For Immediate Release
Statement from ACORN President Maude Hurd on New York Times Story
WASHINGTON - ACORN National President Maude Hurd released the following statement
in response to the New York Times story, "Lawsuit Adds to Turmoil for
Community Group," on Sept. 10.
"The majority of ACORN's board - over two-thirds - is in full
support of the new management team and measures in place to increase
transparency. The Board majority also voted to ask the attorney to
withdraw this lawsuit, which was not authorized by the Board, nor did
the two members pursing this suit have authority to engage counsel on
behalf of the ACORN board.
After only three months, ACORN leaders expect some internal fallout
from both staff and members. Since this is a democratic organization,
healthy disagreement and debate is welcomed.
The Board has made tremendous strides in moving the organization forward since the revelation of the embezzlement.
- Wade Rathke has resigned and moved from the organization's headquarters in New Orleans.
of the embezzled funds have now been returned. We're working with
Mesirow Financial Consulting to conduct a thorough top-to-bottom review
of our financial procedures and controls, and to provide an overall
assessment of our financial condition, as well as make recommendations
- We've also hired a notable law firm, Sidley
Austin, to investigate any criminal, civil or regulatory legal
exposure. The Sidley Austin firm will advise us on these areas from the
time of the embezzlement, since the embezzlement and any current
exposure the organization may not be aware of.
- We have retained
the Harmon Curran law firm to ensure that we have appropriate board
policies in place, and to review and make recommendations regarding all
of our corporate structures. Harmon Curran has already presented an
interim report, and expects to complete this work by our mid-October
national board meeting.
- We've also hired Bertha Lewis, longtime
executive director of New York ACORN, as our interim chief organizer,
who is working with board, staff, allies and funders to ensure the
restructuring of the organization that will make it stronger.
The ACORN board and staff are united in the view that we now have an
opportunity, unprecedented in the history of our organization, to build
a stronger and more effective organization that represents the hopes
and dreams of our low- and moderate-income membership and constituency."