Wesley House Responds to Consent Agreement

Meridian, Miss. Wesley House Community Center says an examination of the agency by the Mississippi Secretary of State has been completed, with certain violations of the Mississippi Charities Act Rules identified.

According to a letter signed by board president, Michael D. Vick, a consent agreement was entered Jan. 31. Click the attachment to read the statement released by Wesley House.

The board says Wesley House has "made appropriate
adjustments to bookkeeping procedures to insure that all fiduciary matters are properly managed and reported" and it has adopted recommended policies and procedures to improve oversight of Wesley House.

Newscenter 11 obtained a copy of the consent agreement from the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office and it is attached.

The examination by the Secretary of State's Office found Wesley House had not kept adequate books and records of all of its financial transactions. Among items named were filing 90% of executive director Ginger Grissom's salary as program services and allowing her to charge clothing and other personal items in the amount of $56,000 on the charity's credit card.

Stipulations of the agreement include that Wesley House will no longer allow an officer, director or employee to sign checks payable to themselves, the board will increase its oversight of day-by-day operations, and the board will discuss, approve and document in advance all expenses paid by Wesley House.

The secretary of state said Wesley House cooperated in the examination and the board has developed policies to address the violations.

Wesley House must pay to the Secretary of State's Office $5,600, presumably for the costs of the examination. It was not detailed in the agreement and a spokesperson for the secretary of state said the office would make no comment other than what is contained in the agreement.

If Wesley House fails to comply with the terms of the agreement, the secretary of state may rescind it and initiate legal or administrative proceedings it deems appropriate.