Thursday, September 11, 2008

ACORN in Chaos

“Why are they still negotiating with Wade Rathke? Why are the people on staff who knew about this embezzlement still on the staff?”- Coya Mobley, ACORN Board Member

Two members of ACORN's board just filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the organization, seeking to remove Wade Rathke completely from the organization and to have financial documents related to the organization released.

Apparently, after Rathke left his position as "chief organizer" of the organization, he went to work with ACORN International, which is a separate organization that just happens to share office space with ACORN. Mr. Rathke has allegedly been making a bit of a nuisance of himself, walking into the offices of the organization he left in pieces and attempting to talk to the employees. They've asked him to stop.

“Mr. Rathke stubbornly refuses to do that, so he sort of haunts that office, tries to talk to folks doing their work,” according to Bertha Lewis, the interim chief organizer.

Rathke's huffy response isn't going to win him any friends. “I was with the organization for 38 years, and there are many people I hired and supervised, and I have great relationships with them. I haven’t been involved in supervising them. Are they saying that simply because I breathe, I exist, they have a problem?”

No, stupid. It's because you can't let go. You utterly failed the organization you created, and they have asked you to leave. It's one of the fundamental rules of community organizing. When the community asks you to leave, you find the door. You don't whine, you don't complain, you don't pout. You don't keep dropping in to see how things are doing. You get the hell out. It's time for Wade Rathke to find the door.

ACORN's lack of transparency, and Rathke's inability to honor boundaries, are only going to prolong this disastrous scandal in the public eye. The lawsuit is a reaction to bad behavior. The best way to make this thing go away is to act honorably, openly, and swiftly, and they aren't doing any of that so far.

1 comment:

Reform ACORN said...

A lot of people are disgusted at how a few top managers have ruined ACORN's reputation for helping the poor.

A group is trying to fight back and reform ACORN from the inside! Please consider visiting and joining the fight to make a positive difference.

As importantly, we are fighting to ensure a better working life for hard-working ACORN organizers who have been forgotten by top ACORN execs.

The first step to reforming America is reforming the progressive movement. We can all do a lot of good by first doing a little good.