DC LGBTQ+ group’s founder accused of misusing money

D.C.’s attorney general alleges that an organization for LGBTQ+ youth has failed in its mission, and that its founder has misused money and probably fled the country.

In a motion for a temporary restraining order filed Monday in D.C. Superior Court, Karl Racine seeks to freeze all bank accounts and PayPal accounts for Casa Ruby, “to prevent the ongoing misuse of Casa Ruby’s charitable funds” by founder and former executive director Ruby Corado.

Racine alleges a pattern of mismanagement, poor oversight of programs and finances, and an improper use of District grants and charitable donations.

The organization – which was founded in 2012 — had provided transitional housing to LGBTQ+ youth in the District, and according to Racine’s motion, it had received more than $9.6 million in grants from District agencies in the last five years.

But per the motion, its eight-member board of directors has not applied proper oversight and control. The board never met from 2012 until 2020, Racine alleges, and Corado “acted without any board oversight.”

“Thus, for more than a decade, the Board ceded full operational and financial control of the organization to a single officer and utterly failed to fulfill its duty of appropriate oversight,” the filing said.

Three board members resigned from September 2021 to April 2022, and remaining board members “are inactive,” the filing said.

Recently, The Washington Post reported that Corado’s earnings had grown from just under $32,000 in 2013 to $260,000 in 2020.

The attorney general’s office believes that Corado, a native of El Salvador, has probably left the country.

“The District is still investigating the full extent of the misuse here, but knows that significant nonprofit funds have been used for Corado to travel to, live in, and eat in El Salvador, as well as to pay charges on a credit card she controlled that were never reviewed or approved by the organization’s Board,” the filing alleges.

And since March, Casa Ruby has not produced any required documentation for continuing to receive grant money. As such, all programs have been discontinued and the shelters have closed. Corado resigned as executive director in September, one week after the District’s Department of Human Services said it would not renew Casa Ruby’s $850,000 grant.

Corado’s successor, Alexis Blackmon, told The Post that she never had access to Casa Ruby’s bank accounts; she resigned in February.

Employees have not been paid since May, and The Post reported there are several unpaid vendors and landlords.

Racine also alleges that Casa Ruby’s closing has “left substantial amounts of confidential and personal information potentially abandoned or accessible by persons unknown – information such as therapy records, reports of domestic violence and records of treatment sought.”

In addition to freezing Casa Ruby’s assents, the attorney general’s office wants to remove Corado’s access to all of the organization’s accounts, and remove her from “any position … at Casa Ruby.”

Corado told WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington and Telemundo 44 she has never taken money that was not authorized to do work in the community.

“Any money that was withdrawn was for work that was authorized, work that is still being done in the community today, and that was authorized by the board, this team of people, because I never did this work alone,” Corado said.

Corado also told News4 she has receipts for the money she spent, and she says the District owes her center almost $600,000.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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