Financial Abuse By Unexpected Predator: Non-Profit Domestic Violence Executives

From L: Mike Sheely, Tiffany Carr of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples), Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring), House Majority Leader Dana Young (R-Tampa).

In June I published a story about Amy Ballon who had been victimized by an employee of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). At Amy’s lowest most vulnerable point of her life, after having been abused by her ex-husband, framed by him and then arrested for it, she sought the help of an Advocate from the FCADV. The Advocate assigned, who is also a Cyber Security Expert named Steven Bradley, engaged in inappropriate sexual relations with Amy.

Amy attempted to speak with the FCADV about what occurred and they blamed her for what happended. The FCADV also did not file a Criminal Complaint, and their investigation failed to retrieve criminal evidence proving potential crimes.

On July 25, The Miami Herald published a story about the FCADV titled ‘That’s … ridiculous.’ Florida domestic violence chief is paid $761,000 a year. Bear in mind that the FCADV declares itself as a nonprofit organization.

After having been made aware of Tiffany’s Carr’s annual salary, the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families spoke on record. He said the FCADV annual salary on their books is listed as $300,000. He is now questioning that there may be a discrepancy between what’s listed and Federal tax documents filed by the FCADV. Mike Carroll has since ordered a full financial audit of funds at the FCASV and how they are dispersed (Miami Herald, 2018). Carroll has said that the outcome of the audit will lead to action that will right the wrong if necessary.

Senator Dennis Baxeley, R-Oscala expressed grave disappointment with regard to fund allocation. He was especially concerned about the people trapped in domestic violence situations and that rather than the funds being used to help those victims with direct service on the front line, they were going to the FCADV Head Honchos(Miami Herald, 2018).

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittee on healthcare with Senator Baxeley expressed she wants to look into whether or not the states funding is being used as its designed to be by the FCADV (Miami Herald, 2018) .

What’s clear is that the FCADV is not using the funds from the state as is intended. As far back as 2012, even Governor Rick Scott once publicly went on record questioning the obscene amount of money that Carr brings home annually. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of Scott’s incredulity (Miami Herald).

The organization’s conflict of interest policy states, “[The coalition] intends to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in all transactions.” Despite that, Carr’s board consists of people that either were or still are in current and former executive directors positions of domestic violence organizations spanning the state.The people mentioned in this catgeory are in charge of programs that primarily receive the largest portions of their budget from the FCADV. Generally, that is referred to as a conflict of interest. Ravicher, a law professor at University of Miami School of Law who focuses on nonprofits, business and social entrepreneurship said that the above scenario violates the FCADV’s own conflict of interest policy (Miami Herald, 2018). It also turns out that Carr’s salary as it’s reported in her taxes, is much higher than peers in the same position at other nonprofit agencies. That includes the ones that are even larger than the FCADV (Miami Herald, 2018).

Beyond that, Carr sold a real estate property she owned to Laurel Lynch, a well established coalition board member and CEO of HOPE Family Services. HOPE Family Services is a Bradenton domestic violence organization which happens to be funded by the coalition. The sale was also notarized by the FCADV’s CFO, Duarte (Miami Herald, 2018). If this is not the epitome of conflict of interest I can’t imagine what would qualify.

For a non-profit organization, Carr has broken the mold as a Chief. She has registered a total of nine for-profit companies over the years. The main link of the companies is that they were all property management companies around the state of Florida. Point of fact, one of those aforementioend companies is still active. Carr also has an active company called “Beacon Hill Advocates LLC,” registered in 2017 (Miami Herald, 2018).

On a WFSU News Podcast that was recorded in 2016, Carr and Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater discussed how domestic abuse relates to finances. Carr stated that finances, and who controls them play a major part in domestic violence cases. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence more than 90 percent of abuse survivors suffered some kind of economic abuse. Essentially, by holding so tightly to the purse strings of the FCADV, Carr is re-victimizing women seeking help and she clearly knows better.

FCADV President Tiffany Carr flanked by CFO Jeff Atwater

Procedurally, after the coalition establishes where the majority of it’s funding will go to local organizations, it has a budget of approximately $8 million of expenses for all of its work, and represents each operating cost. That’s on par with some of the other large-state domestic violence coalition budgets. Of the $8 million, the four top employees of the organizational include Carr and total $1.3 million (Miami Hearld, 2018). That’s not similar, and a highly unusual circumstance for a Non-Profit organization. FCADV’s mission to help at risk domestic abuse victims is clearly not being fufilled on many different levels.

In examining the programs that the FCADV’s funds in nearby counties, they all have smaller budgets for the services they provide yearly than the salary Carr took home in 2016. That in and of itself should be a huge red flag for everyone, setting off multiple alarms.

Local domestic violence programs are often understaffed, lacking in the necessary resources needed to operate. Some types of common shortages are beds and legal advocates. In 2017, 49 staff positions were open and waiting to be filled across nearly half of Florida’s 42 domestic violence centers. The majority of those were critical shelter staff or legal advocate positions. When Florida’s program was examined during their annual census, Florida ending up meeting a greater percentage of requests for aide than other large states like California and Texas. Despite that, 97 requests were turned away because the necessary resources were unavailable( Miami Hearld, 2018).The majority of the requests that were unable to be fufilled were for housing (Miami Herald, 2018).There is an exceedingly small window crack that opens in which to connect with domestic abuse victims once they reach out for help. Once the window is slammed shut, it’s even harder to pry back open. That is the worst part of this whole corruption surfacing, that the domestic abuse victims the most in need of help fell through the cracks, which so easily could have been avoided with proper fund allocation.

The amount of money that Carr and the Board make annually could easily fund every gap listed. Between Amy Ballon’s case and the newly revealed investigation by the Miami Herald, at the very least the FCADV should have to revamp the entire program including policies, salaries, training, and more. They were initially founded and are in theory, in operation to help Domestic Violence victims. To that end, they have failed and there is mounting evidence of the same. At this point, the only help they seem to be giving is to their long term investments and bank accounts.

Simply put — Carr and the board are selfishly taking funds that are meant to serve the vulnerable and at-risk victims of domestic abuse and benefiting personally. How is justice served for domestic violence victims when the four top employees are together earning 1.3 Million annually in a nonprofit agency?

This journalist spoke with Kit Gruelle who has been directly involved in helping clients of Domestic Abuse since 1986. Kit Gruelle currently is a consultant and does training for Domestic Violence negotiators in California, the only program of it’s kind. Kit said “I am broken hearted and really outraged in learning what the annual salary is for Carr.” Further, Gruelle does not want the other agencies around the U.S. to get tainted by the FCADV as she said there is a ton of good work being done.

Kit Gruelle

This journalist also spoke to Alexis Moore who is one of three Risk Management Consultants Worldwide that provides direct support to victims of stalking and cyberstalking. About Carr’s annual salary Alexis said “the advocates themselves, and the staff attorneys need to get paid well too as they are the ones sticking their necks out and risking their lives on a daily basis.”

Alexis Moore

Amy Ballon herself is appalled to learn of Tiffany Carr’s annual salary and it makes what happended to her even more painful and harder for her to reconcile. “What I experienced can’t happen to anyone else; This information makes it even worse. No one should have to endure the long lasting abuse of this magnitude”.

Amy Ballon

If anyone wishes to help with the investigation and leave a comment about how they feel, they should contact the following:

Florida Attorney general at www.myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/E3EB45228E9229DD85257B05006E32EC

Or the Congressional Leader in whatever District they live:

Other ways to help are to sign the DV Reform Petition on Alexis Moore’s Website www.AlexisMoore.com under DV Reform Efforts.

Also, leave comments on Amy Ballon’s Medium account, Facebook page , or Twitter account @amy_ballon and retweet the story this journalist wrote about her to amplify it and give Amy much needed support. One thing is for certain, the FCADV cannot continue operating under these corrupt terms.

Committe Member in Ward 5 PA; Endorsed by by PA ALF-CIO #AutismMom #IAmWriting #LCSW #ResistanceWarrior #ADHD #ClimateActionNow

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