Monroe County auditing local nonprofit for ‘financial mismanagement,’ employee fired

Nonprofit mishandled taxpayer money

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Monroe County had plans to give the Community Resource Collaborative (CRC) more than $7 million for a pilot program. This week, the nonprofit notified the County it had mishandled an unknown amount and fired an employee.

News10NBC’s Haillie Higgins just spoke with County Executive Adam Bello. 

The CRC was the umbrella organization for a pilot program. The CRC was supposed to help the County disperse $7.2 million over the next four years to about 13 other nonprofits providing boots-on-the-ground type support.

They’ve done this sort of thing before, just not with the County.

In this pilot, they were the bank for places like Cameron Ministries, Father Tracy Advocacy Center, and Swan at the Montgomery Neighborhood Center. But many organizations stopped getting paid in January.

County Executive Adam Bello said the CRC notified his team Tuesday night. He’d been told that the nonprofits came to the CRC, saying they were having trouble getting paid. The CRC did an internal investigation, and found itself guilty of “financial mismanagement.” 

And, it fired an employee because of it.

Wednesday, the County paused all funding to the CRC and immediately started auditing them. This pilot program was funded through the county’s ARPA money — or the American Rescue Plan Act. 

In 2021, Monroe County was awarded $144 million in ARPA funding. The $7.2 million earmarked for this was to be spent on groups that help with things like housing assistance, food pantries, access to healthcare, and finding people employment opportunities.

“This is such a broad group of organizations, but really community impact, residents family children and adults alike throughout Monroe County that are going to feel the impact of this,” says Beatriz Lebron, the executive director at Father Tracy Advocacy Center.

“These are tax dollars. These are federal tax dollars that come down to our community. And we have a fiduciary responsibility and I have a responsibility to make sure that when something like this happens, we find out what happened, get to the bottom of what happened, hold those accountable who did this, and make sure we get these organizations back on track,” says Bello.

Bello said the County has been in contact with law enforcement. Hailie asked if that employee could be facing criminal charges, and was told that’s part of what this investigation is for.

They’re hoping the investigation will wrap up in a few weeks.

Once they figure out where their money is, the goal is to get it back in the hands of the nonprofits that earned it, as soon as possible.