NEIGHBORHOOD CONNECTIONS GRANT - LETTER TO THOMAS O'BRIEN, GRANT COMMITTEE, HUD, FBI AND OTHERS

Submitted by jerleen1 on Mon, 08/17/2009 - 01:02.

 

 

 

JERLEEN JUSTUS

 

 

2334 West 7th Street

Cleveland, Ohio 44113

(216) 621-2509

e-mail: jerleenjustus [at] yahoo [dot] com

 

June 8, 2009

 

 

Thomas O'Brien, Program Director

Neighborhood Connections

1422 Euclid Avenue

Suite 1510

Cleveland, Ohio 44115

In Re: Central Tremont Block Club, Grantee

Neighborhood Beautification Grant

Formal Request for Review

Dear Mr. O'Brien:

I first became a member of the Central Tremont Block Club (CTBC) in August, 2008, and at that time I was apprised of the fact that Neighborhood Connections had given the CTBC as grantee, a grant to initiate a clean up and beautification project with the goal of unifying the neighborhood and making the area safer. This grant application was written by 2008 CTBC Co-Chair Colleen Reali and member Marc Dorsey. I was also made aware of the fact that Tremont West Development Corp. was the fiscal agent which holds in trust current and roll-over grant monies awarded to area block clubs and other community groups by Neighborhood Connections.

On January, 27, 2009, I became one of the newly elected Co-Chairs of the CTBC and in my undertaking to carry out the duties and responsibilities of this position, I was also made aware of the fact that there was approximately $500.00 of unused funds remaining from the 2008 beautification grant still held in trust by Tremont West Development Corp. I was informed that the balance of this money had to be spent by a certain date.

It was brought to my attention on May 20, 2009, via e-mail, by TWDC staff member Kristen Ciofani, that she had assisted in making arrangements for the purchasing of flowers with the remainder of the 2008 grant funds and that this was a courtesy notification. (see enclosed e-mail #1 )

Being one the the responsible parties of the Central Tremont Block Club, my immediate response was to question who had authorized this expendature (see enclosed e-mail #2) as no one had brought this matter to the attention of the block club membership or it's leaders and I further expressed my frustrations at being by-passed as one of the current Co-Chairs of the block club. I was then informed on more than one occasion that the writers of the initial grant, Prosecutor Colleen Reali and Marc Dorsey, had the right to use the left over grant funds without block club membership approval for further beautification of a short portion of one city block in Tremont. This grant money did not belong to Colleen Reali or Marc Dorsey personally, it belonged to the Central Tremont Block Club as the grantee and all of the members had an equal right to participate in the disposition of the funds for it's intended purpose. All those inside the organization (TWDC) not only knew that Colleen Reali no longer lived in the CTBC area or in Tremont but that this was a block club membership matter which could have easily waited until the next meeting date of Tuesday, May 26, 2009, for a proper agenda discussion and disposition by the entire membership.

I raised this question at the TWDC Board meeting on May 21, 2009, which included in attendance, TWDC Executive Director Chris Garland, 1st Vice President Sandra Smith, TWDC (fiscal agent) Treasurer Lynn Murray and TWDC staff member Kristen Ciofani and was told by the Treasurer that any question regarding this matter should be addressed to her.

Therefore, I sent an e-mail requesting copies of sales receipts, dates of purchase, name of individual who authorized the release of these funds, etc. (see enclosed e-mail #3 ) and in turn I received a reply from fiscal agent TWDC Treasurer Lynn Murray (see enclosed e-mail #4) stating that she would be happy to do so but that it would take a couple of weeks. I was again confused since I could not see the fiscal agent's treasurer allowing funds to be expended without first having a receipt and, making a copy should not take the span of two weeks. It was also brought to my attention by several block club members that other supplies were tacked onto the tab of the flower purchases such as steaks for a cook out including libations.

It was soon made apparent as to why the two week waiting period was put into effect. For the first time in more than six months, on May 26, 2009, Colleen Reali attended the block club meeting and in reading from copies of the e-mails, which were not addressed to her, used them to convince the majority of the membership that I was unrightfully asking for her personal information, ( I do have this meeting recorded) which resulted in my unlawful removal as Co-Chair of the Central Tremont Block Club. Colleen Reali abused her power as Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor when in front of thirty eight block club attendees she stated that I had a criminal record (from twenty ago) and that she would be taking legal action as a result of my requesting to review receipts and provide the membership with a report on the 2008 beautification grant. This was a direct intimidation attempt to disuade, humiliate, embarass as well as stop me from further making inquiry into these matters.

Many questions arose when I received several calls with information that the plants in question were the left over unsold pricy flowers from a plant sale held in Lincoln Park on May 16, 2009, by Tremont Gardners which is headed up and ran by Board of Trustees 1st Vice President of the fiscal agent (TWDC) Sandra Smith and for which Colleen Reali is also a member (see enclosed "Inside Tremont" news letter #5). It is clear that positions were used and a plan was devised by co-conspiritors to utilize the Central Tremont Block Club grant money as a means of this organized group's attempt to minimize their loss. It was also brought to my attention by several members of the block club that a considerable portion of the purchased flowers were planted outside Tremont. These tranactions amongst staff members, community organization members, block club members and TWDC board members acting on behalf of the fiscal agent is not only a conflict of interest but opens up a number of avenues for improprities.

At this time, since any attempt on my part to review receipts and validate expendatures has been outflanked, I am asking that you review and/or investigate past, present and future request for grants by anyone connected to or using Tremont West Development Corp. as a fiscal agent as it is interesting that the majority of the grants written were either by former or current TWDC Board members as well as it has been concluded that the same application drafters have gone into other block club areas for the purpose of forming groups and creating community clubs just to apply for and obtain additional grant monies. In researching other grants in which TWDC is the fiscal agent, there are other concerns surrounding grants that are quite disturbing, such as TWDC providing and condoning the use of a minority Trustee/Board member, Marcia Leslie, to be involved in the grant interview process for specific block clubs other than her own when these groups apply for grants to gain a competitive edge of diversity because they had no minority representatives to take part in the interview proceedings. (see enclosed "Inside Tremont" news article #6).

The writers of the grant applications for the camera projects and often assisted by TWDC staff employees and the total sums are more than triple padded giving an illusion of actual matching funds when in reality the staff member is sterring the camera purchases to a friend and the intended use of these cameras is a means to target minority and poor people with criminal records in an effort to cleanse the community of citizens TWDC would like to remove from the neighborhood (referred to by those inside the organization as a "weed and seed" program) in order to make a profit for select developers of high-end housing projects.

Tremont West Development Corp. is a local 501 (c)3 Non-Profit Organization funded with federal tax dollars (HUD) of which in the eyes of many residents the money or our tax dollars are being used to violate our civil rights and force us, the long-time, low-income and minority residents, from our homes especially anyone who is in conflict or opposes the organization. It is apparent to many that what TWDC continues to encourage, with the help of individuals like Colleen Reali a civil servant, needs to be taken seriously and fits the description of the Federal RICO Statutes.

Hence, a copy of this correspondence has been forwarded to Cleveland FBI Special Agent Frank Figliuzzi, the Internal Revenue Service and HUD.

I thank you for your anticipated attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Jerleen Justus

Member Tremont West Development Corp.

JJ

Enclosures

cc:

Grant Selection Committee:

Gloria Aron, Joe Konen

Akilah Ashraff, Laverne McLain,

Reverand Heidi Barham, Reverand Gordon Martin,

Fred Irvon, Emily Miller, Cathy Sabolik,

Millie Caraballo, Michael Hoag,

Benne Christian, J. Scott Muscatello,

Grace Crawford, Twila Norris, Fay Harris,

Joyce Porozynski, Barbara Szaibel,

Francis Hunter, Patrick Shepherd,

Richgina Jeff, Archester Thomas,

Ronn Richards

The Cleveland Foundation

David T. Abbott, Executive Director

Gund Foundation

Christine Link, Executive Director

A.C.L.U. Ohio

Eric Hoddersen, President, CEO

Bobbi Reichtell, Sr. Vice President

Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

Linda Warren, President

Village Capital Corp.

Councilman Joe Cimperman, Ward 13

Daryl P. Rush, Director

Dept. Community Development

City of Cleveland

Chris Garland, Executive Director

Lynn Murray, Treasurer

Tremont West Development Corp.

Jason Beudert, Co-Chair

Central Tremont Block Club

Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge

Cleveland Federal Bureau of Investigation

Region 5 - Office of Inspector General (HUD)

IRS - EO Non-Profit

Dallas, Texas

Peter Krouse, Plain Dealer

Carl Monday, WOIO

Tom Meyer, WKYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

( categories: )