Teens Happy Homes

The lead­er­ship of Teens Happy Homes holds a board meet­ing in Septem­ber 2010. They dis­cuss the then-re­cent launch of a fin­an­cial audit by the Los Angeles County Aud­it­or-Con­trol­ler that they ex­pec­ted would ex­pose man­age­ment break­downs and weak fin­an­cial con­trols. More than two years later, no fin­an­cial audit has been com­pleted by the county.

—Gar­rett Ther­olf

RELATED: Agency’s prob­lems go from bad to worse | DOCUMENT: Teens Happy Homes’ memor­andum

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Management weaknesses

Jorge Gutierrez, a management consultant for Teens Happy Homes, warns agency officials that they are “on the path to being closed.” He cites then-recent arrests in the Bell corruption scandal as a cautionary tale for agency officials that shows they might be held personally responsible for problems.

Improper purchase

Gutierrez tells Teens Happy Homes Chief Executive Beautina Robinson that a car improperly purchased with agency funds and placed in her name needs to be transferred to the agency. “Do it now,” he advises, adding she needs to pay for getting the car smogged and re-registered out of her own pocket.

Credit card ineligibility

A Teens Happy Homes consultant advises agency officials that auditors might “harp” on the use of a Robinson’s personal credit card to pay for agency expenses. She notes Robinson’s card was used “because Teens couldn’t qualify for a credit card.”

Impact of child’s death

Gutierrez advises Teens Happy Homes leaders that the closure of another agency had to do more with financial matters than the death of a child in its care. He notes that foster family contractors have “deaths happen all the time” but “they don’t close you down for a death all the time, OK?”

Tip on auditors’ findings

Gutierrez advises agency officials that he has a close friend at the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller who has told him auditors have seen “checks that were being made to people who didn’t work here.” When someone suggests it is “hearsay,” Gutierrez replies “they’re going to prove it…if it’s happening, you guys need to stop it.”

Stipend recommendation

When Gutierrez advises that board members should be getting a stipend, Robinson says the board never voted to provide one. “I don’t want to tell it out but I will,” she said. “… I’ve taken care of the board that needed it personally, myself, and I would prefer the board keep it that way.”

Published: April 28, 2013
Sources: Askari Moyenda, a former employee at Teens
Credits: Story by Garrett Therolf | Photo by Robert Gauthier |Produced by Evan Wagstaff, TimelineSetter

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