Now I’m beginning to wonder if Bigfoot actually exists »« “Defend” does not mean “kill”

What a mess

The SCA has fired Edwina Rogers.

Ms. Rogers said in an interview that she was given no warning and no reason for her termination, but that she suspected she was being blamed for organization funds discovered to be missing and said to be embezzled by two of her subordinates. An internal audit, obtained by The New York Times, found that two employees who handled the Secular Coalition’s finances embezzled $78,805, mostly by using the coalition’s credit cards to pay for restaurant meals, travel and plastic surgery. Ms. Rogers said she had no authority over the finances, but discovered the misuse of funds, reported it to the police, fired the two employees and commissioned the audit with the approval of the board.

The president of the Secular Coalition, Amanda K. Metskas, did not return phone calls, but she confirmed in an email that Ms. Rogers “has never been a suspect in the misdirection of funds at the Secular Coalition for America.” Ms. Metskas would say only that Ms. Rogers had “moved on” for reasons she could not discuss because they were “confidential personnel matters.”

They’re quite clear that Rogers was not involved in the embezzlement, but I have to wonder who these two fresh-faced thieves were…and whether they were hires by Rogers, and also came out of the same entitled Republican background. I was uncomfortable from the moment she was announced, just because there isn’t a lot of cultural overlap between academic/intellectual weirdos and pampered privileged upper class weirdos.

On top of the recent Global Secular Council debacle, the SCA is looking like they’ve taken a long and costly detour here. I hope they can bounce back.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m sure there will be a tide of embezzlement apologists and extreme skepticism about embezzlement, coming down the pike any second now.

  2. sambarge says

    Marcus Ranum @2

    I know you’re joking (or maybe not?) but I’m part of an organization that had an embezzling treasurer take it for over $300,000. There were apologists and extreme skeptics.

    Seriously. When I introduced new procedures to close the loop holes she took our money through, I faced some serious f*cking resistance. It was insane.

  3. Al Dente says

    From the NYT article linked in the OP:

    They said the reasons were far more pedestrian: that she and board members differed over priorities, and that she began projects and raised money for endeavors that competed with member organizations.

    I wonder if the Global Secular Council was one of these projects.

  4. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    They said the reasons were far more pedestrian: that she and board members differed over priorities, and that she began projects and raised money for endeavors that competed with member organizations.

    Gosh, if only someone had considered that might happen and thought to warn them….

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Maybe Rogers will emit a tell-all memoir or interview next (unless SCA gave her a parting bonus to not go down that road). Here’s hoping Maureen Dowd has recovered sufficiently from her Colorado misadventure to help Rogers tell her story.

    From the NY Times piece:

    … she said that during her time heading the coalition, fellow nonbelievers sent her hate mail and made derogatory comments about Republicans and Southerners. She said in an interview that such animus was a “big factor” in her dismissal.

    An interview from which only two words get quoted?

    And yes, as we all knew already, Everything Was Not Her Fault.

  6. says

    … but I have to wonder who these two fresh-faced thieves were…and whether they were hires by Rogers, and also came out of the same entitled Republican background.

    You have to? Well, that’s a ridiculous statement!

  7. biogeo says

    Sili @7:

    Lovely proof that atheists some fraction of people in any organization lack morals, which is why it’s a really good idea not to treat anyone automatically as a moral authority due to some perceived connection between their position in the organization and divine power, and instead hold everyone to the same human standards of accountability, I suppose.

    Hope you don’t mind the slight edit!

  8. says

    There was a Lutheran college that a couple of friends of mine went to which had this sudden, desperate fundraising push, and my friends assured me that it was because one of the higher-up officials had embezzled millions of dollars, and the board of trustees had refused to prosecute because he had publicly announced that “Jesus has forgiven me”. (My friends added that scuttlebutt around the campus was that, in fact, said high-up official had blackmail material against most of the trustees.) In any case, amusing as it was to watch the institution flail around, it must be remembered that the students and alumni basically had to make up all that money — it was bad for everyone involved (except the embezzler, of course). I hope the SCA bounces back soon.

  9. surreptitious says

    I worked for SCA under the previous ED. There is way more to this story, just as there was more to the story than was said publicly when Lori left and especially when Sean left.

    Also, she definitely hired the “fresh faced thieves” because the staff completely turned over right before the last ED left (and then probably again, every time I go to the website, it’s new people I’ve never heard of).

  10. says

    During Ms. Rogers’s tenure, the Secular Coalition expanded its state chapters to 50 from two; began weekly national conference calls to coordinate lobbying strategy; and, mimicking a tactic used by the conservative Christian Coalition, distributed voter guides that tallied candidates’ positions on topics such as science education, nondiscrimination clauses, and using taxpayer funds for religious schools and charities.

    -I’m impressed. Expanding any organization’s state chapters 25-fold in what seems like less than a year surely required vast and commendable effort. I think Rogers has left behind a very mixed legacy, considering her evasiveness to Greta Christina and her apparent hiring of embezzlers.

  11. surreptitious says

    A lot of the groundwork was in place way before she arrived (sort of how the president gets blamed (or praised) for whatever happens his first few years in office when that stuff is usually 80% because of the previous guy). But sure, I think she deserves a lot of credit for pushing it forward as well.

  12. says

    @14, surreptitious:

    I am not involved in any way, even as a spectator, but someone commenting over on Patheos, back when they had an interview with her, said that actually she took over the project when it was already functioning, and then let it die because she wasn’t actually interested in it. They were very angry about it, because they had been interested, and felt that the way the project was permitted to trail off was a failure of SCA.

  13. PaulBC says

    @2 “I’m sure there will be a tide of embezzlement apologists and extreme skepticism about embezzlement, coming down the pike any second now.”

    Well, it might not exactly qualify, but I liked the way the article ended with comments to the effect that before Ms. Rogers, there wouldn’t have been enough money to make it worth embezzling.

  14. M31 says

    The embezzlers used company credit cards to pay for plastic surgery ?

    That is really weird.

  15. says

    Oh the sweet irony when a Republican complains about being fired just the way Republicans say it should be.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s totally not OK to fire employees without propper reasons and due process (other countries have actually laws that prevent this sort of things), but I don’t think that she has grounds to complain about it. Or is it a case of “these laws were never meant to apply to me”?

  16. says

    I was uncomfortable from the moment she was announced, just because there isn’t a lot of cultural overlap between academic/intellectual weirdos and pampered privileged upper class weirdos.

    That’s one way to phrase it, I suppose. I was uncomfortable because she’s a right-wing shithead who used to work for Bush, and is therefore fundamentally incapable of representing me or my values.

  17. Al Dente says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy @19

    I was uncomfortable with her because of her responses to Greta Christina’s interview. She treated us as ignorant naifs and used the Fox News idea that if something is said in an authoritative manner it automatically becomes truth. She was condescending and either ignorant about Republican policies or lying to us. Like many other atheists and secularists, I had sincere doubts about her credibility and integrity.

    I was inclined to give Rogers the benefit of the doubt about being a Republican. She was apparently what used to be called a Rockefeller Republican, interested only in the economic views of the party and not caring about the social and cultural views. However after reading the interview I didn’t understand how someone could be so ignorant of party platforms and explicit endorsement of oppressive policies. It didn’t matter that individuals who vote Republican might not hate gays or want to oppress women. They were voting for lawmakers whose positions are often more extreme than their own, and she shouldn’t pretend the way Republicans legislate isn’t a reality. Many state legislatures are significantly more conservative than the overall population. Their voting is anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-chuch/state separation. An experienced political lobbyist should know this.

  18. Maureen Brian says

    Yeah, Giliell, but we’re Europeans, therefore socialists, therefore spawn of the devil, etc.

    As I understand it in the UK you have to do something pretty desperate to be shown off the premises at once and there still has to be a proper hearing with the terms of your contract respected.

    I suspect that Ms Rogers knows precisely why she has left but is being, er, Republican about it.

  19. MyaR says

    a proper hearing with the terms of your contract respected.

    Hahahaha hahahaha. Ha! Employment contracts! And hearings! Next, you’ll start talking about ‘living wages’ and ‘labor protections’ and other fantastical beasts. (I get angry every time I drive past the building with Nationsl Right To Work emblazoned on its side. Evil fucking, right wing-worshipping assholes.)

    Also, cropping Rogers out of the GSC picture would require removing Shermer, too. Or photoshopping in someone else. Sasquatch? Michelangelo’s David? A medieval saint? An emperor penguin? (NB: because any of those would make Shermer look even more ridiculous.)

  20. samihawkins says

    I don’t pay as much attention as I should to Atheist organizations so I had no clue who Edwina Rodgers was but that Greta Christina interview told me everything I need to know about her. She must have a very low opinion of our intelligence if she thought we’d believe her blatant lies claiming her political party isn’t overwhelmingly anti-gay, anti-choice, and pro-theocracy. Glad to see her gone and hopefully the SCA has learned not to hire people who built their careers supporting a party that opposes rights for LGBT people, women, and non-Christians.

    M31 @17:

    The embezzlers used company credit cards to pay for plastic surgery ?

    That is really weird.

    Makes sense to me. The authorities can repossess a house or a car, but I don’t think they can drag you back to the surgeon and revert you back to how you were before the plastic surgery.

  21. says

    If she’s telling the complete and honest truth about why she was fired, I am somewhat sympathetic to her. Only somewhat, however, since given her work history and attitudes, she had to know exactly what kind of environment she was getting into and she’s the victim of behavior that she has given at least tacit approval to on several occasions.

    A hard lesson to learn; I can only give my sincere wishes that she does learn, since it appears she is someone that has to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  22. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Maureen Brian @ 21

    Pretty much any employment contract would have a clause in it for gross misconduct. This will generally cover theft, fraud, illegal behaviour, misuse of company property, etc.

    The problem is getting the evidence. If an employee does something that involved being marched out of the building in handcuffs* then that’s… one way of starting proceedings. More subtle things like financial fraud takes more time to detect, especially if the people are involved have the power to sign off on their own expenses. You need to do an audit and that takes time.

    * I’ve seen this happen. Stealing company property and selling it on your personal/traceable ebay account is a really stupid thing to do.

  23. dickspringer says

    I loathe the contemporary Republican Party as much as the next guy, but I am not aware of any indication that Edwina Rogers is a “pampered privileged upper class weirdo”. Her views didn’t seem to come from the objective reality that I live in, but we shouldn’t promote stereotypes.

  24. dickspringer says

    I want to address Mr. Dente’s comments. He says: “She was condescending and either ignorant about Republican policies or lying to us. Like many other atheists and secularists, I had sincere doubts about her credibility and integrity.” I share his doubts, but I don’t see condescension, only confusion and efforts at self-justification that were not very convincing. All in all, it was clear that she was a poor choice.

    I am 84 years old and live in an old folks home populated with many upper class New England Wasps. Most of these (I am definitely not one.) were of eastern establishment Republican background, i.e. economically conservative and socially tolerant. A lot now vote Democratic, but the less well informed or indifferent ones stick with their old habits based on traditional family privilege. The SCA could talk with people like these (I do.) but Edwina Rogers is clearly not the person to do it.

  25. says

    Al Dente
    She was apparently what used to be called a Rockefeller Republican, interested only in the economic views of the party and
    This impresses me not at all, for two reasons. First, working for the Republicans definitionally means supporting their agenda of bigotry, no matter how one tries to justify it, and second, their economic ideas are just as foul as their social policies. They’re based on bullshit and serve to aggravate the social problems that Republicans call virtues. Claiming to be ‘fiscally/economically conservative’ translates as ‘fuck the poor, fuck poor minorities extra hard, fuck the environment, fuck foreign poor people even harder that locals, and fuck long-term thinking of any description. What the living hell makes being willing to go along with bigotry to advance a different toxic agenda better than being a bigot who goes along with toxic economic policies to support your bigotry, or someone who’s a true believer in both causes?

  26. Mike Lumish says

    So it comes out that the fundie atheists are a gang of scoundrels just like the their arch enemies that fundie christers.

    Pass the hat boys! That plastic surgery won’t pay for itself.

    What do you expect from a gang of hard line religious lunatics? Merely denying the existence of God does not get you off the hook for this catastrophic moral failing.

  27. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What do you expect from a gang of hard line religious lunatics? Merely denying the existence of God does not get you off the hook for this catastrophic moral failing.

    Yawn, Atheism is not a religion. Prove otherwise, by showing a holy book, hierarchy, church, tithes, priests, etc, that in any way is the same as the RCC and other religions.

  28. says

    PZ and fellow readers,

    I think this is a bigger mess than anyone is willing to acknowledge.

    In one way, you already are aware of (some of) the obvious problems that could hypothetically lie behind these public controversies:

    * The lack of judgement,
    * the desperation to find anyone who can take up your cause,
    * the willingness to overlook a huge philosophical difference toward accomplishing some focused goal.

    Those don’t include the basic precautions, not taken, that most businesses take for granted; chain of custody, accountability, and so forth. These sorts of things come quickly to mind when an organization is crumbling or some personality is shamed. “If only they’d have done X.”

    But, I don’t think any of those things get to the much bigger problem. They don’t get to the problem that everyone is aware of (I think) but don’t want to address.

    We see this over and over and are unable (it seems) to identify the problem for what it is. Lo-and-behold, even “atheists” and “skeptics” seems unable to figure it out, let alone reason through it. And it seems trite, even as I write this, to blame “celebrity”. But the bigger problem absolutely has more to do, I think, with something more like the love of fame — or fame by association. This mode of thinking ends up degrading (or displacing) a lot of really good discourse and problem solving. The love of argument cannot withstand celebrity. The act of searching for solutions begins to disintegrate in the flood of fame. Related to this love of fame and celebrity is the need for philosophical or ideological purity.

    I think I’ve seen as much of this as I care to. I and an Australian moderated the Facebook “RDFRS” forum for two years (my moderating partner — whom I will not mention here by name because I don’t have his explicit assent — moderated for much longer!) We saw many people come and go from the forum and from the Foundation’s leadership. It ended fairly recently the Foundation “imploded”, by my external reckoning. The problem was then and is now fame. Everyone always wanted little more than to talk to Dawkins or to advertise their association — not about the content of his more important explanatory works (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype), but him. And so many people who participated on the forum seemed a lot more interested in advertising their own blog or podcast (or their “memes” of their own “quotes”) than about the ideas they were, ostensibly, interested in.

    I think that these interrelated organizations have shifted into engines of their own fame (if they were anything other than that), so have ceased to be useful for the purpose for which they began.

    I see this “fame” problem in myself, of course. Why else would it bother me so much?! I get all wobbly, for some reason, when I meet someone “famous”. Well, not so much now, but it still happens. Fame is created by the mind of the fan and the mind of the one who becomes famous. It creates or alters the virtual construct of the person you interact with in your mind. It does this to the extent that it makes it more difficult to criticize what you hear from them or assert a reasoned position. It changes your opinion about yourself — an object of your own attention. Fame makes you forget that the ideas that came out of a person’s mind and makes you fetishize the person. The fetish requires protection. The fetish becomes an excuse or pretext or “reason for existence”.

    Then everyone suddenly becomes surprised when money goes missing and personalities are sacked and shamed. “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??”

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Her views didn’t seem to come from the objective reality that I live in, but we shouldn’t promote stereotypes.

    Not getting your ideas from objective reality ought to by itself disqualify someone from serving in a position of trust, particularly in an organization which promotes reason and critical thought.

  30. says

    Then everyone suddenly becomes surprised when money goes missing and personalities are sacked and shamed. “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??”

    Is anyone actually saying this? I suppose people elsewhere might be shocked and expressing this thought, but I do not really see that going on here. Then again, there are regularly posts and comments here that are pretty critical of sceptical and atheist organizations and their famous leaders. I don’t think too many people around here really buy into the idea that the people involved in running such organizations are particularly reasonable, not after the last few years anyway.

    I know I am not terribly surprised, this kind of thing happens all of the time in organizations and I don’t see why sceptical ones should be any different.

  31. says

    Okay, I’ll take you up on that.

    Is anyone actually saying this? I suppose people elsewhere might be shocked and expressing this thought, but I do not really see that going on here….

    I’d like to roll some of that around in my head for a second. Elsewhere and around here. That is one part. And, I do not really see that…here. That’s the other.

    In the first case, we see right in your comment, the very beginning of that sense of exception. Really, is it true that those other folks do that kind of think all the time? And are “we” too smart for that? We could add the logical (and typical) supplement to that: Not only that, but we are the constant brunt of unfair criticism and nonsensical stereotypes!

    Yes, people are actually saying this:

    A reasoned and science-based “procedure” will not help when the problem is something which inherently neutralizes procedure! The “long and costly detour here” is not merely a detour when that fetishizing “detour” feeds its own slide. The mention of “morals” (ironic or not) instantly diverts attention from the very center of the problem and trivializes a possible solution; and invoking the matter of “religion” (all together now: “Atheism is not a religion”) takes away one’s ability to see that the insidious aspects of religion which we hate the most do manage to weasel a way into our thinking, effectively making “Atheism” — or some caricature of it — into a kind of religion of personality!

    Everyone has an opinion and and “angle”, and we cannot avoid talking about what we think about, but, yes people are actually saying this, explicitly and implicitly.

  32. says

    Mike:

    So it comes out that the fundie atheists are a gang of scoundrels just like the their arch enemies that fundie christers.

    • It’s a shame that you think its noteworthy that atheists are human beings who have moral failings.
    • atheists are not some monolithic group of people who all think and act the same way. Nor are religious believers. You do a disservice to both groups.
    • I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have any “arch enemies”. I think religious belief is harmful, and that goes for all religions. My criticisms extend far beyond christianity. Or did you not realize that there are a *lot* of other religions out there?
    • how are you defining fundamentalist?

    Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

    Atheism is not a religion. There’s no doctrine to adhere. Lack of belief in a higher power(s) does not a religion make. Fundamentalist atheist is an oxymoron.

    • fundamentalist beliefs are often harmful. The beliefs of fundie theists and the actions they take often bring harm to others. The same cannot be said about atheists.

  33. says

    Amateur:

    Then everyone suddenly becomes surprised when money goes missing and personalities are sacked and shamed. “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??”

    When you say ‘everyone’, you’re referring to all atheists, no?

    I think you’ve failed to address Travis’ point. When he said:

    Is anyone actually saying this? I suppose people elsewhere might be shocked and expressing this thought, but I do not really see that going on here. Then again, there are regularly posts and comments here that are pretty critical of sceptical and atheist organizations and their famous leaders. I don’t think too many people around here really buy into the idea that the people involved in running such organizations are particularly reasonable, not after the last few years anyway.

    he’s pointing out that while *some* people may be saying “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??”, but not *all* people are saying that. In fact, around here, there aren’t that many people saying that. Hell, you didn’t even point to a specific person saying “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??”.

  34. says

    I’ll disagree with your position, too, Tony, if for no other reason that it may be too convenient and may actually just be a truism.

    So, atheism, that position one takes in response to cult imposition, is not a religion. Well, of course it isn’t. We’ve heard the comparisons. Non-Stamp Collecting is not a hobby. “Bald” is not a hair color. At the base of it, discounting the use of the word as an accusation and political label, the response to the claims about gods and spiritualism is literallyatheism. What is a “movement”, though?

    What do people get out of “movements” that they also get out of “religion” proper? Is there no corollary between that Atheism ™ which clearly has issues with personality worship and ideological purity and religion and cult which clearly has issues with personality (virtual and real) worship and ideological purity?

  35. says

    Amateur:

    The problem was then and is now fame.

    I can see how it would seem that way, but it isn’t, really. All fame does is exacerbate and highlight behaviours, attitudes, and problems that were already present. Fame simply allows for a wider audience, and those who agree with said behaviours, attitudes, and problems will extend a death grip onto said person, in an attempt at rationalization and justification. Short form: same old human shit.

  36. says

    Let me quote myself, type-os and grammatical gaffes included, to reiterate my point:

    A reasoned and science-based “procedure” will not help when the problem is something which inherently neutralizes procedure! The “long and costly detour here” is not merely a detour when that fetishizing “detour” feeds its own slide. The mention of “morals” (ironic or not) instantly diverts attention from the very center of the problem and trivializes a possible solution; and invoking the matter of “religion” (all together now: “Atheism is not a religion”) takes away one’s ability to see that the insidious aspects of religion which we hate the most do manage to weasel a way into our thinking, effectively making “Atheism” — or some caricature of it — into a kind of religion of personality!

    Each of these examples came from this thread. Each is a piece or aspect of that thing we all do which prevents us from identifying a problem that exists within a group of people.

    We are pretty critical of skeptical and atheist organizations and their famous leaders, yet we tend also to respond reactively to problems with a procedure rather than an identification of the problem.

    We identify a systemic problem in terms of “detours” when they are actually not a detour, but are the main road!

    The word “moral” (used ironically or not) seems to divert attention from the very center of the problem and trivializes a possible solution. This is true in strictly religious circles as it is within any grouping of people. An act may or may not be “moral”, but it does nothing to identify or solve the problem.

    Lastly, we often invoke — occasionally with some justification, but usually without thinking — “atheism is not a religion”, yet fail to see that the most egregious aspects of religion do manage to bite self-identified atheists in the ass and we are often just as surprised when that happens. I think that is not coincidental, for the reason I gave.

  37. says

    Amateur:

    I addressed Travis’s point almost directly.

    How?
    Travis asked “Is anyone saying this?” You’ve made an assertion about what every atheist has said, yet you’ve not shown a single person saying that. Travis pointed out that he’s not aware of anyone saying it. I’m not either. At some point were you planning to point out which people are saying “Oh, my! How could that’ve happened to us smart atheists who obviously use ‘reason and science’??” ?

    Until you do that, you’re just putting words in others’ mouths and denying that that’s what you’re doing.

    I’ll disagree with your position, too, Tony, if for no other reason that it may be too convenient and may actually just be a truism.

    So, atheism, that position one takes in response to cult imposition, is not a religion. Well, of course it isn’t. We’ve heard the comparisons. Non-Stamp Collecting is not a hobby. “Bald” is not a hair color. At the base of it, discounting the use of the word as an accusation and political label, the response to the claims about gods and spiritualism is literallyatheism. What is a “movement”, though?

    What do people get out of “movements” that they also get out of “religion” proper? Is there no corollary between that Atheism ™ which clearly has issues with personality worship and ideological purity and religion and cult which clearly has issues with personality (virtual and real) worship and ideological purity?

    Which position of mine are you disagreeing with? My belief that there’s no such thing as fundamentalist atheism? My belief that even if fundie atheism existed, fundie theism is far, far worse?

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Lastly, we often invoke — occasionally with some justification, but usually without thinking

    Sorry, we know that. You can think atheism shows signs of religious thinking, but not all of us will agree with you. Why? Have you ever considered you are wrong preacher?

  39. says

    It looks like Amateur has taken this as some kind of opportunity to rant about his own pet issues, and I really don’t see them to be very relevant here.

    For someone who is against “fame” and all that, he sure does seem to have no purpose here except to, through derailment, focus attention on himself.

  40. throwaway says

    The one person bemoaning the desire for recognition as somehow the end-all-be-all for why this happened is also the only person who felt it necessary to link their ‘nym to their blog.

  41. throwaway says

    OK, one of the few who have done so. Damn it you all, show a bit more class and stop ruining my “gotcha” moments!

  42. says

    throwaway:

    Damn it you all, show a bit more class and stop ruining my “gotcha” moments!

    Sorry about that. ;)

  43. ck says

    While I don’t particularly care for Edwina Roger’s politics and was rather against her leading that organization, I have to wonder about this. Most leaders can generally weather a couple employees stealing from an organization without being forced out, but she is being forced out now. That suggests that there is something else at play here, and that this was just the excuse that can be used to get rid of her. Was it her politics that many of us found distasteful (i.e. pretending the Republicans haven’t positioned themselves as the party of God)? Was it the fact she’s a woman? Or was it something else entirely.

  44. screechymonkey says

    ck, I don’t think you necessarily need a reason beyond the embezzlement. Not saying there wasn’t one, just that it seems like an adequate explanation to me.

    I know the NYT article reports Rogers as saying she had “no authority” over the finances, but that seems dubious to me. There’s a staff of about 6-8 people, none of whom has a title like “treasurer” or “director of finance,” and in any event it would seem that as Executive Director, the buck should stop with her. (I suppose it’s possible that financial stuff goes directly to the board, but that seems an odd setup.)

    This doesn’t sound like the sneakiest bit of embezzlement I’ve heard of. It should have been caught easily. It was a relatively significant amount compared to SCA’s size and (presumed) budget, and while I can see meals and travel slipping by undetected since those could be legitimate expenses, plastic surgery? Really?

    If Rogers hired these people, as someone upthread claimed, and failed to implement appropriate internal controls (like, uh, reading the damn credit card statements), that seems more than adequate grounds for termination.