top of page

The Shenanigans of the Community Resource Collaborative (CRC) ???

What happened to millions of dollars intended for the COVID relief funds?



Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Last month, Monroe County launched an investigation into the Community Resource Collaborative (CRC), a non-profit organization. Authorities informed CRC of the freeze on all their finances and the commencement of an audit.


Community Resources Collaborative (CRC) was founded by Tina Paradiso on September 29, 2021, to improve collaboration among prominent social organizations in the city. CRC sought to address issues such as providing funds for young people in need of employment assistance, addressing mental health concerns, assisting with food pantries, aiding the homeless, workforce development, and other basic human needs necessary for continuous personal growth and healing.


CRC registered as a non-profit organization with the state at the end of November 2022.


In December 2022, the legislative body of Monroe County unanimously approved $7.1M from the ARPA fund for the non-profit organization CRC to improve collaboration among community organizations and to help create comprehensive services and expand the neighborhood. These funds were supposed to be distributed over four years.


CRC managed to process about $1.1M, but non-profit organizations stopped receiving checks in late summer and early fall, causing suspicion among individuals in the county.


In July 2023, Tina Paradiso changed positions, transitioning from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Anthony Hall, the former executive director of CRC Inc., succeeded her in the CEO position.


Hall is known for his previous role as the director of the city's anti-violence initiative "Pathways to Peace," leading youth and gang intervention programs. He was also a prominent leader in protests for social justice in 2020 and 2021.


On September 28, 2023, Monroe County recorded a transaction of $168,000 by CRC to purchase property at 1274-1278 Dewey Ave.


The owner of the barbershop at that address, Reynolds, recently owned by CRC, was also an employee of this organization, serving as the "gun violence prevention navigator." This property is also the subject of an internal investigation within CRC.


Another Jeep Grand Wagoneer was purchased for $95,210 by the non-profit organization CRC, but this transaction took place on March 30, 2023, about a month before the contract was signed between CRC and the county. 


There is also a founded suspicion that another similar vehicle was purchased, but authorities say this will be confirmed by the investigation.


CRC's lawyer, McFadden, admitted that the Jeep purchases are part of the investigation but refused to comment on the "validity or questionability" of these purchases.


On December 28, 2023, Paradiso submitted a name assumption certificate for Imprinting Lives, an organization dealing with the employment issues of young people while teaching them business skills and financial literacy.


On January 23, 2024, she filed assumed name certificates for Neighborhood Collaborative Project, Mounted Peace Protectors, Mounted Peace Program, Mounted Peace Program, Mounted Peace Messengers, and Mounted Peace Patrol under Community Resource Collaborative Inc.


Finally, on February 8, 2024, Monroe County initiated an investigation into the finances of the CRC organization responsible for distributing funds to help fight COVID-19 for community aid organizations.


The first indications that something was amiss in the organization and rumors of an ongoing investigation were confirmed by the county spokesman, Gary Walker.


Accusations were made in a certified letter signed by Faye Pelow, the manager of community development initiatives in Monroe County.


McFadden, CRC's lawyer, was engaged to investigate the chain of events within the organization, while Monroe County conducted a forensic audit of the organization's finances.


County Executive Director Adam Bello stated at a press conference that $1.1 million had been distributed to CRC so far, but it is unknown how much of that money reached the non-profit organizations it was intended for.

Bello also mentioned that CRC itself fired one of its employees, admitting poor financial management and the overall situation to the county.


As it stands, it seems everyone is pointing fingers at Paradiso for malfeasance, accused by CRC's lawyer, McFadden, and also by Monroe County. However, these claims still need to be proven in court, and everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Paradiso was first suspended and then terminated from the organization at the end of January by Hall. Hall had previously received numerous inquiries about the funds allocated to organizations, and to address this, he convened an emergency board meeting. During that meeting, Paradiso was asked questions to which board members say adequate answers were not provided.


Lawyer McFadden says he contacted and spoke with the banks where Paradiso had opened accounts, claiming she was the only one with access to those accounts. All ten CRC employees were removed from their jobs during the investigation. He also says Paradiso refused any requests for comments on the investigation.


Recently, a journalist from WXXI News visited Paradiso's house, listed in CRC's documentation, and was driven away with curses and threats to call the police. He failed to obtain any comments or statements from Paradiso.


Organizations involved in financing through CRC found themselves in significant trouble due to a lack of funds. They were forced to lay off staff to ensure their existence. As a result, organization leaders gathered on Frost and Jefferson avenues to call for community support, as their funds remain frozen.


Executive Director Olivia Kassoum-Amadou of one of the organizations, Cameron Community Ministries, when asked for comment, also refused to comment and emphasized that she awaits instructions from the county.


The investigation into what happened is still ongoing. 

3 Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Guest
Mar 23
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

This is the most in-depth report on this situation that I have read. Thank you for your diligence and work.

Like

If you don't feel like reading the article, there’s a feature that allows you to listen to it. Click on the link below. When the article comes up, to listen, click on this symbol ⧁  right above the date.

https://medium.com/@howardjeagle/rochester-new-york-monroe-county-march-11-2024-f8ecfa277ea4?source=friends_link&sk=9ddc9db7a488002ca2da368178dcc70f

Like
Guest
3 days ago
Replying to

It is indeed interesting when individuals, who possess a habit of criticizing others, turn a blind eye to their own unkempt surroundings. Such hypocrisy is perplexing and raises several questions.

When an individual criticizes others for neglecting their cleanliness, it raises questions about their integrity. How can they claim to possess the moral high ground when they are not upholding the same standards in their own homes? This lack of self-awareness is troubling and calls into question their sincerity.

Additionally, the hypocrisy of criticizing others while neglecting cleanliness themselves undermines their credibility. It is unfair to expect others to maintain a clean environment when the person doing the criticizing fails to do so themselves. This double standard only further highlights…

Like

Top Stories