CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Leaders of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte said Friday they will strive to remain open, despite losing their last major donor and facing recent challenges, including allegations of questionable spending by a recent former board chair.
The center says it recently completed a retreat, including advice from Terry Stone, the executive director of CenterLink, a national association of LGBt community centers.
They’ll continue to move forward with a needs assessment they’re calling “1,000 Conversations.” It will begin on Nov. 10.
Nov 7: Center operated at $42,000 deficit in 2013; Fund says center lacks ‘long-term viability’
Nov. 6: Former center chair’s expenses questioned, group says it might close after losing major grant
Oct. 16: Disagreements surface after LGBT center’s chair removed
Aug. 26: Charlotte LGBT center to drop lease at end of December
See a full archive of past LGBT center reports and updates here…
“This assessment will assist the Center in gathering data about our community and their needs as it relates to a community center,” the group’s press release read.
Completion of the needs assessment, they said, will come before looking for a new physical location. The center is scheduled to give up its space on N. Davidson St. at the end of December.
One space is under consideration, a location in South End.
“Should the Center not be able to make a determination that this is the best space based on the assessment by the end of this year, we will go virtual until we are able to make a decision that best serves our community along with being good stewards with the Center’s funds,” the group said.
The center’s latest public statement comes one day after revelations that former board chair Ranzeno Frazier had several unapproved and questionable expenses from center accounts. Frazier has denied any wrongdoing, despite having already made payments toward the nearly $600 in expenses.
Additionally, the center’s single-largest donor, the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund, announced this week it would not disburse the $16,950 to the center — an amount held back from the center as it attempted to meet several benchmarks to improve finances and sustainability.
Current center chair Jud Gee had said Thursday that he was thinking about stepping down, though he said his decision wasn’t “imminent.” Gee had also said he had a “feeling the center may shutter.”
Friday morning, qnotes reported on the center’s latest federal tax filing, known as a Form 990. It showed the center operated in 2013 with a deficit of more than $42,000.
Unbelievably this newest center problem has really saddened me. I understood the center was in safe hands, but what I heard this past Tuesday night from an undisclosed source stunned the hell out of me. This is the reason I posted the Scoundrel Alert Article on my timeline Thursday morning to try an flush out the truth. Then shortly after, I contacted Scoop Dog to look into it, to see if what I was told was correct.
I can write a book about the centers down falls along with mismanagement, lack of accountability and transparency, but I am only going to highlight the history as I know it in this post.
Eight years ago I moved here from the Greensboro area where I was a board member of the Alternative Resources of the Triad an LGBT organization similar to the LGBT Center of Charlotte. I tried to volunteer to work with the center because of my love for my community and ran into a brick wall called Denise Bumbeck, she was the board chair of the Charlotte center. I spoke with her several times and sent a registered letter along with all of my personal information. After not hearing anything, I found out through some of the center’s board members that Denise never delivered my application and information for board review. I was infuriated because the registered letter was addressed to the board and not her. After she was asked to leave the center, the next board chair John Stotler along with board member Jonathan Hill searched the center for my resume to no avail. This infuriated me more because my information was missing and it was because of a lack of responsibility on Denise Bombecks part.
This set me off, because the center was to be for all, but I felt I was not included. I attended many round table and community meetings that resulted in lie after lie each time. Many others and I would sit there giving up our time trying to work with the center to make it a better place, but our concerns fell on death ears. There was no transparency or accountability; it was a Wild West Show. Then along came Roberta Dunn, I had hopes but it turned out to be the same if not worst. Roberta had no clue how to manage a nonprofit organization. The center started to go downhill worse than before. Next thing I knew we started having community meetings so we could voice our concerns and again they fell on death ears. After a while, the community was feed up over the lies and this resulted in Roberta Dunn and several board members being asked to leave immediately during a hostile meeting in June in 2014.
Personally, I felt somewhat comfortable with the present board but they fell into the web of the past boards downfalls. They have tried to emerge above the history of scandals, but I think it is too little too late because of the damage that was done to the organization over the years. Trying to pick up the pieces of distrust, is just too much for anyone. In my opinion I say to the present board, pack your bags and call it a day, unless you can stand toe to toe with me and prove to me the center can change. But until them y’all need to lock her down.
As a Charlotte native I believe the failure of a community center here is a “community” problem, not a lack of people willing to step forward and donate their time to good causes. We are a transient town thanks to the changing economies. The natives that used to step up were rudely shuffled out the back door in the 80’s and 90’s. There is no gay community in Charlotte. There are many cliques, but no sense of community to be found anywhere.
Get it together CLT – glbt really come on. everyone really needs to honest.
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