Questions continue about Camp Alexander finances, money policies

Financial matters at Camp Alexander remain under discussion after the board announced the camp was closed until further notice late Friday.

According to the board, unforeseen fiscal issues began coming to light a few weeks ago. Board chair Brian McCracken says the board has declined a request from KVOE News for releasing a financial review compiled by Wright CPA Group partner Janis Meyer, saying that was meant for donors and those associated with the camp only.

McCracken has told KVOE News reimbursement delays through an AmeriCorps grant program set the camp's finances back significantly.

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Former director Damon Leiss has said those delays impacted camp finances to the tune of $10,000 to $20,000 at a time. He also tells KVOE News some other troubling trends were evident this year as well.

{wbty_audio audio_id="5215" audio_title="Leiss: Juggling act"}

McCracken has stated a financial review from Wright CPA Group partner Janis Meyer had nothing out of the ordinary, but not everybody agrees with that position.

AmeriCorps coordinator Sarah Shaw says problems actually started cropping up last fall. She says paid staffer checks were not consistently handed out for an extended period of time.

{wbty_audio audio_id="5217" audio_title="Shaw: Paychecks"}

Sources allege other issues regarding money matters, including multiple raises to Leiss while paid staff checks were on hold -- an allegation Leiss strongly denies -- and what they say is questionable handling of a $6,000 loan originally meant for operating expenses, including a withdrawal from the camp's endowment. Leiss says the loan came about because of the camp's reimbursement issues with AmeriCorps and resulting struggles making payroll. About $30,000 was taken from the endowment, *Leiss says, to cover bounced checks written on the AmeriCorps account by Shaw, and there were lingering questions about payroll taxes. Board minutes say $36,000 was withdrawn, and Shaw says the bounced checks in question were approved.

{wbty_audio audio_id="5216" audio_title="Shaw: AmeriCorps account"}

McCracken says paid staff received raises, although he did not say whether payroll was handed out on schedule. He called the other allegations "part of the blame game." McCracken says the camp opened its books to donors in a show of transparency when the financial issues began developing.

McCracken says Tom Thomas of Agler and Gaeddert is conducting an independent accounting review for donors. Neither Meyer nor Thomas have commented on their respective financial reviews.

McCracken says the camp's bylaws are being rewritten after questions about the board not following guidelines to either have it or a designee approve grants benefiting the camp itself or for activities on the camp property. A vote could come when the board meets at 5:30 pm Monday at the ESU H-PER Building.

Staff is supposed to stay on until Friday to close the camp. People with questions are being told to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stay updated on KVOE, KVOE.com and KVOE social media.

*As of Aug. 5, Leiss has retracted the statement regarding the checks Shaw wrote.

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