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Courts and Crime

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
Federal investigators are looking into the Council of Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland

Kevin Niedermier
Long time president and CEO of the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland, Jacqueline Middleton, resigned this week amid a financial investigation.
Courtesy of CEOGC
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The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland is looking for a new CEO. The head of the nonprofit anti-poverty agency, Jacqueline Middleton, resigned Monday in the wake of a federal probe into possible financial wrongdoing. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on the investigation and potential fallout.

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Last September, the U.S. Attorney’s office began investigating more than $300,000 in checks written to Middleton and former employee Robert Moman, who sometimes does consulting work for the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Middleton has told the agency’s board president, George Forbes that she accepted payments from Moman outside the scope of her work at the agency. Forbes then asked her to resign.

The agency administers federal, state and local social service agencies such as Head Start and the Home Energy Assistance Program. Stuart Mendel is assistant dean of Cleveland State University’s College of Urban Affairs, and runs the Center for Non-Profit Policy and Practice. He says even hints of questionable financial dealings at a non-profit agency can hurt fundraising there and at other agencies as well.

“If the answers aren’t quick and forthcoming and understandable, people start to doubt the organization and that makes it harder to raise money. And if you think about what fundraising is, it’s about persuading someone to give you money based on nothing more than your word.”

Mendel points to the years of work it’s taken to rebuild trust after financial scandals at the national headquarters of the United Way and the American Red Cross. Forbes told the Plain Dealer an independent search committee will be formed to look for Middleton’s replacement.                                                



Listener Comments:

That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

Posted by: Anonymous on April 9, 2014 5:04AM
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