Ex-CEO of Atlanta nonprofit accused of misusing funds meant to assist refugees and minorities

  • Protestors have accused a local nonprofit located in Atlanta of misusing funds meant to help minorities and refugees.
  • Chaiwon Kim, a former co-CEO of the Center for Pan-Asian Community Services (CPACS) has been accused of appropriating the money for personal use and unfairly hiring and compensating family members.
  • The other co-CEO, Dr. Jung Ha Kim, claimed that she had been fired for speaking out.
  • In a moment of solidarity, staff walked out of CPACS with Dr. Jung on Friday.

Several people gathered outside a local nonprofit organization in Atlanta earlier this week to protest its alleged misuse of funds meant to help minorities and refugees.

The Center for Pan Asian Community Service (CPACS) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on serving Asian Americans and other underrepresented populations in Atlanta. Chaiwon Kim, one of its former co-CEOs, is accused of appropriating the nonprofit’s money for personal use.

Kim, who was allegedly terminated recently from her position, has reportedly been telling staff members that she is retiring. 

Protesters gathered outside CPACS on Monday, chanting and waving signs in response to the recent controversy. 

Dr. Jung Ha Kim, the other co-CEO, was recently fired, which she believes was retaliation for speaking out against Kim’s alleged mistreatment of staff members and misuse of CPACS’ money. She was hand-served a dismissal letter on Thursday with “no justification or context given for the firing.”

“(It’s) not only unfair to an underappreciated staff, but the fact that people are working here and she took the credit. And she used and abused the funding that they had from taxpayer money that she used for her own personal profit. That speaks painfully and deeply to all of us,” Dr. Kim told WSB-TV. 

A staff member at CPACS, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that Dr. Kim was unjustly terminated from her position. 

“CPACS has community within its name, yet the only time I feel a sense of community is when I’m outside of the building,” they told NextShark. “I couldn’t care less about the wage I got when Chaiwon Kim was CEO, because I cared about working for the community. However, in the less than one-and-a-half years that Dr. Jung Ha Kim was CEO, I felt more sense of community than ever before. This incredible woman single-handedly brought purpose and meaning back into the mission statement that CPACS staff has long been working for.”

The anonymous staff member said they and their coworkers have felt outrage at the situation. 

“My coworkers and I are not protesting because we want to, but because we have to. How dare a minority woman already bring down the close to 99 percent minority staff that have been working for her, and when her replacement did not live up to her dictatorship standards, she convinced the board of directors to have this said replacement fired,” the staff member said. 

An internal investigation launched into CPACS “revealed concerns in several facets of CPACS’ operations” where some require “immediate internal responsive action.” 

It was discovered that Kim and her husband had allegedly spent approximately $400,000 on renovations for four buildings that they owned between 2013 and 2021. 

Kim had also hired several family members and allegedly showed “nepotism and favoritism in compensation.” She appointed her son as the director of HR and approved of a significant salary increase that was “atypical for the rest of the staff.” Kim had also hired her sister in 2022, and staff members chosen by Kim showed significant salary increases of around 20-36 percent. Other staff members reported around a five percent salary raise. 

In addition, the investigation found that Kim had spent around $47,000 in 2020 to purchase two Hyundai vehicles. She also compensated her husband for medical services although he did not report for work and was unable to perform clinical services. 

The investigation listed many other improper purchases, including gas cards, Costco purchases and furniture. 

On Friday, Dr. Kim and staff members walked out of CPACS in solidarity. A GoFundMe was launched to support staff members.

An interim CEO has been hired in the meantime.

 

Featured Image: YouTube

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