Legal Agency Accused of Illegal Activity
- Category: Justice
- Published: Tuesday, 17 December 2013 05:24
- Written by Lawrence A. Robinson
By Lawrence A. Robinson
"I Appreciate Your Response and I Request that you Allow the FULL BOARD to Know that:
* Despite the fact that we operate as Committees; this issue is NOT Adequately addressed in the BEST INTERESTS of the CLIENTS of ORANGE, BREVARD and SEMINOLE COUNTIES,
and We can Show Concrete EVIDENCE of the LACKING That We Experience with the Legal AID Organization obviously that operate FAR Different than the Community Legal SERVICES and ALL Legal Services Funded Agencies; FAR DIFFERENT."
Thus begin an e-mail from Dr. Tim Adams to Attorney Amy Goodblatt who is President of Board of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.
Dr. Adams believes that some of the funds collected by the organization is being diverted for use other than what was it's original purpose was.
The following three e-mail's obtained by CommunitySteeple.com, shows the progression of the discussion between Dr. Adams and Attorney Goodblatt.
Dr. Adams, in a short interview, explains his concerns which are based on clients not being adequately served even though funds are available. Also, he talks about the lack of African American professionals in the organization and how legal support that should be for the financially challenged in Orange County has been shifted to other counties.
Here is that interview with Dr. Tim Adams.
Here are the three e-mail between Dr. Adams and Attorney Amy Goodblatt.
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2013 11:53 PM
To: Amy Goodblatt
Subject: Attorney Amy Goodblatt President, Board of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.
To: Attorney Amy Goodblatt President, Board of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.,
And to Each Member of the Board of Directors of: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.,
Request for Board Notification of the Following Matter:
Will you Please Allow me to have the Full Board of Directors of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc., Notified by Email for those whose Emails are available, to Reconsider the Proposed Continuing Private Attorney Involvement Plan Discussed by a Duly Constituted Special Committee of the Board members, who are NOT a duplication of the Usual and Customary Executive Members.
We have had nearly automatic approval of this Type request for the Past Several Years, Despite the FACTS that Many Changes have occurred in our Large Service Area.
As a Client Representative; It is My Complete and Reasoned position, that this issue has Denied Pertinent and Far-reaching Ramifications that the STAFF has Not allowed adequate research, feedback, nor justification for continuing.
We serve many Counties that have Diverse Populations that are NOT adequately served by the Bar Associations, Legal services Organizations nor Pro Bono Offerings that are reasonable to expect and are sorely needed in these Specific Counties.
Orange Brevard, Seminole Counties' Clients are Being Denied EQUAL PROTECTION and DUE PROCESS und the Laws of the United states due to the Continued use of the Rationale that our Staff has advocated for these Areas of the Service Areas Served by Our Law Firm.
While the Twelve County area was Drawn Previously due to Some Criteria that fit during our initial Start up phase; Many Changes have Occurred in this Twelve County Service Area recently.
For Instance; The Homeless Network Grant that we thought that we would operate in Orange County is now being Re-Considered because the Same Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar is Competing with us. That Should in itself Signal to our Board Members at Large, Rather than the Tight knit Executive Board, that Open Honest and Client Driven Discussions need to occur Prior to Simply Rubber Stamping this Staff popular proposal again in 2014.
The People whose Populations and Demographics have Generated the funding for the $392,295 in PAI Requirement will be Disparately and disproportionately affected negatively by this scheme to Pass the Buck on Services Delivery in the Counties described as the Three Most Populated counties - Orange, Brevard and Seminole, while Osceola County and the other Counties will Obtain More Adequate Protection in terms of the Expenditure of FEDERAL FUNDS to increase Private Attorney Involvement in the those Areas for their Clients.
To State that CLSMF has NOT been Able to Economically and Effectively Utilize the FULL Twelve and One Half Percent of its Requirement as Recipient Number 610010 is a Grave Error of judgment that we should reconsider and Stop Requesting Year after Year, while our Demographics and the Challenges to our Clients suffer because of the False Notions that these three Counties Legal Aid Programs Serve the Population of Needy, Disadvantaged, Health-Challenged, Elderly and Veterans who are the reason for the money to be Sent to - these specific three Counties - and the Services Areas that we serve in the first place.
The Guidelines that Govern these Legal Aid Groups are FAR Different than the Guidelines for Services that CLS of Mid Florida operates with.
To further state that the " Partner Three Legal Aid and Pro bono Programs Closed Two thousand Cases, and Provided Limited Services From One Thousand Four Hundred Seventy Seven Private Attorneys in these THREE counties is nothing to Brag About in any forum. We have More than Five Hundred Eligible Clients who need Services in our Service Area, and the Fact that these Agencies Existed PRIOR to CLS M-Florida is no more a proof of Adequate services delivery than quoting that the Clients Lived in Central Florida Prior to CLSMF was formed.
The length of time that these three Legal Aid Organizations have Existed has Shown Conclusively; that the Federally Funded Legal services were Needed, or we would not have been funded by the United States Government in the First Instance.
The Central Florida Communities have Long suffered from mis - guided Attempts to Show that Private Funded Organizations, with no federal oversight; have served the Poor and Disadvantaged Citizens of our Area in Housing, Education, and Employment Opportunity Advocacy for years.
In Housing; we have Experienced many Failed Attempts to use Bank and Investor Programs to Provide adequate Housing services to these SAME Clients, and those efforts have always Failed as well. We Need BOTH Private and Federal - Funded Agencies to insure and assure that Services are provided in the most Effective and yes, even Competitive manner possible in the BEST interest of our Clients, rather than the Best Interests of Some Legal aid Societies.
To Weigh the BAR Associations' interests against the Needs of our Clients is morally and legally indefensible. The Board of Directors all need to weigh in on this decision more Closely than a Three to Five Minute Motion and Second - As stated in our Written Exchanges Last Year, When this Same tem was Voted upon, we Passed it without Clarifying issues that only the Staff and NOT the Board was Fully Apprised of.
For these and Several Additional Reasons that Should be Studied and Considered PRIOR to this Item - Being Simply Voted upon; - I Request that each and Every Board member be made aware of this Entire Statement, by Email Prior to ur meeting on Wednesday afternoon; and NOT be Given only the rebuttal from the Staff, as was done in my Previous attempts to seek Board Consideration of Pertinent Issues that Affect the clients of our Twelve County Service area Negatively.
Dr.T. L. Adams, Th D
Sent: Mon, Dec 16, 2013 12:38 pm
Subject: RE: Attorney Amy Goodblatt President, Board of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.
Good morning, Tim. I have taken time to review your email, and am prepared to respond. I do see that the Minutes of the December 2012 Personnel Committee meeting have been forwarded to you .
As we have a large Board, we operate by Committee. The PAI Committee will be provided with a copy of your email for its consideration by Bill Abbuehl prior to the board meeting this Wednesday.
The Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) waiver, which is being recommended by the PAI committee, and has been approved by LSC for many years, recognizes that CLSMF spends less than 12.5% of its LSC funds on private attorney involvement ( pro bono development) because Orange, Seminole and Brevard counties have large successful pro bono programs that already utilize a lot of pro bono resources. CLSMF requests this waiver because it does not make sense for CLSMF to duplicate the Legal
Aids' pro bono efforts.
Instead, the Waiver allows CLSMF to devote more resources to staff attorneys for services in those counties. For example, CLSMF has been able to re-staff one attorney position in Brevard, continue our Seminole office, and add a consumer attorney in Sanford. In Orange County, CLSMF has added enough staff with these funds, that it has had to add an office suite on the first floor for the Fair Housing staff to make room for a visiting bankruptcy attorney, a pro bono assistant and a visiting pro bono manager. The pro bono assistant position, which is being relocated from our Ocala office, will help us expand our Orlando area pro bono programs. We have moved our resource development team to Orlando as well, because we believed that we needed to focus on the greater Orlando area. We also re-staffed our Tavares office , which reduces the pressure for the Orlando office to cover Lake County.
As you can see from the above, the issue is not whether the three Legal Aid programs adequately serve Orange, Seminole and Brevard counties. The issue is whether to devote our resources to outside pro bono or to our staff resources. The Legal Aids have robust programs, but limited staff. It is better for our clients for us to devote more staff resources to those counties rather than outside pro bono resources.
I hope this explanation addresses your concerns.
Amy E. Goodblatt, Esq.
Amy E. Goodblatt, P.A.
831 Irma Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
Dr.T. L. Adams, Th D
Subject: Re: Attorney Amy Goodblatt President, Board of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.
Thank you, President Goodblatt;
I Appreciate Your Response and I Request that you Allow the FULL BOARD to Know that:
* Despite the fact that we operate as Committees; this issue is NOT Adequately addressed in the BEST INTERESTS of the CLIENTS of ORANGE, BREVARD and SEMINOLE COUNTIES, and We can Show Concrete EVIDENCE of the LACKING That We Experience with the Legal AID Organization obviously that operate FAR Different than the Community Legal SERVICES and ALL Legal Services Funded Agencies; FAR DIFFERENT.
Once the Board of Directors are Informed of the FACT That Hundreds of Eligible CLIENTS in Orange Seminole and Brevard are Absolutely NOT in agreement with our Esteemed and Very Well BOARD PROTECTED Staff, in comparison to our Input to the Board of Directors, Then What ever Decision that is Made by the Full Board will Determine the RELATIONSHIP That the CLIENTS of Orange, Seminole and Osceola Will have for the Foreseeable Future.
The Board Members Need to Know That we can Provide at Least One Hundred Eligible Clients who will affirm that Both our Agency, and the PRIVATE LEGAL AID Organizations Ignore Clients as an Organized Group and that is very unconstitutional on its face; However, the Majority of Board Members May NOT have Even made aware that it is prudent to Consider our Rights in that Regard.
To Claim That the Use of Private Attorney Involvement in the Largest County; Orange, and Deny our Clients the CHOICE to have Private attorney Involvement, Because one or Two BOARD MEMBERS and the STAFF Want that to be our Position is Wrong on its face; Without Adequate input from the Clients who have been Disparately and Ineffectually Represented by Either Agency, Ours or The Competitors that we Claim by majority vote are Doing Such a Great Job for us, the Clients.
That Claim is Without Merit, or adequate Research with Actual Eligible Clients of Each of the Four Agencies in involved. To make Such a Claim without Adequate Proof of services properly rendered is an affront to us, then Eligible Clients of at least Orange, Brevard, and Seminole Counties.
Furthermore, the So-Called Outreach to these Very Same Eligible Clients is totally Lacking in Orange Seminole and Brevard Counties where several of us on the Board had to Advocate Strongly to have even a small amount of Clients served in Brevard, that was obviously and callously LACKING for Years, During the Worst Economic Climate that our Clients have had to endure in recent years.
We Should not and Cannot Continue to DENY the Access to our Decision Making as a Board to our Most Vulnerable Clients and Expect No One to seek a Better Set of Communications and Solutions.
Please Also Know That your personal concern, and responses have been appreciated by many Clients in Orange Seminole and Brevard Counties.
WE need affirmative Action by any other Name that we must use to Describe it, But What we will not be comfortable with as a Community is: Ignoring Rational and Reasoned Requests to be INCLUDED in the Decisions that affect our Families, our Neighbors and the very same Tax Payers, who these DOLLARS WERE Paid in the Legal Services Corporation to Fund us, and our Need to have these Funds available to us without the Pretense that the Three Legal AID Agencies are Doing Everything that PRIVATE ATTORNEY INVOLVEMENT Would and Can Accomplish with Client Involvement in the 2014 PLAN and Execution of then Expenditures of OUR MONEY. The three Legal AID Agencies absolutely Do NOT Serve our Client Population in the Manner or High Degree tha6t is Needed and is Paid for, our Execution within our Own agency, in CONCERT With Private Attorney Involvement that would also help us with our Other CONTINUING and adamant Concern: Affirmative Action and Equal Employment opportunities that we currently are Sorely Lacking with in terms of Total Community Demographic Equalities.
We are Seriously in need for more Outreach, Private Attorney involvement and INCLUSUION of Racial and Specific COVERED Ethnic and Class Employment in our Professional Ranks and in equal opportunities for Management Work for ALL Minority Groups, Not just the Highly FAVORED ONE Group.
Dr.T. L. Adams, Th D