Ruthless People

14 Jun

Have you seen this woman?

It has been a while since I posted–mostly due to extremely pressing federal deadlines. But also because I want to, have to, address a local tragedy and just didn’t know where to start. I am, of course, referencing the recent collapse of Family Connections at the hands of their former Executive Director, Louanne Aponte. 

Long story short, lax financial controls; complacent, uneducated board; greedy bitch = $327,000 gone for good + people in need screwed all to hell. 

I have been following this story closely, obsessing a bit. I have a lot of thoughts and have been collecting and sorting them, wanting to address them on this blog, but where to start? It’s a pretty complex situation, one which violated all kinds of basic rules of running a nonprofit agency. Once everything started to be revealed, I mean, it’s just kind of sickening because a lot of what happened could either have been prevented or at least uncovered much earlier before horrendous and irreparable damage had been incurred. 

The blame squarely falls on Aponte–and her husband–certainly. They were incredibly crafty. Clearly she is a very smart and resourceful woman. I just wish she wasn’t inherently evil. All that energy applied in the right way could solve a lot of problems in our community. 

That being said, a lot of people were asleep at the wheel on this. The board is first and foremost responsible. In some cases, I would call their actions and inactions negligent. I am loath to blame staff. They were victims as surely as were the agency’s clients. But I question whether someone noticed something somewhere. Where was their management team or their finance staff on this? 

I have to be clear that I have no connections, personal or professional, to Family Connections. I have never met Aponte or her husband, nor have I met their staff, nor to my knowledge have I ever met a member of their board. I am just an interested community member dissecting this as best I can for my own curiosity. As a board member of a local nonprofit agency, you bet I am doing a post-mortem to learn what I can and protect myself, my board, my agency and my staff. 

Stay tuned for more commentary on this. I can’t guarantee I won’t be pointing fingers, but I will try to do so with good reason and some modicum of compassion for everyone but Aponte and her husband.

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