Sunday, August 17, 2008

ACORN NEWS- Cover UP Continues Whistle Blowers Say!

ACORN Whistle Blowers Multiply, Drummond Pike Buys Off Embezzlement, Rathke takes leave of absence from Tides Foundation

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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So you want to be an ACORN Organizer?

This website is people have worked for ACORN, who may be working for ACORN, and who may want to work for ACORN
What your workday will look like? Well on Saturday you will work at least 4 to 6 hours after having already worked 50 hours for the week. SO if you work 5 hours on the weekend that makes a minimum of 55 hours a week no overtime. Most ACORN staff work at least 60 hours a week when they are lucky. During a campaign somehow 80-90 hours aweek with no overtime is demanded. Your reward? 6 dollars and 50 cents per hour. Sound good? No wait there is more.
10-14 hours aday No complaints
At 25,000 a year that is 8.6 dollars at best and on those weeks you work 12 hours day 7.89 cents Those weeks you work 80 hours? a generous 6.50 cents for your trouble.
Some things your pasty white Head Organizer won't tell you when you start in hopes yo will conform:
1) No you can't leave at any part of your 10 hour day to make sure your kids got to school, check on your grandmother, or any other worthwhile endeavor.
2) They will use office performance as an excuse to not pay you. Sometimes until you quit and fade away.
3) They tell you you have to get two members a day. Actual quota is usually about 50% whatever they say.
4) You can negotiate your first organizing turf. If there aren't any homeowners, in the turf you will probably fail unless you are in a neighborhood that isn't too poor and isn't too rich.
This stinks because most of us do this work to assist directly affected neighborhoods in building power not people with a new Mercedez in the driveway.
5) Your Head Organizer is as stressed out about your performance as you are if not more. Because their state or regional organizer is stressed and the person above them, and etc... ACORN is a top down organization regardless of what they tell you.
6) If you do even a mediocre job your Head Organizer will try to steal you away to another city with tales of how great a head organizer you will be. DON'T DO IT!!!! They will burn you out, You will lose connection to your drive community and you will just make your head organizers job easy by getting to take over your work. More than likely you will hate the community they send you to and not be well trained to manage a staff and you will quit.
More Notes and tips to come.