Despite the fact many of the 11 have been on the board for three or four years and several tout their financial credentials in their lengthy bios, they said in a statement posted on the Goodwill website Wednesday night that the entire board resigned because of “significant business challenges” and the need to “restructure retail store costs.”
Having wiped their hands clean of the entire affair — closing 16 Goodwill stores, 10 donation centres and two offices and leaving 430 people without jobs, their pay or severance — the board turned the whole mess over to CEO Keiko Nakamura to act both as CEO and her own board, as if they had no fiduciary duty whatsoever to protect Goodwill’s assets. In their statement, they call her a “capable and strong leader” whom they support to find and implement the “long-term solutions needed.”
Let’s not forget that Nakamura came to Goodwill sometime late in 2011 or early 2012 after being forced out the door as the $220,000 CEO of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).
At the time, she refused to acknowledge she’d had any part in the spending abuses revealed in a report from then-auditor general Jeff Griffiths. The report didn’t single her out, but she was part of the TCHC executive team when the abuses took place.
In 2012, after she’d landed at Goodwill, an insider revealed Nakamura had been handed a $320,000 severance from TCHC.
In 2014, as Goodwill’s cash woes continued, Nakamura was handed a 6% pay hike, bringing her salary up to $230,538.
(PR consultant Tim Lai of the Liberal firm Brown & Cohen reported Thursday Nakamura is not collecting her salary at the moment.)
Still, if this is not a shameless example of how those who purport to run the poverty industry treat the downtrodden — with absolute disdain and a complete lack of “goodwill” — I don’t know what is.
I tried for two days to reach every member of the board for comment, most particularly former chairman Michael Eubanks, an LCBO exec. An assistant to Eubanks informed me Thursday that only the PR consultant hired by the board would be speaking.
Board treasurer and corporate lawyer Mark Trachuk accused me of trying to “threaten” him for requesting comment. Former CBCer Jim Curran said his “observation with my questions” on Monday “encouraged” him to make no comment.
“Answers will eventually come,” he said.
To add insult to injury, the entire Goodwill website was wiped clean of all financials, audits, annual reports, agendas, minutes and names of staff and board members — leading one to wonder whether last weekend was spent trying to cover up records of Nakamura’s and the board’s management of the company’s funds.
Alissa Von Bargen, spokesman for Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek, whose ministry gave Goodwill $1.7 million in 2015, said they’ve been in contact with Goodwill and are working with developmentally disabled individuals supported by employment programs they fund to “find alternative supports” for them.
Belinda Bien of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities said they provided $1.99 million to three employment programs in 2015 and are focused on ensuring a “continuity of services” for all clients served by their programs, as well as employment and training supports to “all impacted Goodwill employees.”
And what about Nakamura? She should resign. But she won’t, unless forced out.
Given that no one is running the show at Goodwill but her at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if she votes herself a healthy severance first.
THE GOODWILL BOARD THAT RAN FOR COVER:
- Chairman Michael Eubanks (joined board 2012): Senior vice-president IT with LCBO
- Vice-chairman Michael Levitt (joined 2012): Executive director Humber River Family Health Team
- Treasurer Mark Trachuk (joined 2013): Partner in corporate and securities law with Osler
- Yazdi Bharucha (joined 2012): Chartered accountant (retired). Bio includes a decade as chief financial officer of one of Canada’s most successful real estate investment trusts.
- Jim Curran (joined 2010): Former CBC Metro Morning traffic reporter
- Christine Hart (joined 2010): Lawyer and mediator
- Amy Hosotsuji (joined 2013): Project manager, event planner, facilitator, social change-maker
- Kelly Juhasz: Founder and president of The Knowledge Transfer Company
- Amin Retulla (joined 2013): Chief information officer at Trillium Gift of Life Network
- David Wai: Director of plan design and policy at Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Secretariat
- Alex Kjorven: Head of the applied innovation practice at Purpose Capital.
* Excerpt of message from Joan and Keiko in 2012 Goodwill annual report: “Another key focus last year was ensuring that we continued to move Goodwill down the road to financial sustainability, and we are happy to report that we have made great strides during this year.”
* Junket attended by Keiko, Joan and Dennis Green in Miami in June 2012: Social Enterprise in Action. Junket activities available to attendees included everglades and airboat ride, South Beach overview, Miami Night beach party, tour of Vizcaya Mansions, full-day excursion to Key West, golf at the Miami Beach Golf Club.
* Total revenues in 2014: $28 million
* Total expenditures: $29.2 million (includes $17.3 million in salaries and $8.1 million in rent).
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