SoNoCC issues response to allegations of misdeeds

NORWALK, Conn. – The deputy director of the South Norwalk Community Center (SoNoCC) issued a written response Wednesday night to allegations of “illegal activities” at the center made Tuesday by two District B Common Council members.

“It is regrettable that certain elected officials have launched a malicious attack campaign against SoNoCC,” wrote SoNoCC’s Pat Ferrandino in his response. “We applaud those who recognize the political motivation behind such attacks.”

Council members Faye Bowman and Travis Simms, both District B Democrats, made the unsubstantiated allegations at the Council meeting prior to the Council’s vote to approve a package of Community Development Block Grants, including $100,000 for renovations at SoNoCC. The package did not include funds requested by Simms to start a boxing program through the Travis Simms Foundation.

Simms and Bowman, a Travis Simms Foundation board member, said the alleged irregularities at SoNoCC were comparable to those at Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON), which is said to be headed into Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week. NEON’s list of woes included misuse of federal and state grant money, failure to pay bills and failure to provide contracted services, in addition to issuing payroll checks with no money in the bank to cover them.

Simms and Bowman did not provide any documentation to back up their claims. Simms told NancyOnNorwalk later he would provide documentation to back up the claims.

In his response, Ferrandino said SoNoCC would shortly make public its financial records, including an independent audit, bylaws and and federal and state filing documents.

Ferrandino’s full response:

“South Norwalk Community Center (SoNoCC) wishes to thank the staff at Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and the City of Norwalk’s Common Council members for their diligent efforts throughout the vetting process and ultimately in awarding Community Development Block Grant funding. The $100,000 grant that has now been approved by the Common Council will be combined with last year’s award of $100,000 and will be applied to the Phase I renovation plans at SoNoCC. This renovation will allow the After The Bell after-school program, in collaboration with Norwalk Public Schools, to commence this fall as scheduled and to the benefit of a number of District 99 elementary school students.

“This coming week our much anticipated website, SoNoCC.org, will be launched. It is our intent to be completely transparent in all of our dealings, and the launching of our website will provide us with a proper tool to provide this transparency. Notice of upcoming events and programming will be listed, as well as official business documents such as our Bylaws, our Board Minutes, Federal and State filing documents and an Audited Financial Statement. With regard to an Audited Financial Statement, although it is not legally required because of our current size, we will have an independent Audit conducted by a Certified Public Accountant to assure all interested parties that SoNoCC is in full compliance with the law.

“It is regrettable that certain elected officials have launched a malicious attack campaign against SoNoCC. We applaud those who recognize the political motivation behind such attacks. We believe that the steps we are taking will alleviate any questions or concerns.”


5 responses to “SoNoCC issues response to allegations of misdeeds”

  1. things that makes you go hmmmmm

    Have an investigation like Neon has to do and let the truth come out. Change the name of the center because there is so much negativity with that name right now. Even with every negative thing happen its Neon fault.

  2. Taxpayer Fatigue

    NEON is defaulting on upwards of $4.6M in debt. That is going to hurt a lot of businesses, employers, and employees of those businesses, who provided goods and services to NEON in good faith that they would get paid. Now they are not. I don’t know much about SonoCC but it is hard to imagine, given their small operations, that if there was any wrong doing in their operations, that it would be comparable in any way to the NEON situation.

  3. Casey Smith

    I’m glad SoNoCommunity Center is willing to allow people to examine their books, but I also want to point out that there really is no such thing as transparency. Person A will ALWAYS accuse Person B of doing a back door deal because something is not done to the specifications that Person A thinks are necessary. I’ve come to realize there is always a conspiracy theorist in the group looking for wheels within wheels. It’s just a fact of life. Unfortunately, you can’t prove what isn’t there. I would imagine that as a non-profit, they have their books audited on a regular basis.
    In the meantime, my best wishes go to SoNoCC in the hopes that they can pick up the pieces and move on, since they were actually part of the collateral damage of the NEON implosion. Let’s not waste time over the smoldering ruins.
    By the way, have the Chapter 7 papers been filed yet?

  4. concerned student

    When an entity files for chapter 7, is it correct all businesses owed can recoupe their losses by claiming the loss on their insurance, or claiming their loss on next year’s tax return?

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