Development Partnership"
Solomon

* Amended Item 16 by changing "Not Applicable" to adding two loans
one from Washington Trust on a building at 13-15 Montrose St Providence 
one from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC
 

Prev Next

2010

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

*Amended Item 9 by adding "Providence Community Action Program" and 
by adding "Board Member" of "Providence Economic Development Partnership" and "Providence Water Supply Board and Providence Community Action Program"

* Aended Item 11 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC

* Amended Item 12 by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "ongoing loan payments to the  Providence Economic Development Partnership"

* Amended Item 16 by changing "Not Applicable" to adding two loans
one from Washington Trust on a building at 13-15 Montrose St Providence 
one from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC.
 

Prev Next

2011

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Added "Water Supply Board" to Current Positions.  

* Amended Family Executive Positions by adding "Providence Community Action Program" and  by adding "Board Member" of "Providence Economic Development Partnership"

* Amended Last Year Business Ownership Interest by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "continuous loan payments to City of Providence"

* Amended Family Debts by changing "Not Applicable" to adding two loans, one from Washington Trust on a building at 13-15 Montrose St Providence and on one from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC.
 

Prev Next

2012

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Amended Elected Office Candidacies from "Not Applicable" to "Mayor of Providence"

* Amended Family Executive Positions by adding "Providence Community Action Program"

* Amended Last Year Business Ownership Interest by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "continuous loan payments to City of Providence"

* Amended Family Debts by changing "Not Applicable" to adding two loans
one from Washington Trust on a building at 13-15 Montrose St Providence 
one from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC.
 

Prev Next

2013

Changes -- See Full Report HERE

* Amended Elected Office Candidacies from "Not Applicable" to "Mayor of Providence"

* Amended Family Executive Positions by adding "Providence Community Action Program"

* Amended Last Year Business Ownership Interest by adding "New City Conrad, LLC" and "continuous loan payments to City of Providence"

*Amended Family Debts by changing "Not Applicable" to adding two loans
one from Washington Trust on a building at 13-15 Montrose St Providence 
one from the City of Providence to New City Conrad LLC.
 

 
 

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