Forgot your password?
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color

MabuhayRadio

Wednesday
Nov 25th
Home Sections NaFFAAgate NaFFAA Co-Founder Alleges Theft of Federation Funds
NaFFAA Co-Founder Alleges Theft of Federation Funds PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
PoorBest 
Sections - NaFFAAgate
Monday, 24 August 2009 13:40

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Monday, August 24, 2009

 

M ore intimation of improprieties in NaFFAA surfaced this weekend. While officials seemed to be slowly succeeding in defusing a tense situation, a friend of NaFFAA chair Greg Macabenta volunteers the idea that he and other NaFFAA officials might be "guilty" of wrongdoing, if not of a federal crime. This, at a time when his supporters are trying to extricate him from the unfolding mess. A formal request to the Internal Revenue Service to investigate NaFFAA for alleged irregularities was being worked out in Los Angeles. In Philadelphia, a NaFFAA co-founder is seeking support to locate what he refers to "stolen money" from NaFFAA.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

AS THE I.R.S. INTERVENTION IS SOUGHT,

NaFFAA Co-Founder Issues Appeal: “Please Help Locate 'Stolen Money'”

 

By ROMEO P. MARQUEZ

 

The author is a member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA)

 

S AN DIEGO – A co-founder of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) has issued an appeal to help locate what he referred to as "stolen money" from one of the organization's annual conferences.

 

The latest hint of irregularity surfaced during the weekend even as Los Angeles-based journalist Bobby Reyes disclosed his efforts to get the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of the Attorney General to investigate NaFFAA officials and their activities.

NaFFAA chair Greg B. Macabenta, through his self-proclaimed spokesperson Dr. Joy Bruce, has denied any wrongdoing while admitting, however, that he himself had made money from "professional" deals with Wells Fargo Bank, NaFFAA's biggest contributor.

 

Dr. Bruce, of Florida, has sought to insulate Macabenta from any intimation of scandal but a Sacramento-based care-giver and news distributor, Perry Diaz, a friend of Macabenta, advanced the unsolicited idea that Macabenta and other NaFFAA officials might have been "guilty" of wrongdoing, if not of a crime.

 

"I am not trying to say that Mr. Macabenta and the other officers of NaFFAA are not guilty of any malfeasance or -- as some misinformed readers believe -- federal crime," said Diaz, who is also a real-estate agent known in some circles as Porfirio Diaz, in an email posted in some e-forums.

 

R ather than extinguish the fire, Diaz's posted statement added more fuel to the raging controversy about NaFFAA, which is currently facing hardships due to its depleted funds, dwindling membership and lack of corporate and individual support.

 

With a claimed membership of about 500 associations, NaFFAA purports to be the "voice" of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in America. It has grouped all 50 states into regional chapters. (Editor's Note: According to New York-based "Filipino Express" columnist Ricky Rillera, the NaFFAA actually had only some 169 members in 2004 and not the 3,000 association-members that the NaFFAA national executive officers touted.)

 

A co-founder of NaFFAA, Ernesto Gange of Philadelphia, appealed for help in recovering an unspecified amount of money which he claimed to have been stolen from the federation. He did not say who took the money or when it was taken.

 

"Romy," he said in an email message addressed to this reporter, "I appeal to you to help us locate the stolen money, the receipts of the 2002 National Conference."

 

Gange stressed that the funds, "if recovered will help NaFFAA to survive this sad predicament, not paying our only staff Les Talusan for salaries owed to her, $25,000 and other bills including rent and utilities."

 

"If we find the stolen money, then, it will be a shot in the arm for our Federation," he emphasized.

 

There was no immediate comment from any NaFFAA officials about Gange's allegation, which was posted online yesterday (Sunday, Aug. 23).

 

Gange also said that he was "surprised" when the allegation surfaced that Macabenta was involved in what he called the "NaFFAA fund scandal".

 

But, he averred, "I am convinced that Greg's hand did not touch inside the Wells Fargo cookie jar".

 

Wells Fargo -- the bank and the foundation -- had donated a total of $300,000 to NaFFAA. How and where it was spent has not been clarified, though the donor had not asked for any accounting of the funds.

 

Gange claimed that NaFFAA national treasurer Lourdes Corrales is hiding important documents, including a form 990 routinely filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

 

" x x x the Audit Report 2002-2001, (which) was being guarded by Treasurer Lourdes Corrales from publication, for fear that it will implicate her, for lending Ben (Menor) her own money," he disclosed.

 

Ben Menor had pleaded no contest (which has the same effect as a guilty plea) to a felony charge of filing false statement and to another charge that he overstated his work hours at a senior housing program in San Jose. He agreed to pay restitution amounting to $51,000, which paved the way for the dropping of two grand theft felony charges.

 

Gange recounted a teleconference with other NaFFAA officials which Corrales did not attend. She held the financial information and her refusal to attend the teleconference "made us mad," according to Gange. # # #

 

* This “Breaking News” was sent by Romeo P. Marquez, editor, Philippine Village Voice, San Diego, California. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA. 92038.

 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News

BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive

Volume 3, Issue No. 18 / News Without Fear or Favor

 

. . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public . . .

 

  

Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Monday, 24 August 2009 13:59
 
Comments (1)
1 Monday, 24 August 2009 14:17
In a message dated 8/23/2009 1:19:53 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Ernesto1gange writes:


Re: POINT OF ORDER: GREG MACABENTAS was not involved in the $300,000 grant ...


Mr. Romeo Marquez
Editor
Philippine Voice News
San Diego, CA

Re: Point of Order, I am convinced that Greg's hand did not touch inside the WELLS FARGO cookie jar.

Dear Romy, Greg, Joy and Tocayo,

When the allegation surfaced, that Greg Macabenta was involved in the NaFFAA FUND SCANDAL, I, too, was surprised. fortunately, Joy has a copy of the Audit report and form 990 for 2002-2001. Treasurer Lourdes Corrales, a close ally of Ben Menor hid the documents from the general public.

How did I know Greg Macabenta.

I first met Greg in Los Angeles Convention Center in June 1997, as member of the
Philippine Centennial Movement, whose mission was to plan the Philippine Centennial celebration.in 1998. Greg was a paid Public Relations Contractor, and the rest of us were unpaid volunteers.

I was also there at the invitation of the Asia Society, as panelist, in the conference,
"FOCUS ON THE PHILIPPINES," and "The Role of Filipino Americans in the RP-US relations." Our panel Chair was Mona Lisa Yuchenco, with Rep. Vilma Veloria,
Usec. Federico Macaranas, Prof. E. de la Cruz of UCLA, Ed Teoseco of Metro Bank, Alex Esclamado of Philippine News and myself.

I was seated next to Alex, and, he told me to join with him to form a new national organization, with a lady named Loida Nicolas Lewis of New York. I told him, that, I am not interested with FAPA..

A few weeks later, Alex called me from Illinois, and told me that he will visit Philadelphia, on his way to New Jersey. I requested Dr. Francis Talangbayan and his wife Kristy to pickup Alex at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Our Philadelphia meeting in a Filipino Restaurant was a SRO. We put all the tables outside, to accommodate the people who want to listen to Alex., and the rest is history.

I first met Greg at a Convention of the Philippine Centennial Movement in the LA in 1997.
He was a contractor for the promotion of the Philippine Centennial Celebration.

The second time I met Greg was in WDC, during the first National Filipino American Empowerment Conference, the precursor of NaFFAA in August 1997, He was assigned by Alex to edit our numerous "position papers" which was inserted in the "Conference Book."

Again we met at the Region 2 Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia in October 2001. Although Greg was present in most the NaFFAA conferences, but, I cannot recall that he was elected to any position as a National Executive Officer.(NEO) One thing about Greg, that I admire, was, that, he was a graduate from UHK, university of hard knocks. He told us that he did not finish college, and, that is an act which is hard to follow.

AN INVITATION TO JOIN THE NAFFAA BOD TELECONFERENC, Aug. 7, 2009

When I received an invitation from Greg to participate in the National teleconference of the BOD, I was honored, because, it was a very long time ago, since I was invited by Alex and Loida in this BOD conferences .I invited Bobby who invited Dr. Joy Bruce, and that was good.

During the meeting, a certain Lorna Dietz, self proclaimed chairman of computer troll, resented our presence. Joy, Rudy and I were considered outsiders. Lorna demanded that any one of us who is appointed in a committee must be sure that we paid our membership dues to NaFFAA. She was very arrogant, this Lorna Troll. When Joy apologized to her, she was so shallow, that, she thought that it was all Joy's fault.

I did not like what I heard. Greg who was in the Philippines supported Lorna Dietz, and, he, too, expressed his contempt to Joy for doubting the NaFFAA NEO's. They were both surprised when Joy furnished the NaFFAA NEOs a copy of the Audit Report 2002-2001, which was being guarded by Treasurer Lourdes Corrales.from publication, for fear that it will implicate her, for lending Ben her own money. What made us mad was the fact that the financial information was with Corrales, and yet, she conveniently refused to attend the Teleconference of the BOD,

Romy, I appeal to you to help us locate the stolen money, the receipts of the 2002 National Conference. This money, if recovered will help NaFFAA to survive this sad predicament, not paying our only Staff Les Talusan for salaries owed to her, $25,000 and other bills including rent and utilities.

I enjoin you to help us rebuild NaFFAA from the ashes. If we find the stolen money, then, it will be a shot in the arm for our Federation.

Thank you for your commitment for the truth.

Sincerely,

Ernesto Gange, Philadelphia
Co-founder, NaFFAA

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
Subject:
Comment (you may use HTML tags here):

Quote of the Day

"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.' "--Richard Jeni