Former People Against Rape employees file suit
Three former People Against Rape employees are suing the organization, claiming they never got paid what they were owed after they were laid off.
The lawsuits were filed against PAR and its board members in Charleston County Circuit Court on Nov. 29. The complaints allege that PAR did not properly pay the employees following the discovery of mismanaged funds at the organization, according to court records.
The board’s chairman, Michael Roach, said the agency was saddened by the news. “We have gone to great lengths to keep all of our former employees fully informed about our current financial status (i.e., PAR has no funds with which to pay them) and exactly what we are doing to obtain sufficient funds to pay them what we owe them,” Roach wrote in a statement.
Ruby Godley, Amanda Horne and Jametta King were laid off in the midst of a storm of troubles for PAR after two state agencies stripped its grant funding when board members reported financial irregularities at PAR. All three women were not properly paid what they were owed within 48 hours of being let go, their attorney Michael Whitsitt said.
He said the former employees want what they are entitled to.
“Nothing to punish them,” he said. “It’s not in their heart to do that. We’d like to see PAR succeed as an organization.”
The suit alleges that PAR did not put financial safeguards in place in order to maintain the funds to pay its workers.
In February, PAR leaders discovered that $60,000 to $80,000 in rent and tax bills had never been paid but had still been submitted for reimbursement to the state agencies.
After the discovery, the state pulled $300,000 in grant money from PAR and said the funds would not be reinstated until a full audit is completed. That audit is still under way.
Board members blame a former employee for the financial irregularities.
North Charleston police are also investigating the missing money. They could not be reached for comment Friday on the status of the investigation.
The board laid off at least 13 of its employees after its funding was pulled. The organization continues to provide services and responses to the crisis hotline. PAR intends to pay the employees and honor their debts, as soon as funds are available, Roach said.