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|Town hall meeting set for March 6 to weigh YouthPride's options in face of financial crisis|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|February 14, 2012 17:59|
More than $34,000 behind in rent and with no legal board of directors in place, the viability — as well as legality — of nonprofit YouthPride is being heavily questioned by a group of volunteers seeking ways to either save the organization or ensure its services are absorbed by other agencies should it close.
Two volunteer task forces covering programming and viability met Feb. 8 at CHRIS Kids with the viability task force reporting that the nonprofit agency that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth ages 13-24 is in “imminent” danger of losing its home in a space rented from Inman Park United Methodist Church due to past due rent.
The final task force reports will be released to the community on Feb. 24 and a town hall meeting is scheduled for March 6 at St. Mark United Methodist Church from 7-8:30 p.m.
At the Feb. 8 meeting to present preliminary reports on its findings of YouthPride, including its financial viability and if it can keep its doors open to continue serving LGBT young people, volunteer task force members painted a grim picture of the agency that was founded in 1995.
"We were trying to get to the crux of the issue and figure out what we could do to help save the organization and most importantly, to try to make sure the kids could still get the services they so desperately need," said Charlie Stadtlander, a gay teacher who organized a Jan. 25 meeting of LGBT leaders that led to the formation of the two volunteer task forces.
Patt Cianciullo, a CPA who co-chaired the task force to look at the financial situation of YouthPride, said at the meeting the nonprofit is very close to being evicted from its home on Edgewood Avenue.
On Jan. 27, the law firm of Briskin, Cross & Sanford, representing Inman Park United Methodist Church, delivered a "notice of termination" to YouthPride demanding payment of $34,743.53 in past due rent and including late charges and attorneys' fees. The Jan. 27 letter follows a a "demand for payment and notice of default" notice delivered on Jan. 14 and also a Dec. 7 letter asking for unpaid rent.
YouthPride's Executive Director Terence McPhaul has said YouthPride pays some $50,000 a year to rent space from the church.
The Jan. 27 letter goes on to say that YouthPride's lease is now "terminated" and urges those in the agency to "quit the premises promptly and peacefully of your own accord in order to mitigate further damages."
"It's very serious," Cianciullo said about the eviction notice. "It's imminent."
The attorney representing Inman Park United Methodist Church declined comment for this story by press time on Feb. 14.
Cianciullo also estimated YouthPride's approximate debt, according to documents made available to her by McPhaul, at nearly $74,000. This included $21,9000 in penalties for not filing 990 tax returns to the IRS for 2009 and 2010. She also said there was no proof the agency has paid more than $10,000 in payroll taxes for the third and fourth quarters of 2011.
McPhaul disputed that amount, however, because not all documents were given to the task force. The task force asked for approximately 20 documents but did not receive all, including YouthPride's most recent budget, bank statements for all accounts and YouthPride's attorney's letter, which addresses any contingencies and pending litigation as required during the last financial audit. Also not produced were minutes of board meetings from 2009-2011.
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