Former employee sues Give Us This Day
Lawsuit claims Give Us This Day defrauded former employee and his wife to get $155,000 in loans.
Problems continue to mount for Mary Holden, the former executive director of the troubled Portland foster care provider Give Us This Day.
A former employee and his wife have sued Holden for breach of contract, fraud and abuse of a vulnerable person in connection with $155,000 in loans they gave Holden to keep Give Us This Day and two other charities in operation.
Felix Cabrera La Rosa, 65, and Eva Diaz Palomino claim that when Holden requested the loan, she hid information that she and Give Us This Day were under investigation for allegedly misspending state money allocated for foster kids, according to the complaint.
They have known Mary for years, said James Tschudy, an attorney with Portland law firm Eblen Freed representing the couple. They thought they were helping to further the mission of the charities and like many others were deceived and are trying to recover as best they can.
Holden approached Cabrera and his wife in March 2014 to request an initial loan of $120,000, the complaint indicates.
They were told it was needed to keep the charities going, Tschudy said. Knowing Mary for so long, they didnt ask too many questions. They didnt demand financials.
According to the complaint, Holden told them that the sale of another property on Alberta Street in north Portland was pending and offered to pay the couple back the loan principal, plus 10 percent, when the sale was finalized. In fact, the north Portland property was sold at a tax auction in May 2014. Holden made only three payments on the loan, equaling $30,000, in April, May and June of 2015, the lawsuit states.
Give Us This Day shut down in September under a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice in which Holden also was barred from holding any fiduciary positions in Oregon nonprofits. She refused to sign an agreement that also would have shuttered another nonprofit she controls – Alfred Yaun Child Care Centers, according to the complaint. That same month, she worked with associates to try to establish a for-profit corporation, Trinity of Oregon, based out of a property owned by the Alfred Yaun Child Care Centers. The house on Northeast Rodney Avenue in Portland had previously served as a group home for foster kids placed with Give Us This Day.
That month, Holden also asked Cabrera for another loan of $35,000 to help avoid a tax foreclosure on the Rodney property scheduled for the next day, according to the complaint.
A promissory note between Cabrera and Alfred Yaun Child Care Centers granted power of sale over the Rodney property to Cabrera if the loan was not repaid by Oct. 30, 2016, the lawsuit states.
The second loan went toward paying off about $50,000 in delinquent taxes on the Rodney house, according to the lawsuit.
Cabrera was 65 at the time of the second loan and therefore, is considered a vulnerable adult under Oregon statute, Tschudy said.
The Department of Justice began investigating allegations of child neglect and misuse of funds at Give Us This Day in 2012, according to a report by The Oregonian. The foster care provider is accused of spending $2 million in state money on travel, luxury items and services, paying off debt on Holdens personal home and other items, Willamette Week reported.
Emails released by the Oregon Department of Human Services Dec. 30 show top department officials knew about problems at Give Us This Day as early as 2009. DHS released the emails in response to a public records request by Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is investigating whether the Oregon DHS submitted false or improper claims for payment under a federal grant in connection with Give Us This Day.
By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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