….they fail to mention that reports coming out of their primary contractor, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (in Baltimore) indicate that maybe there is a bit of a problem there with federal audits…..
I meant to get to this news yesterday in advance of the St. Cloud City Council meeting last night where the majority of the council voted down a resolution (vote was 6-1) by one councilman who is seeking a moratorium on resettlement there in order to assess the economic and social impact resettlement by the Lutherans is having on the community. (I didn’t get to it because I don’t know if it affected all of you, but in many places in the country internet services were down.)
I realized this morning after reading the news at the Star-Tribune that anything I said about the facts involving the Lutheran contractor and subcontractor changing St. Cloud wouldn’t matter one bit. Here is the St. Cloud Times version of what happened last night (you can see the text of the resolution here and maybe use it as a model where you live!).
The St. Cloud Times, clearly biased against those who want more transparency with the resettlement plan for the city, posted this factually inaccurate opinion piece from Lutheran Social Service of MN the day before the vote. No surprise that they were helping the Lutheran agency in its quest to forever change St. Cloud and supply local corporations with cheap labor.
Here is what Maureen Warren, a VEEP at LSS-MN told the citizens of St. Cloud:
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota commends the new resolution supporting a just and welcoming community that passed the St. Cloud City Council on Oct. 23.
We applaud the courage and hard work by members of the City Council and others who have shown leadership and commitment to creating a strong and welcoming community for everyone.
We want to take this opportunity to correct misinformation that has surfaced in recent City Council meetings and media reports about our compliance performance in LSS Refugee Services.
On Oct. 23, the St. Cloud Times reported on a different resolution presented by council member Jeff Johnson at the last council meeting that “calls for a city moratorium on the placement of additional refugees through primary resettlement until Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota — one of six nonprofit organizations that helps settle refugees in Minnesota — demonstrates it is in compliance with federal statutes.”
We want the community to know that the LSS refugee resettlement service is subject to regular financial and service audits by the U.S. State Department and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service — and LSS is in full compliance with all federal laws and regulations.
But, how about the reports coming out of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service that they may not be in full compliance with federal grant laws and regulations?
For new readers, LSS-MN does not get refugee cases or cash directly from the federal government, but the refugees are chosen by LIRS, sent to St. Cloud and LSS-MN gets its payment of federal money passed through LIRS. LIRS receives and doles out your money to it subcontractors.
A fish rots from the head down!
Persistent reports coming out of LIRS indicate that the organization is in turmoil—that the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services did audit LIRS and found irregularities in its financial reporting relating to salaries and possible misuse of grant dollars.
We received a copy of a June 30th letter to the Board of Directors at LIRS from the Inspector General at HHS instructing LIRS to make a “corrective action plan” to account for the budget irregularities. Some of those irregularities involve ones relating to salaries of headquarters employees, sources in a position to know tell us.
Apparently that letter and subsequent internal turmoil sent the organization in to a tailspin, employees resigned, but others were given handsome severance packages in order to leave quietly, we hear.
In September the Board of Directors at LIRS announced its own investigation of the top management of the contractor that receives on average 96% of its funding from taxpayers! Here is the text of one e-mail from Board chairman Rev. Michael Rinehart that we received. Clearly whatever is going on, it is very serious. If federal grant mismanagement occurred, at minimum the organization must repay misappropriated dollars?
From: Michael Rinehart
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Executive Committee convened and agreed to an investigation.
I have spoken to Linda.
The investigation team has formed. They will meet next week in St. Louis.
I have the names of three law firms with whom to talk.
Things are moving fast.
Michael Rinehart, Bishop
Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
We are offering an open invitation for a representative of LIRS in Baltimore (or the Board of Directors) to write a guest column for RRW to explain what exactly is going on if the reports I am receiving are in some way inaccurate!
Just a reminder that getting at the truth is our business because LIRS is almost completely funded from the US Treasury (and Congress is doing nothing to watch out for our money!).
Now to the other compliance audits that LSS-MN referenced in its St. Cloud Times piece—the State Department Service audits.
These are audits done on an irregular basis where someone shows up (usually announced!) from the US State Department to assess whether the local subcontractor (LSS-MN) is complying with its contract mostly regarding the care given to refugees.
The compliance reports that are written are kept secret from the public.
I have heard of them being obtained through FOIA requests that the State Department takes years to respond to.
From the recent St. Cloud R & P Abstract:
If LSS-MN is now in “full compliance” surely they wouldn’t object to releasing those compliance reports where they weren’t compliant and explain to the public what they have done to satisfy the federal requirements that they apparently were not following.
And, readers, isn’t it incredible how little scrutiny they get from Washington—monitoring visits FIVE years apart! And, the 2017 visit was from LIRS in Baltimore. The US State Department hasn’t been there since 2012!
I’d like to know if there are even any penalties for not being in FULL compliance!
Just think about it—greedy global corporations changing the demographic makeup of small heartland cities with third world-laborers, aided and abetted by the Lutherans!