The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Charles D. Jackson, Communications Director, at 504-994-4669, or communications(at)

Statement from ACORN President Maude Hurd on New York Times Story


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.
  • All
    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
    for improvements.
  • 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."

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. Since 1970, ACORN has grown to more than 350,000 member families, organized in 850 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the U.S. and in cities in Argentina, Peru, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Canada.