Hale House Interim Board Dismisses President/Cofounder
The new interim Hale House board, appointed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, voted unanimously on Thursday to dismiss Dr. Lorraine Hale from her position as president of the Harlem-based charity she cofounded to care for children born to drug-addicted or HIV-positive mothers, the New York Times reports. The board, appointed in the wake of allegations of "financial mismanagement and other improprieties" at Hale, issued a "stinging resolution" saying Hale's actions had "jeopardized Hale House's legal authority to conduct its principal activities, thereby endangering its mission." The resolution is the latest development in the ongoing saga of Hale's supposed resignation. Under a deal worked out with Spitzer's office and signed on May 7, Hale was supposed to have resigned on May 11, but her attorney Michael Gaynor said that deal was "not binding" to Hale as an individual because it was made with Hale House (Pristin, New York Times, 5/18). On May 14, Gaynor issued an email to news sources saying Hale was "prepared to resign" upon terms "to be fairly negotiated" (Ramirez, AP/New York Times, 5/14). Gaynor also criticized the board's action, saying it "violated all concepts of fairness" because the new board has denied Hale "access to relevant documents and records" and "any opportunity" to speak in her own defense (New York Times, 5/18).
Accusations Against Hale
Hale is accused of misusing Hale House funds for personal reasons. She allegedly rented to middle-class New Yorkers at "double the prescribed rents" two apartments that she bought from the city for $3 and that were designated as housing for former drug addicts and their children. She said she apprised the city of the change, which was made to "mix" residents of the building with "other people." The city said it was not notified of the change until last year, eight years after Hale made the switch. Hale is also accused of using $560,000 in charitable donations made to the house to fund her husband's unsuccessful off-Broadway play. She said she paid the money back from "personal funds" but New York Daily News sources say she only repaid about $160,000 (Saltonstall, New York Daily News, 5/16).