The Miami Herald began looking into the finances of the James E. Scott Community Association last month.
Several JESCA employees phoned the Herald after reading a March 3 Herald article about workers in a JESCA program having forged asbestos-training certificates. They told Herald reporter Joe Starita, who wrote that article, that there were many more problems at JESCA.
One of the employees, assistant fiscal director Elizabeth Jansson, told Starita the social service agency had financial irregularities.
Starita asked her if she could document what she alleged. She said she could.
In the following weeks, Jansson provided Starita with 150 original JESCA checks and payroll records. He photocopied all the checks and returned them to Jansson. She said she then returned all 150 to JESCA. Jansson resigned from JESCA shortly after contacting The Herald. JESCA President Archie Hardwick alleges the checks plus supporting documents were stolen from the agency.
Jansson said she never took supporting documents Hardwick says are missing. "They have everything back, " Jansson said. "If they claim otherwise, they've destroyed it themselves."
She said she decided to come forward with her allegations because she could no longer bear to see the agency's programs suffer. She said she had told Hardwick the government would close JESCA down if it continued failing to pay employee withholding taxes.
Jansson said she could not understand why JESCA's administrators were entitled to such hefty salaries and expenses while other employees earned less than $8,000 a year.
"My intent was not to destroy the agency, " she said. "I just wanted the people out that were destroying it for the people of that community that need the services so badly.
"They're cheating the people out of the services, " she said. "To see them cheated is terrible because their programs are terrific."