Thursday, January 12, 2012

Head Of Chicago Nonprofit Ousted

Robert Wharton, the head of one of the largest nonprofits in Illinois, was ousted from the organization after a series of financial-related scandals.

The Chicago Tribune reported the news today after the announcement from the board of the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) of Cook County.  The move follows a report from The Tribune earlier in the week that Wharton, who was CEO of the organization, had failed to make court-appointed payments to his former secretary, 91-year old Dorothy Hork.

The Cook County public guardian accused Wharton of manipulating Hork, who has dementia, over several years to write him checks for tens of thousands of dollars.  Wharton had agreed in 2011 to repay her $78,000 through a series of monthly installments.  He eventually defaulted on those payments after writing her checks that bounced due to a lack of funds.  He still owes Hork $71,000, which he has since agreed to pay using retirement funds.  Circuit Court Judge Ann Collins-Dole has demanded he pay $17,400 by the end of the month.

Wharton had led CEDA since his appointment in 1997.  The organization helps residents of Cook County with programs such as child and family development, housing, and weatherization.  Abe Thompson, a spokesman for the organization, would not say how the board came to its decision, but it's likely Wharton's recent problems played a big role.

You can read the full story in The Chicago Tribune.

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