Gettin’ Rich off Refugees? or “Are “Non-Profit” Chieftains Raking it In? or the OWH as Booster Journalists by Ivy Harper

June 12, 2013

Uncategorized

OMAHA, NEBRASKA (exclusive) by Ivy Harper

I was doing research on a story about NU’s – most importantly UNO’s – lavishly-paid Vice-Chancellors/Deans + Provosts when shortly thereafter, I read an OWH column of Erin Grace’s on a UNO Vice-Chancellor who “gave away” .003 per cent of his $206,000.00 (two hundred six thousand) dollar Nebraska taxpayer-paid (imho-excessive) salary.

The UNO Vice-Chancellor Ms. Grace chronicled so glowingly is giving away 10 per cent of just the $6,000 he makes on the taxpayer dime over and above his $200,000.00 dollar salary which happens to be $165,000.00 more than the average Nebraska earns, many of whom do not have government-issued state-of-the-art health care, lots of vacation time [have you ever visited UNO in the summer; it can be like a ghost town except for Shakespeare], and other NU-issued “expense” accounts like food, travel, and cars, you know the stuff regular Cornhuskers spend their modest $40,000 dollar salaries on.
 
To put the Vice-Chancellor’s generosity in perspective, I have a couple of Omaha Catholic friends who tithe their entire modest $45,000 dollar salaries; just sayin’ – why not a column on them? 
 
Another coincidence: since early March, I’ve been working on an investigative, enterprise journalism blog-piece about the “privatization” of once-upon-a-time “social/family” services.
 
Four areas that used to be considered “Public Servant”-type jobs – with accompanying modest salaries – have now been “privatized” with accompanying uber-high salaries:
 
1) Education
2) People with Mental//Retardation/Mental Illness
3) Children
4) Elderly
 
These days, “Family Servies” Directors- who formerly had Public Servant-like salaries – stack their “Boards of Directors” and “give” themselves salaries that more closely resemble excessive corporate + Wall-Street-like salaries.
 
In the summer, I investigated York, Nebraska’s Epworth Village and truth be told, I was dismayed at much of what I found. (You can read these articles on my blog: iharperse@wordpress.com – just put in “Epworth Village” in the search line.)
 
In 2013, I decided to focus on Lutheran Family Services where I began to deconstruct their IRS Form 990. Same scenario.
 
Turns out, the couple that runs LFS makes a quarter of a million dollars together; this money mostly comes from the federal government.
 
And just a little while later, I wake up to yet another Erin Grace column on the same subject I’m working on, kinda like the UNO Vice-Chancellor thing.
 
Though while Ms. Grace is focusing on the refugees themselves, I’m trying to figure out how a federally-funded “non-profit” can pay such high salaries at the same time that the LFS Director is married to the LFS Vice-President of Finance, who doubles as the auditor + “handles” all the books.
 
This is an unusual scenario notwithstanding the fact that the LFS Board of Directors approved the arrangement. 
 
I will attach LFS’s mandated-to-the public 2011 IRS Form 990. 
 
Please refer to Part IX, Page 10 where under the category of “Other” – wherein normally a relatively-speaking small figure is inserted – Lutheran Family Services has:
 
Other: $1,990,128.00
 
When I asked Mr. Henrichs – the husband of the head of LJS – to tell me what was included in that nearly $2 million-dollar “Other,” he came up with – approximately – services amounting to around $ 1 million, one-hundred thousand; however, he would have to get back to me to explain the other $900,000.00 (nine hundred thousand) dollars worth of federal monies.
 
What’s also fascinating is that I personally know a boatload of church-going Omahans who – as part of their church work – “sponsor” refugees and spend eons amount of time doing “refugee” services, placement, acclimation etc. for free, as volunteers. So, where’s all that federally-funded money going? Is it – as it should – be “trickling down” to the actual refugees? Or those who do the hard-core work helping then?
 
Have you actually visited some of the decrepit places where some Omaha refugees actually end up?
to be continued.
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