INFORMATION, NEWS & OPINIONS POLITIQUES --
La Reconstruction d'Haïti passe par des réformes institutionnelles et structurelles en profondeur dans les domaines suivants: Douane, administration publique, justice & lois, respect du droit de propriété, libre concurrence, accès au crédit bancaire... Des millions sans des réformes auront aucun impact sur la pauvreté et le développement durable.
After an independent review of Fairfield's involvement in Project Pierre Toussaint, no problems were found, except for a lack of financial oversight that left $120,500 unaccounted for after being paid to former Campus Ministry Director Fr. Paul Carrier.
Day Pitney was retained in Sept. 2009 to determine the nature and extent of the relationship between Fairfield, the Haiti Fund, and Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT) after the founder of PPT, Fairfield alumnus Doug Perlitz '92, was indicted on charges of traveling to engage in sexual activities with children. It also investigated when the University learned of the allegations.
But while absolving Fairfield of these charges, it highlighted a new problem: a lack of financial controls in Campus Ministry which allowed for $120,500 to be paid to Carrier with no documentation for how the money was spent.
Carrier was also the chairman of the board of directors of the Haiti Fund, which provided funding for PPT. Carrier was removed as chairman in 2008 as allegations of child abuse by Perlitz surfaced.
Perlitz operated PPT in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. He was charged in Sept. 2009 in what has grown to become 19 counts related to sexual abuse of children in Haiti.
According to the report , the independent investigation into Fairfield's involvement in Project Pierre Toussaint has determined that the University had no knowledge of the allegations of sexual abuse by Fairfield alumnus Doug Perlitz '92 until May 2, 2008. At that time, a representative of the Haiti Fund called University President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx to inform him of the allegations. The report also states that while the University was widely perceived as being affiliated with Perlitz, the Haiti Fund and PPT, there was no legal or fiduciary relationship with them.
But the report also states that approximately $604,000 in payments for the benefit of PPT were made through the University from 1997 to 2008. This money consisted of primarily donations from collections held during mass at the Egan Chapel as well as donations made through the University's Office of Development.
And during Carrier's time at Fairfield, payments of $97,500 were made to Carrier from Campus Ministry restricted accounts. In addition to this money, an additional $23,000 was paid to Carrier from the Campus Ministry operating account, bringing the total money to $120,500.
A lack of financial records prevented Day Pitney from determining the purpose of this money although Stanley A. Twardy, Jr., a former Connecticut U.S. attorney and partner in Day Pitney, said that there was "no evidence of diversions of funds."
University Board Chairman Paul J. Huston said that because of the increase in money over the years, Campus Ministry's system could not keep up with the new demand in addition to too much delegation. He also said that Carrier was "wearing two hats" as both Campus Ministry director and chairman of the Haiti Fund, so it made accounting even more difficult.
"While the investigation uncovered no specific wrongdoing, insufficient support documentation and a lack of segregation of duties were cited as control deficiencies," said Huston in a statement. "In the future, charitable donations collected on behalf of outside organizations will immediately be distributed directly to the organization."
The decision to remove Carrier in April 2006 by Fr. Thomas Regan, at the time the Jesuit Provincial and former Fairfield teacher, was based in no way on any allegations in connection with PPT according to the report and Regan.
The findings were reported late Wednesday afternoon, in an open meeting held by von Arx, Twardy and Huston.
Twenty-two current and former University employees were interviewed as well as Regan and employees of SunGard, a University software vendor. Over 29,000 internal documents were also reviewed.
Day Pitney hired UHY Advisors FLVS Inc., a forensic accounting and computer analysis firm, for assistance in the investigation. Carrier declined to comment through his attorney and Perlitz was also unable to be contacted.
Day Pitney is also counsel for the Diocese of Bridgeport, which is also represented by Philip Lacovara, who works for a different firm. Lacovara was a member of the Haiti Fund board who signed a letter supporting Perlitz.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications Rama Sudhakar said, "There was no conflict, as Fairfield University is a separate entity from the diocese of Bridgeport. And Mr. Lacovara is not affiliated with Fairfield University."
Von Arx also stressed that Fairfield has not distanced itself from PPT.
"We continue to be actively involved in Haiti," said von Arx. "We are in discussions with the current board of the Haiti Fund to explore how we might partner to reopen. We have continued to express our willingness to help the board and the discussions are ongoing."
The current board chairman, Michael McCooey, did not respond to messages on his phone seeking comment.
Von Arx also said that there were plans to make Haiti an integral part of the curriculum next year and highlighted the other charities and work Fairfield does in the community.
"We want to work as closley as we can with the Haiti Fund and we remain ready to assist the Haiti Fund as they ask us to. We are not walking away from PPT," said von Arx.