Townspeople director accused of mishandling grantsAround the City Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Tom McSorley, former resource development director at Townspeople, a local nonprofit organization aimed at providing housing for San Diego’s most vulnerable families and individuals, is blowing the whistle on what he believes is fraud at the organization.
A Web site McSorley has published, jonpderryberry.com, purports to document $200 to $300,000 of funds Derryberry is allegedly responsible for fraudulently allocating to unintended purposes. It is important to note that McSorley does not accuse Derryberry of embezzlement.
McSorley has also sent a letter to David Estrella, director of housing and community development/ HOPWA, detailing the circumstances of his allegations. Among those allegations are charges that Derryberry failed to hire people to fill positions Townspeople received tens of thousands of dollars to create and fill.
Estrella had no comment at this time.
Neither Jon Derryberry nor any other Townspeople official responded to repeated attempts to obtain a response to McSorley’s charges.
The group’s Web site says it will help people living with HIV/AIDS, seniors, those with special needs as well as people in need of emergency shelter. Townspeople also offers education about accessing food stamps, pantries, farmers markets and better nutrition.
Saying he felt a need to “blow the whistle” after more than a year of working within the organization to “right the wrongs” he says he saw, McSorley said, “I never intended for this to go public. What I wanted was to make sure that people living with HIV/AIDS who lived in our homes or walked in our doors found the service and the support they needed. When I learned that tens of thousands of dollars I had raised to give residents pillows, blankets and basic living supplies were all spent on the boss’ salary, I was beyond distressed.”
McSorley faults no other member of Townspeople’s staff.
“The staff at Townspeople are great,” he told San Diego LGBT Weekly. “They were in fear of speaking out because they did not want to be fired like I was. I don’t fault them for that. I, however, am used to speaking the truth to power … especially when it comes to protecting my brothers and sisters still struggling with HIV/AIDS.”
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