Many of you witnessed or heard about issues between the former thrift shop manager/myself and the FSC (now FSU) about 2 years ago after the FSC decided to publish my termination on Facebook, before I was even notified, claiming issues with the finances and the IRS and insinuating a connection between those alleged issues and my termination.
Now I would like to elaborate:
Their post came after a secret emergency board meeting was held to which they did not include myself or our bookkeeper (a court certified accountant) - so basically the only two people who could answer questions and defend the accusations. Some members resigned after this meeting as they did not want to take part in this.
The Board made numerous statements during this meeting, which were blatant lies. They denied having a bookkeeper although they had a meeting and discussions with her only a few days prior. During this meeting they were assured by her there were no issues with the financials or the taxes. They never asked or were ever denied to see any financials. This would not fit their narrative.
Before this Board meeting I was referred to as a bitch by a Board member, I was insulted as being German, one Board member was named the “Carola whisperer” like I am an untamed animal, numerous references were made regarding my nationality and the president labeled me as difficult...
Leading up to this (and likely resulting in this treatment) was following: Before this Board meeting I asked for correction of my pay as I worked as a salaried employee way below minimum wage and they avoided the subject although they knew the WA labor department would flag the wage discrepancy when the hours/pay were reported quarterly. I was simply not paid legal wages.
All this after I, with the help of a bookkeeper, fixed an IRS issue stemming from before my employment. I wrote an abatement letter and it was granted. I want to clarify the former bookkeeper never failed to pay the taxes for the thrift shop (they all showed as settled) but simply forgot the step to print and send the electronically generated tax form. She was under the supervision of the Board and went thru an audit during her time and neither even caught the issue.
We received a letter from the IRS after we worked weeks on making corrections - the letter stated these issues were rectified. So when the FSC mentioned in their post and Board meeting IRS issues, they forget to add „solved“ - again, it wouldn’t fit their narrative.
When I brought forward the discrepancy in my pay I was first threatened that if I insist on correction of my pay it would not be received well by the Board and then they tried to negotiate minimum pay with me. My refusal put a target on me and the witch-hunt started.
Their Facebook announcement about the closure resulted in a lot of reactions from the base population, both in my defense and from people questioning my job performance (maybe even criminal wrong-doings) for it to lead to the closure of the thrift shop for months to come.
For two years I was unable to insert myself in discussions on Facebook and refrained from defending myself or exposing the ugly truth behind this. Attorneys advised patience, one suggested to involve the media...
In September I took the former president of the FSC to court (Small Claims) and received a judgement in my favor regarding money owed to me with the option to take the other issues to Civil Court.
Before I sought assistance thru many other agencies: IG (they were great and professional), the EEO on base, the HRC (Human Right Committee), the EEOC (both HRC and EEOC saw issues but couldn’t assist due to lack of employee numbers for the business), I wrote a letter to the base commander, the Commander for the Legal office and PO office, my attorney wrote a letter to the FSC, which they basically shrugged off. So court it was!
After I heard about the emergency meeting I figured the FSC has a few questionable characters amongst them but wanted to offer for them all to hear from me and I emailed each Board member a letter (which I also offered to the public) and would have been happy to talk/meet with each one or all of then. I knew they lie to each other and withhold information from each other. No response. However, a few Board members reached out privately and apologized to me and distanced themselves from these actions by the Spouses Club (before I took the legal route).
I am offering now to disclose all the events leading up to my termination and the multiple embezzlements of funds which occurred after my termination by a Board member and which subsequently did not result in a secret meeting with the Board. She was protected by the Board until the information slipped out - a former club member confronted the Board to tell them they cannot insinuate any wrong doing from me to create a path to get rid of me while they have actual embezzlement happening amongst them and they opt to cover it up! Transparency - a word they liked to use while I have never encountered a group of women talking worse about each other (behind backs) or other spouses.
They refused to share their “audit” results to a board member who asked for it and to another interested party. But they included some paperwork for the court and there are major “mistakes” put into those financial
statements to create the impression of red numbers.
There is also a statement from the parliamentarian/their current shop manager describing the attire of people who helped me remove my items. I have photos of what they wore and it is nothing like what she described in this statement - example of yet another lie.
I want to thank all the customers, volunteers and strangers who have supported me during these two years. They knew how hurt I was and every message or comment I heard or read helped me heal. Thank you! I usually prefer to be private and you will never know how much your voices spoken in my defense or for my comfort were needed while I was watching this unfold.
I also get lots of reports from people now complaining about the current running of the thrift shop (especially how rude they are) - I am sorry this well intended organization was destroyed by these people and you didn’t experience kindness.
Since they never corrected their public statement I want to circle back and update everyone in this manner and matter. I am offering further insight upon request. I think this is what the community and I deserve.