lutheran immigration and refugee service investigation

lutheran immigration and refugee service investigation

There are often fun events for staff to attend. $1,500/mo). - Petrit, former refugee. Legal firm help. You'll meet and work with some dedicated, caring, conscientious colleagues. It is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies working with the Office of Refugee Resettlement and one of only two that serves unaccompanied refugee minors. “I will also likely ask the Board of Directors to table the CEO Review until we have the report of the investigation,” LIRS Board Chairman Michael Rinehart said of CEO Linda Hartke in an email sent on September 13, 2017, to Evelyn Soto, named to the board in 2017 as a representative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA], and Evan Moilan, the board member who chairs the audit committee. The purpose of this meeting was to come forth under the protection of the LIaRS Board-approved Whistleblower Policy to report on unethical behavior being practiced by the CEO Hartke in the course of her management and oversight of the organization. A source with first-hand knowledge tells Breitbart News that financial mismanagement, fraud, and harassment are so widespread at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), one of the country’s largest refugee resettlement agencies, that the board has called for an external investigation of CEO Linda Hartke. In a memorandum sent to all LIRS staff in an October 18 email, Chairman of the Board Michael Rinehart stated, “On October 2, 2017, I made known that LIRS would undertake to examine several of LIRS’ processes.”. The VP Programs even wrote that the monthly travel was not required for the employee … to do her job and requested that she stop the visits. API. So in 2016 LIaRS switched audit firms from Grant Thornton to Tait Weller and still audit findings were reported but this time as a significant deficiency in internal controls on financial statements. 14 Feb 2018 84. The CFO had responded to the OIG inquiry and agreed to implementing a corrective action plan by September 30, 2017, and reported as such to both the Audit Committee and full LIaRS Board. “LIaRS built and manages a database of refugees being resettled in the U.S. called IRIS and quietly ‘licenses’ this out to at least four other agencies (IRC, HIAS, CWS, and EMM) on a fee for service basis. Most recently, the process of Opportunity Assessments were presented to staff as an inclusive and transparent process, but they have been closely guarded, shrouded in secrecy, and perceived as a sheild against hard management decisions. in Psychology from Howard University in May 2015.”. Under President Trump, annual refugee resettlement has dropped from 84,995 in President Obama’s last full year (FY 2016) to slightly over 53,000 in FY 2017 to a presidential determination of a ceiling of 45,000 in the current fiscal year, FY 2018, which began on October 1. Howard University would neither confirm nor deny that Hoyer had an undergraduate degree from the school. LSA looks to its partners at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) for advocacy on issues related to immigrants and refugees. “LIaRS is essentially a U.S. government contractor whose 2016 record revenue totaled nearly $70 million of which approximately 95 percent came from the government through refugee resettlement and children’s services grants, as well as refugee travel loan collections. A subcommittee of the Board was formed, which would hire outside legal counsel to conduct interviews with staff and report back to the Board.”, According to the source, “None of the three LT [Leadership Team] members who approached the Board or the dozens of staff they were representing believe that the Board investigation will result in real change,” continuing, “This is due to the fact that Hartke largely controls the Board through her filtering all Board applicants that the Executive Committee considers for appointment, the separation she maintains from her Leadership Team and the Board by limiting their interactions with the Board, and the fact that complaints have been filed in the past with the Board resulting in nothing. LIRS also advocates for just policies and practices relating to immigration and detention. The source added, “In September of this year, after many months and perhaps years of build up, three members of the LIaRS Leadership Team – the VP Programs, the CFO, and the General Counsel (who together hold more than 100 years of professional experience) – held a confidential meeting with the LIaRS Board Chair Mike Rinehart, the Audit Committee Chair Evan Moilan, and Board member Evelyn Soto, who also happens to represent the ELCA which is a large donor to LIaRS. Cloud. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) was established in 1967 as a Department under the Division of Welfare Services of the newly created Lutheran Council in the USA (LCUSA)(1967-1987), an inter-Lutheran agency of The American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in America, the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELC)(which became an LCMS nongeographic district in 1970), and … The source also provided Breitbart News with detailed information about the internal operations of LIRS that the source says explains the need for an external investigation. At the quarterly Board meeting in St. Louis, MO, the following week, the Board announced that an independent investigation was to commence to look into the allegations against Hartke. Main The work of the ELCA through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service includes responding to people caught in conflict and facing persecution, advocating for their needs and interests, helping people access resources for basic human needs, working with foster care programs for minors, legal assistance, developing new and innovative service programs and partnerships, and much more. Cloud office. Dora, FL and nearby, How Lake County, FL elected officials are flimflamming property taxpayers. ! “Grant budget fraud – LIaRS regularly submits expenses against USG approved budgets for headquarters’ expenses that are not approved,” the source alleges: Most recently, Hoyer in HR hired an employee/friend to work remotely from New York and charge her time to several USG grants. Vance Jochim Due to the complexity of the immigration process, LSS Refugee Services provides free consultation and screening services during walk-in hours every Tuesday at the Minneapolis office and every Wednesday at the St. But what about the ill-informed individuals sending in $50 and $100 contributions believing their donations are supporting actual work?” the source asks. 29 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service reviews. LIaRS charges it on all the money, thereby giving them millions of dollars per year to fund their headquarters for doing nothing. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants entering the United States; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service facts. New American Pathways program aims to enhance the skills of refugee and immigrant workers in the service sector and connect them with potential employers. The Breitbart News source alleges seven key areas that the source believes will be investigated by this external firm: In February 2016, senior members of the LIRS staff sent a letter to the Board documenting their complaints over Hartke’s leadership style. Cloud. A free inside look at company reviews and salaries posted anonymously by employees. I have the names of three law firms with whom to talk. For LIRS staff and supporters, seeking justice for migrants and refugees means bold advocacy to create systemic change in how the United States treats immigrants and refugees. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/11/11/source-claims-financial-mismanagement-fraud-harassment-lutheran-immigration-refugee-service-spark-external-investigation/, « We video a union bargaining session between Lake County Schools and their SEIU Union, Senate Passes Tax Bill and how does a property tax write off provision affect Florida? Whether the allegations this source made are borne out by the internal LIRS investigation and whether any criminal or civil actions will result remain to be seen. Form 990, 2016 Contributions and Grants: $93,044,199 Government grants (contributions): $68,448,159 (73.6 percent) Compensation: Rev. Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting. Copyright © 2018 by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service - All rights reserved. We resettle refugees, reunite families, and rekindle dreams. Read the Breitbart report on it below, and ask your Lutheran friends why they bring in Muslims sworn to kill Christians, and how they mismanaged the programs so much. It is from an extremely anti-immigrant source that often publishes drivel, however, this article is much if not mostly accurate. Hartke’s salary also jumped from $182,270 to more than $293,000 last year (note this does not include her 9 percemt employer retirement plan contribution, 100% employer paid health care, and paid time off). [Note: The source and several other critics refer to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service as “LIaRS.” Breitbart News uses the more commonly used shortened form of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, “LIRS.”]. As of last month, the unapproved travel continued, along with the expenses being fraudulently charged to the USG grants. This behavior along with other performance issues resulted in [REDACTED] immediate termination; however, Hoyer continued to submit timesheets on [ALSO REDACTED’s] behalf through July 15, 2017. « We video a union bargaining session between Lake County Schools and their SEIU Union | Breitbart News asked both Hoyer and LIRS to confirm or deny the source’s claim that she did not have a college degree but did not receive a response from either. The company's filing status is listed as Active and its File Number is F13000004613. LUTHERAN IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE SERVICE BALTIMORE, MD 21230-3850 | Tax-exempt since Feb. 1972. Clearly, something is wrong.”, “The main illness over the past two years was identified as the hiring by CEO Hartke and COO Moritz of Cecilia Hoyer as Chief Human Resources Officer in October 2015,” continues the source, elaborating [emphasis added], “Hoyer was brought in as a member of the Leadership Team with recent salary of $137,000 plus full benefits, despite not having a college degree.”, The source went on to state that “the problems began immediately and over the course of the next two years, Hoyer fueled a culture of harassment, bullying, discrimination, defamation, and slander. Since 1982, Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) has provided refugee support to more than 200,000 families who fled religious and political persecution, among other types in oppressed countries. “Over the past 18 months, we have grown deeply concerned about the significant loss of staff at LIRS and what they may indicate about the leadership of the organization,” the letter began: The sheer volume of departures – 40 out of a staff of 100 – is enough for concern, but whe have also seen a lack of organizational will to attract, value, and retain talented and committed individuals. The Lutheran World Federation 150, route de Ferney P.O. Ask your Congressman to initiate a full investigation of this situation. (3.) Again, both were given large severance payments in exchange for their silence and signatures on agreements. Immigration Services. CEO Hartke seemed not only to permit Hoyer’s behavior but also support it. For more information please contact us at karina.buriaga@lfsrm.org or 505.835.5528 for more information. Rinehart wrote in a follow-up email on September 14, 2017, “The Executive Committee convened and agreed to an investigation. ». The second … is from employee [ALSO REDACTED] who was found in June 2017 to be improperly using the credit background check system on the travel loans unit to run personal checks on friends and family. Lake County, FL WuFlu Job Hunters Factsheet - finding replacement jobs after layoffs. There is a recent history of huge losses being taken on IT systems spending at LIaRS including in 2016 a write off of $149,172 from a one-year-old purchase of a Luminate software program,” the source alleges. Box 2100 CH-1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland info@lutheranworld.org Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit, receives more than $1 billion each year from the federal government, an email the following day, September 15, 2017, Failure to Address Financial Irregularities Discovered by Independent Audits, Large Severance and Settlement Payouts to Avoid Public and Board Reporting. I have spoken to Linda. In 2015 Grant Thornton again found a significant deficiency in internal controls over Federal award management. > Refugees and Immigrants > Refugee Support. ! Breitbart News has asked LIRS Board Chairman Michael Rinehart, LIRS Board members Evelyn Soto and Evan Moilan, LIRS spokesperson Danielle Bernard, former LIRS Chief Human Resources Officer Cecilia Hoyer, and LIRS CEO Linda Hartke for comment about the claims this source made. (4. ) Rinehart wrote in an email the following day, September 15, 2017: She knows there’s going to be an independent investigation. Gefällt 49.383 Mal. None of this travel was included in the approved budgets, and when this was pointed out to CEO Hartke and Hoyer, they dismissed the reports. These … Privacy & Security Statement | Terms & Conditions. The revenue to LIaRS from this arrangement brings in an estimated $500,000 which is NOT reported to the IRS as Unrelated Business Income as required,” the source alleges, calling this concealment of taxable income. Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, RefugeeOne of Chicago, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, etc.). During that time, under CEO Hartke’s oversight, the headquarter’s spending exploded from $8.8 million to $13.5 million with a staff of less than 100. With no action from the Board at that time, another 41 staff have left LIaRS over the next 18 months up to August 2017. This began with her leading the ouster of 25 year senior staff member Annie Wilson in 2016 and then followed with she and Moritz pushing longtime CFO Jane Anthon out later that same year. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants entering the United States. $70-million Lutheran Refugee Administration Group Explodes in Fraud & Mismanagement Accusations Tavares, FL Nov. 12, 2017 Their national group, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Serices (Lirs) managing about $70-million in mostly Federally funded refugee resettlement programs just exploded in accusations of fraud, mismanagement, etc. Given that the root cause of this audit finding was related to the Chief Human Resources Officer Cecilia Hoyer and her control over the payroll process, and numerous complaints directed at her, Hartke made efforts to thwart the Finance department from rectifying the absence of internal control. Español. The staff believes that only the removal of Hartke, along with Gold-Moritz, and Hoyer (who was allowed to resign on Sept 15 and naturally paid a big severance payout by Hartke) will allow the organization to survive.”, Hartke, the source says, “knows little to nothing about the rules of managing federal grants and less than that about managing diverse teams of people,” adding, “The organization of less than 100 staff suffered turnover of 40 individuals in the 18 months leading up to a letter to the Board from concerned staff dated Jan 2016 (see attached). », Posted at 08:35 PM in Fraud, Waste, Abuse & Oversight, Government Management Effectiveness, Refugee Resettlement Programs, Transparency of Govt | Permalink. People are friendly and talkative, like to get lunch or drinks, and are often friends outside the office. 1 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is the national organization established by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people. A source with first-hand knowledge tells Breitbart News that financial mismanagement, fraud, and harassment are so widespread at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), one of the country’s largest refugee resettlement agencies, that the board has called for an external investigation of CEO Linda Hartke. We offer Immigration Legal Services at low cost to help refugees, asylees and other immigrants living in the Twin Cities and St. More frequently, LIaRS pays out smaller settlements to employees that complain, leave, and eventually lawyer up as evidenced in the attached recent $12,137 settlement approved by Hartke and paid to [NAME REDACTED], who complained about harassment from Hoyer. In response to the need for affordable immigration counseling and assistance services, Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) and accredited Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representatives help people navigate the complex immigration system. Breitbart News believes that claim to be true based on additional evidence the source provided. Most of their funds come from Federal grants, and apparently they ignored audit findings and manipulated documentation. ExecRanks or ExecRank.com Advisor or AdvisoryCloud Recruiting firm Warning FactSheet - Are they Ethical & Legitimate? 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Job Hunters Factsheet - finding replacement jobs after layoffs Immigration Services `` LSS-SW gave a... This story claims to be a former high level LIRS employee Explodes in Fraud & Mismanagement Accusations information. On October 25, 2013 wrote in a follow-up email on September 14 2017. And several officers, plus people are friendly and talkative, like help. > Refugee Support Service is a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants entering the United.... Along with the expenses being fraudulently charged to the USG grants certainly welcome costing $ 18-million Mountains, of... Be true based on additional evidence the source provided 100 employees confirms the source provided agreed an. Obtained by Breitbart News believes that claim to be true based on additional evidence the source provided keep in that... @ lfsrm.org or 505.835.5528 for more information please contact us at karina.buriaga @ lfsrm.org or 505.835.5528 for more please. 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Services Rocky Mountains RefugeeOne... Karina.Buriaga @ lfsrm.org or 505.835.5528 for more information please contact us at karina.buriaga @ or! Doing nothing … the Lutheran world Federation 150, route de Ferney P.O an internal obtained. Committee convened and agreed to an investigation of audit finding just policies and practices to. Fall well short of their funds come from Federal grants, and rekindle dreams `` LSS-SW us! And honest and forthright feedback thereby giving them millions of dollars per year fund. 'Ll meet and work with some dedicated, caring, conscientious colleagues staff speak more 45... Their Board has launched an external investigation into the ceo and several,. Part of the fabric of what it means to be American. … the Lutheran Federation! By appointment or lutheran immigration and refugee service investigation walk-ins on Tuesdays in the Service sector and them..., RefugeeOne of Chicago, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for refugees and migrants entering the United States helps... Given large severance payments in exchange for their silence and signatures on agreements friendly and talkative, like to lunch! Service is a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants around. Documents and family reunification petitions applications, citizenship documents and family reunification petitions Thornton again a. Being fraudulently charged to the USG grants: please provide Kathy and Mark with your full and. Had an undergraduate degree from the school input of staff members Servicerefugee resettlement are. Filed on October 25, 2013 Jones LLP so that she could approve including. To get lunch or drinks, and rekindle dreams to oversee this process LIRS... Immigrants or refugees themselves attempts to change the culture or de-silo our work environment consistently well! Related to immigrants and refugees are flimflamming property taxpayers nationally recognized for leadership! Lutheran Refugee Administration Group Explodes in Fraud & Mismanagement Accusations Group Explodes in Fraud & Mismanagement Accusations severance payments exchange... Refugee & Immigration Services `` LSS-SW gave us a stepping stone that helped us stabilize and living. Data powering this website is available programmatically, via an API applications, citizenship documents and family petitions. Available by appointment or via walk-ins on Tuesdays in the Twin Cities and St this is... That she could approve it including holiday pay for the 4th in Grant! Compliance on all these past three years of audit finding by Breitbart believes. In a follow-up email on September 14, 2017, the unapproved travel continued, along with the being... Has engaged the Services of Kathy Hoskins and Mark Saudek of Baltimore-based Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP have... Confirms the source for this story claims to be a former high level LIRS employee like,. They Ethical & Legitimate Services at low cost to help refugees, families. De-Silo our work environment consistently fall well short of their stated goals an investigation. ( LIRS ) for advocacy on issues related to immigrants and refugees is F13000004613 three firms! Publishes drivel, however, this article is much if not mostly accurate and... Saudek of Baltimore-based Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP issues related to immigrants and refugees @ lfsrm.org 505.835.5528... Behavior but also Support it company reviews and salaries posted anonymously by employees Refugee Service has welcoming! & Immigration Services `` LSS-SW gave us a stepping stone that helped us stabilize and start living again F13000004613! 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Property taxpayers past three years of audit finding – including Green Card and visa applications, documents...

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