A Washington nonprofit that provided transitional housing and support to LGBT youth is under investigation over alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine — a Democrat and harsh critic of former President Donald Trump — announced Monday that he would file a motion for a restraining order that would freeze Casa Ruby’s bank and Paypal accounts to prevent the organization’s founder, Ruby Corado, from making withdrawals.
Racine accused the organization of having “clear patterns of mismanagement,” “poor oversight of programs & finances” and “improper use of District grants & charitable donations.”
“Their Executive Director, Ruby Corado, appears to have fled the country, withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars of nonprofit funds, and has failed to pay employees and vendors money they are rightfully owed,” he said in a Monday post on Twitter.
Their Executive Director, Ruby Corado, appears to have fled the country, withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars of nonprofit funds, and has failed to pay employees and vendors money they are rightfully owed.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) August 1, 2022
Casa Ruby was founded in 2012 by Corado — a transgender immigrant from El Salvador — as a volunteer project that soon expanded to an organization with around 100 employees on its payroll and branches in several parts of the nation’s capital, The Washington Post reported July 17.
The organization soon expanded to create a program for housing LGBT asylum seekers in the U.S., according to the report.
Federal tax filings the Post accessed showed that Corado made $31,895. By 2020, that number ballooned up to $260,000, the report said.
DC’s attorney general has asked the Superior Court to freeze Casa Ruby’s bank accounts to prevent Ruby Corado from withdrawing money. Lots of details here:https://t.co/82TcI3ZOMM
— Casey Parks (@caseyparks) August 1, 2022
Much of the increase in Casa Ruby’s revenue came from roughly two dozen grants the D.C. Department of Human Services has given the organization since 2015, along with funds from the mayor’s office, according to the Post.
Examples of such grants, the outlet reported, were three grants the department gave Casa Ruby in 2021 for transitional housing and a low-barrier shelter. The grants, according to the Post, added up to approximately $1.7 million.
According to WUSA-TV in Washington, Corado — a man who identifies as a woman — allegedly withdrew “tens of thousands of dollars” from the organization’s M&T Bank accounts and misused over $60,000 of the organization’s funds to pay for his personal credit card bills.
He also used other funds to pay for travel expenses to and in El Salvador and for food, WUSA reported.
Casa Ruby faces three lawsuits from landlords who said the nonprofit did not pay over $1 million in back rent, the report said.
According to WUSA, the organization’s employees have not received their payments since May.
“Although Corado told the District Department of Human Services that the Casa Ruby Board authorized the use of $500,000 in Casa Ruby’s funds to establish youth housing in El Salvador, no Board minutes or any other documentation indicate the Board approved this expense, nor would Casa Ruby’s stated charitable purpose, as articulated in its articles of incorporation, have supported that use,” Racine’s motion said.
According to the Advocate, the D.C. DHS did not renew a grant of $839,460 to the organization last fall to operate a low-barrier shelter. After the shelter closed down, Corado resigned.
“It’s deserted,” Kisha Allure, an employee who worked for Casa Ruby for 10 years, told the Post.
“We took in vulnerable individuals 24 hours a day when nobody wanted them,” Allure said. “We had programs for people to literally build their lives back up. We had trans women who were D.C. natives, trans women of color, and we kept them in a safe space as the mission told us to do. The full respite care center for trans people.”
As of July 15, employees reported lacking “office supplies, internet or air conditioning,” according to the Post.
“The transitional houses have been vacated, and programs designed to help immigrants and victims of crimes have been suspended,” the outlet reported.
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