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Started by Joe Balkis Jan 1, 2012.
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United Way President Terminated Following Compensation Controversy
Audit Excoriates United Way Leadership $1.5 Million Went To Former Chief The longtime head of the local United Way received more than $1.5 million in apparently improper or questionable payments from the organization during his 27year tenure according to a 200page independent investigative audit to be released today The audit more than 7 months in the making gives a scathing review depicting the charity as a place where top managers were permitted to dip into the millions of dollars in public donations with little or no oversight The report names 5 other current or former employees of the United Way of the National Capital Area as having racked up an additional $69500 in expenses lacking adequate documentation in recent years some of it seemingly for personal reasons Oral Suer who retired as the organizations chief executive in 2/1 is the leading figure in the report having tapped into a variety of employee benefits through questionable means a premature pension payment a deferred compensation program and advances on his salary that were never repaid according to the report Suer also made himself a paragon of personal charity by pledging as much as $9000 a year to the local United Way then paid off the pledges by taking extra payments from the charity according to the audit a copy of which was made available to The Washington Post yesterday The investigation by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was recommended last year by an outside ethics panel that examined the charity policies and practices Although management had previously rejected such an audit the organization board at the time overruled that decision and a new board in January expanded the audits scope In their extensive report auditors noted a clear lack of transparency personal accountability and stewardship of donated funds within the organization by its former officers particularly under Suer tenure The audit concludes that many details of the organizations finances are incomplete because Suer and some other former staff members declined to cooperate Boxes of documents are missing too His last day on the job Suer was seen driving away with several station wagon loads of files the report says citing an employee The auditors added that they do not know what the documents contained or where they are The audit also reports an array of financial arrangements involving Suer that were not fully explained Among them: a special exchange account from which he could withdraw money paychecks processed manually and separately from the organizations payroll $100000 in additional payments to him in 86 that had no supporting documentation, and a $3 million loan in 99 from the Combined Federal Campaign that apparently was repaid without interest The report confirms a series of Washington Post articles last year about financial irregularities at the regional United Way one of 1400 affiliates of the United Way of America and shows that the problems were larger in scope than previously reported. Its ugly said William Couper who took over as chairman of the groups 21-member volunteer board of directors in January after the previous board was disbanded during the controversy The auditors have turned over every rock They have been in every closet in the place One of those searches turned up Suers executive calendars with notations such as one for 12/21/87 holding that date for a trip to the races with William Aramony Aramony then president of the United Way of America later was convicted of stealing $1.2 million from United Way In recent months United Way leaders have sought to restore donors trust by trimming their budget and staff overhauling financial controls and bringing in new management The audit commissioned by the local affiliate last year after months of controversy over its fiscal management is the most comprehensive outside look yet at the organization which raises millions of dollars each year and is a critical source of funding for hundreds of local
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