_uacct = "UA-2352591-1";urchinTracker(); Head of Foundation Bailed Out Nonprofit Group After Its Funds Were Embezzled New article from NY TImes revelas multiple Whistle Blowers working to shed light on Rathke attempt to avoid the Embezzlement issue: By STEPHANIE STROMPublished: August 16, 2008When the embezzlement of almost $1 million by the brother of the founder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as Acorn, surfaced last month, the organization announced that an anonymous supporter had agreed to make it whole.That supporter was Drummond Pike, the founder and chief executive of the Tides Foundation, which channels money to what it describes as progressive nonprofits, including some Acorn charitable affiliates.Mr. Pike is a friend of Wade Rathke, the founder of Acorn and its leader until the scandal broke, and he agreed to buy the promissory note that required the Rathke family to repay Acorn the money that Mr. Rathke’s brother, Dale, had stolen.Mr. Rathke is a member of the board of the Tides Foundation and other Tides-related organizations.Since 2000, the Tides Foundation has provided more than $400 million to nonprofit groups, with much of that money flowing out of donor-controlled accounts it manages in the same way that the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund or a community foundation does.John A. Powell, board chairman of the Tides Network, the umbrella organization for various Tides affiliates, wrote in an e-mail message to The Times that Tides had no involvement in the matter and that none of its money was used to buy the Rathke family’s debt to Acorn.He said Mr. Rathke was on a leave of absence from all Tides boards.In 2000, Acorn discovered that Dale Rathke had embezzled $948,507.50 from it and affiliated charitable organizations. The management committee that controlled the organization decided not to alert law enforcement officials, and negotiated an agreement with the Rathke family to repay the money.That agreement was carried on the books of an affiliate, Citizens Consulting Inc., as a loan to an officer. Sometime in June, Mr. Pike bought the loan from the affiliate, according to e-mail messages between senior executives at Acorn that were provided to a reporter by Acorn employees, who requested anonymity because they feared losing their jobs.Mr. Pike refused to confirm or deny that he had bought the note. “As a rule, I do not comment on my personal finances,” he wrote in e-mail messages in answer to questions about the deal.But e-mail messages among Acorn’s senior executives discuss how to keep Mr. Pike’s identity secret, even as they acknowledge that some of the foundations and philanthropic advisers that have supported Acorn and its affiliates know that he bought the note.“Does Drummond know the word is out?” Steven Kest, the executive director of Acorn, wrote on July 4. “If not, shouldn’t someone tell him?”In a July 12 e-mail message to Mr. Kest, Acorn’s political director, Zach Pollett, wrote: “I talked to Drummond on this yesterday and had Beth Kingsley” — Acorn’s lawyer — “prepare a ‘keep your yaps shut’ confidentiality memo to people at Acorn and CCI.”Charles D. Jackson, a spokesman for Acorn, said the organization would not comment on the purchaser of the note.Acorn’s board members and senior executives have signed confidentiality pledges that forbid them from disclosing Mr. Pike’s identity or discussing the purchase agreement, according to three Acorn contributors who asked to see the agreement but were told they would have to similarly pledge confidentiality. They declined.But a handful of executives at foundations that have contributed to Acorn and Tides have learned through connections at those organizations that Mr. Pike was the buyer.
A whistle-blower forced Acorn to disclose the embezzlement, which involved the brother of the organization’s founder, Wade Rathke.The brother, Dale Rathke, embezzled nearly $1 million from Acorn and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000, Acorn officials said, but a small group of executives decided to keep the information from almost all of the group’s board members and not to alert law enforcement.Dale Rathke remained on Acorn’s payroll until a month ago, when disclosure of his theft by foundations and other donors forced the organization to dismiss him.“We thought it best at the time to protect the organization, as well as to get the funds back into the organization, to deal with it in-house,” said Maude Hurd, president of Acorn. “It was a judgment call at the time, and looking back, people can agree or disagree with it, but we did what we thought was right.”The amount Dale Rathke embezzled, $948,607.50, was carried as a loan on the books of Citizens Consulting Inc., which provides bookkeeping, accounting and other financial management services to Acorn and many of its affiliated entities.Wade Rathke said the organization had signed a restitution agreement with his brother in which his family agreed to repay the amount embezzled in exchange for confidentiality.Wade Rathke stepped down as Acorn’s chief organizer on June 2, the same day his brother left, but he remains chief organizer for Acorn International L.L.C.He said the decision to keep the matter secret was not made to protect his brother but because word of the embezzlement would have put a “weapon” into the hands of enemies of Acorn, a liberal group that is a frequent target of conservatives who object to its often strident advocacy on behalf of low- and moderate-income families and workers.Wade Rathke said he learned of the problem when an employee of Citizens Consulting alerted him about suspicious credit card transactions.
ACORN Organizers, Former Organizers, Funders, Allies wonder wht the future will be if Wade Rathke is to continue as Chief Organizer of ACORN International.
These are not the first concerns from within ACORN or the left over the questionable management and organizing methods of Wade Rathke former Chief Organizer of ACORN USA.
RATHKE REMAINS ON ACORN STAFF AFTER PRETENSE OF STEPPING DOWN
4 ACORN MINORITY STAFF FILE EEOC DISCRIMINATION CHARGES AGAINST ACORN
ACORN FOUNDER STEPS DOWN AFTER HE COVERS UP THEFT OF 1,000,000 USD BY HIS BROTHER!
Tijuana MEXICO ACORN WORKERS RIPPED SAY THEY WERE TREATED LIKE SWEAT SHOP ORGANIZERS
ACORN COMMUNITY IN COLORADO SPRINGS SAYS THE ORG STILL TAKES MONEY FROM THEIR ACCOUNTS EVEN THOUGH ACORN IS LONG GONE
Unpaid ACORN Workers in Miami Set Fire To Office
On Wade's ongoing role in ACORN:
Now on this Acorn.org website I found this?International OfficesACORN International is building community organizations of low-income families, and partnering with grassroots organizations outside of the United States. ACORN International aims to strengthen democratic movements for social change, as well as build connections between community-based organizations across borders and cultures.ACORN International has offices in Argentina, Canada, Peru, and Mexico, and facilitates the India FDI Watch Campaign. We are establishing direct membership chapters in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Kenya, and Nigeria and are exploring partnerships with established membership-based organizations in Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea.> ACORN Argentina > ACORN Peru > ACORN Dominican Republic > ACORN Canada > ACORN MexicoNow what is that. I searched the site and found that.Now when I go to this site, the offices link? I find thishttp://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=2593Now on this site the US offices, the national, and the international! I don't know if you know it or not but that is pissing alot of people off. Especially since this is linked as well:So Sorry, we aint buyin it. Also why am I able to reach Wade's Chief Organizer page form the ACORN page?Either he is gone or not. If ACORN is a out control freight train that has already left the station. Then USA ACORN will sue them for all resources drained from our members and will demand they change their name!What I hear you saying is that Wade's dream of a Walmart of Organizing is coming true on our sweat and dimes. Whether the members like it or not.Meanwhile people out here who continue to organize with no help from ACORN because we BELIEVE IN COMMUNITY ORGNANIZING are really getting tired of the daggers and razors in our backs.I am doing this because members who were busting their asses and meeting all goals had their office yanked out from under them because there weren't any hot elections coming up. That isn't organizing, Wade thinks it is, IT IS NOT!Wade and ACORN organize where they are preaching to the choir. They aren't in the places where the real fight is. We can build a new organization in this country that respects the individual culture of organizing of each region. ACORN has stomped all over everyone in this country's toes and they shouldn't have stepped on mine. Because I delivered way more than my paycheck and because I am in till the end and I don't give a F&&CK!I will devote the rest of my life to building true organizing, while ACORN farms you guys out as the outsourced migrant workers of whatever flavor of the day they are contracting. I have seen some awfully questionable farming out of ACORN workers and I have the paperwork from it. I haven't broke with everything I have because I would really like to see ACORN take up the cause of:Well we will fill in these blanks soon: