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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Health, Housing, and Public Services
AC Transit executive charged with stealing $560,000 from church funds
AC Transit's chief financial officer, Lewis Green Clinton Jr., has been charged with ripping off $560,000 from the Allen Temple Baptist Church located at 8501 International Boulevard, in Oakland, for his own personal gain, according to charges filed by Inspector James Taranto, of the Alameda County District Attorney's office!
AC Transit executive charged with stealing $560,000 from church funds
By Lynda Carson - April 16, 2014
Oakland - Lewis Green Clinton Jr., of Vallejo has been arrested on suspicion of ripping off over $500,000 of funds from the Allen Temple Baptist Church in East Oakland. Funds that were meant to assist seniors and the disabled for their housing needs.
AC Transit's chief financial officer, Lewis Green Clinton Jr., has been charged with ripping off $560,000 from the Allen Temple Baptist Church located at 8501 International Boulevard, in Oakland, for his own personal gain, according to charges filed by Inspector James Taranto, of the Alameda County District Attorney's office.
According to public records signed and dated on April 10, 2014, by Inspector James Taranto, Lewis Green Clinton Jr. (age 57), has been charged with four counts of grand theft for allegedly ripping off funds from the 5,000-member Allen Temple Baptist Church. Clinton was a member of the church and was also a board member on three different boards of the church, which left him in a position to allegedly steal around $560,000 in funds from the church for personal gain, according to Inspector Taranto.
Clinton is presently free on $100,000 bail after being arraigned Monday at the Hayward Hall of Justice, and was placed on indefinite administrative leave from AC Transit on the same day, Monday April 14, 2014. It's been reported that Clinton was payed $279,000 in total compensation during 2012, by AC Transit. Clinton is due back in court next month.
Allen Temple Baptist Church, is a large religious organization located in East Oakland, and through the years it has created organizations through which it provides housing and delivers other services to low- and moderate-income persons in the local community. The church was originally organized in 1919 as a Northern Baptist mission by the Reverend J.L. Allen, who may be rolling over in his grave at this moment about what has been happening at his church lately.
The last 990 federal tax filing for the Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation (ATHEDCO) is for 2011, and the records show that Lewis Clinton is listed as the principal officer of the organization. The gross receipts for 2011 were $548,405, and $532,870 is listed as coming in from grants, fees, and contracts. Their total assets during 2011 was $77,388, and their total liabilities for 2011 were $110,593, leaving them $33,000 in the hole.
Records show that $215,384 was spent on salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits. It also reports that $179,387 was used as compensation for current officers, directors, trustees, and key employees, and that $15,546 was spent on other employee benefits. Other expenses were listed as $291,200. Accounting expenses cost $11,601 for the year, $19,377 went for office expenses, and $10,921 was used for travel expenses.
Board expenses were $19,569 for the 2011, and $171,424 was spent on program development training. Telephone and utilities cost $8,109, and rent cost $8,000 for the organization.
The tax filing listed El Rifai Reem as the executive director of the organization in 2011, with a wage compensation of $71,740. Lewis Clinton is listed as the president, John Harrison is listed as the secretary, Olu Bereola is listed as a director, George Elliott is listed as director, and Kevin Ross is listed as the treasurer.
The assets for Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation (ATHEDCO) in 2011 were listed as $77,388, and in 2010 the assets were listed as $143,459. Another 990 tax filing for 2010 lists their assets as $72,103. In 2009 the assets were listed as $252,470. The 2011 990 tax filing does not mention anything about the organization developing housing for seniors or the disabled, even though the website for Allen Temple Baptist Church claims that they have developed 90 units of housing for seniors and the disabled. It states on the 2011 990 tax filing that the mission or most significant activities of the organization are to raise the economic, educational and social levels of the residents of Alameda County.
Funds Ripped Off From Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation (ATHEDCO)
The Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation (ATHEDCO) has developed, operated and maintained 90 units of low-income housing for seniors and disabled persons who have become disabled due to the HIV/AIDS virus, according to the website for the church, but not mentioned in their 2011 990 federal tax filing.
According to public records from the DA's office, Clinton solely owned and controlled an entity called Eagle Asset Management (EAM). However, according to records with the Secretary of State of California, as of April 16, 2014, there are two corporations named Eagle Asset Management, Inc, as doing business in California. Regarding their status, one of them is listed as forfeited, and the other is listed as suspended. Neither of the corporations listed with the Secretary of State listed Clinton as the agent for service of process.
Additionally, a search of the records of the California Board of Accountancy on April 16, 2014, did not turn up a listing or any records for Lewis Green Clinton Jr., as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California, or elsewhere, even though he is the chief financial officer for AC Transit.
According to the charges leveled against Clinton, between April 1, 2007 and November 22, 2012, Clinton illegally diverted to his Eagle Asset Management, Inc. (EAM) account, over $400,000 in funds acquired from the sale of cell phone tower rights, from church bank accounts.
Between March 1, 2008, and February 8, 2013, Clinton improperly took approximately $66,000 from some Wells Fargo accounts belonging to ATHEDCO. These amounts were withdrawn in the form of debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals.
Between October 1, 2008, and January 31, 2011, Clinton also illegally diverted to his EAM account over $100,000 in funds held by ATHEDCO at the Alliant Credit Union, according to records.
The District Attorney's office (DA) believes that the evidence reveals that Clinton used the EAM account for his own personal expenses including among other things mortgage payments on his home, loan payments, tuition payments for private school for his children, purchase of at least one luxury automobile, golf club membership, and personal real estate tax payments.
According to public records, with the possible exception of improper ATM withdrawals, these thefts have not been discovered until March of 2013, after a shortage of operating capital at ATHEDCO prompted an investigation. The improper use of debits cards was discovered around December 2012, after a bookkeeper
began to notice a pattern of improper ATM withdrawals. In previous years, a church official noticed relatively high board expenses, but she was assured by Clinton that this was not a problem, and that nothing was inappropriate.
Clinton held a high position of trust within the community and the corporations involved with the church, which explains why the thefts were not detected sooner, according to the DA's office.
AC Transit records dated November 13, 2013, show that Lewis Green Clinton Jr., flew to Chicago for the APTA Annual Conference on 9/28/2013 and flew back on 10/2/2013, at a total cost of $2,485.17. The trip was funded by the District Operating Program. The nature of the expenses were for ground transportation ($70.00); Lodging ($904.44); Per Diem ($319.50); Airfare ($371.00); Conference Fee ($800.00); Mileage ($66.67); Miscellaneous (-$46.44).
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com