Transition Inc. needs a second chance.
On Monday evening, David Tucker, the president of the nonprofit’s board of directors, accused Executive Director Maylin Salado of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization, nearly bankrupting it.
Salado began working for the group, which is focused on helping former inmates reenter society and the workforce, in 2013. She became executive director last April. Tucker declined to go into details on why he concluded there was theft, but said he believes it was more than $300,000.
“She appeared to be a very nice person,” Tucker said in a phone interview. “However, this very nice person did a really bad thing.”
On her LinkedIn page, Salado says she is a current student at Florida International University and expects to receive her bachelor’s degree in public administration in 2020. She could not be immediately reached for comment.
According to a press release, the scheme involved the use of “false identities, check forgery, false documents, false corporate entities, and false claims” in order to steal money from the organization, the county and other partners.
“This is a tragedy,” Tucker said. “I was informed on Feb. 15, and I’m not certain it doesn’t go beyond that. She fooled everybody and now a lot of people are paying the price.”
On Feb. 22, Salado and the rest of Transition’s staff were let go due to lack of funds.
Interim Executive Director Stephen Gilmore, the former workforce manager, has been with the company for three years.
“This is a very difficult situation that I’m stepping into right now, but I’m excited to serve our community,” he said.
According to the release, Transition’s main partner, CareerSource of South Florida, as well as city and county officials have declined to continue funding the organization until its internal audits and investigations have been concluded. Still, Tucker said the work will continue.
“They took a vote and decided to continue working,” he said. “They keep coming in and placing employees. They’re not rich, they’re working week to week like us. The story is not about the person that ripped us off. It’s about the people that continue to show up and help.”
Gilmore said that this won’t last forever but the organization needs help now.
“There’s no way we can expect them to continue to volunteer without a paycheck,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s really going to be the community that decides whether our doors remain open or close.”
He said though many of their clients have been in prison, they serve a larger community.
“Our location makes us accessible to Camillus House, Lotus House, and other places where people aren’t necessarily ex-offenders, but are homeless or just on hard times,” said Gilmore. “We work to help people find meaningful employment that will assist them in moving into a positive direction in their lives.”
He said he hopes the community will help the organization stay open.
“It’s going to be tough, but I’m hopeful,” Gilmore said. “If we receive the financial support from our community, the support from our commissioners, and the support from our state legislators, I don’t see the organization facing something like this ever again in the future.”