Known Bandits!

Why the Known Bandits page is necessary:

The Known Bandits page is paramount for the general public, the Veteran community, as well as other agencies that claim to assist Veterans,  and to be made aware of the behaviors from those on the Known Bandits list.

#1 Florida International University –FIU Agroecology Program
Department of Earth and Environment11200 SW 8th Street,  ECS 157
Miami, Florida 33199
(305) 348-0186

As the Executive Director for the NDVBC, I wanted to take a moment, for the record, to encapsulate our conversations and meetings from, May 2016 through October 2016, regarding the possible alliance between the NDVBC and FIU.  May 2016, the NDVBC reached out to FIU’s Agroecology department with the concept of an alliance for the betterment of agricultural Veteran initiatives.  Dr. Bhat was nothing less than eager to learn about the successes of our initiatives and to share FIU’s results from their received USDA grants. We discussed the joint effort of a national conference, joint grant efforts, as well as apprenticeships and preapprenticeships and our plans to develop Veteran owned cooperatives. Unfortunately, there were promises made by FIU to the NDVBC at such an early stage without the proper authority, which ultimately became unfulfilled promises.  From our experience and seeing the potential, we continued to push through, and after getting, Dean Heithaus involved, the attempted corrections were made so that any possibility of an alliance could then further be explored.  After our first, face to face meeting in West Palm Beach, we seemed to have made clear the value that each of our organizations had to offer with moving forward, hence the recent follow-up meeting was scheduled at FIU on October 4th, 2016.  Unfortunately, disappointment, surprise and embarrassment were in full force once again. It was obvious, the only one present without any surprise was Mike Pischner, as he delivered the news of FIU being an institution of higher learning and could not form any authorized true apprenticeship program, with a glee in his eye I might add.  Unfortunately, Mike Pischner, not being well versed in the definition and legalities of a true apprenticeship program, and making it clear that FIU did not want to offer any NCD program, (even though FIU already offers a certificate program) failed to take the time to learn about the supportive role FIU could have played with the NDVBC and actually created the first “real apprenticeship” of its kind in the country. In summary:

The National Disabled Veteran Business Council, Inc., an advocate for Veterans in business, came to FIU to accentuate their USDA funded agricultural Veteran initiatives with point solutions. Subsequently, FIU failed to understand the role and benefits (which included funding) that FIU could have received. Sadly, these abstracts will be added to the report that our Congressional offices are submitting to the USDA officials.  Our findings are that FIU is absolutely corrupt and over the last 6 months, the NDVBC has wasted our time and resources. The congressional report generated will reflect the fraud that the university has perpetrated with USDA funding as well as the others. The attempt to create a substantive program that would benefit our Veteran community has failed due to multiple systemic causes.

Congratulations, FIU is now on the “Known Bandits” list!

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#2. Wells Fargo Bank – Egregious Behavior to Veteran Service Organization

November 3, 2016

Attn: Board of Directors

Wells Fargo & Company
P.O. Box 63750 or P.O. Box 63710
San Francisco, CA 94163

Dear Board of Directors,

My name is Michael Bolduc and I currently serve as the Executive Director for the National Disabled Veteran Business Council, Inc., a Florida registered 501 (c) 19 Veteran Service Organization, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fl.

The NDVBC provides advocacy for Veterans in business coupled with Accountability and Oversight of Veteran initiatives nationally. The NDVBC has lobbied, supported, and developed positive legislation for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses.

I also serve on the Board of Veteran Community Resources, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization founded by the leadership of the National Disabled Veteran Business Council, Inc., which has developed community benefit programs such as, training, employment and affordable housing for the Veteran community, all of which are from an empowerment platform.

The purpose of this letter is to inform the Wells Fargo Board of Directors of the recent interactions our organizations have had with your employees and specifically with your CUSP and Housing Foundation programs.

The NDVBC has been an approved participant in your CUSP program for two years and recently received our first donation.  Unfortunately, the property being vacant and unattended to for over 10 years, the extensive damage could not be fully disclosed until the completion of the first phase of demolition. This put the project in a very vulnerable financial situation.  At that time our charitable organization, VCR had to apply for a grant through your Housing Foundation.  We were informed that that Housing Foundation grant application was never received or lost.

Through our local Wells Fargo Community relations contact, we were directed to our local Wells Fargo media employee.  Our organization wanted to publish a press release regarding the recent Wells Fargo donation through the CUSP program.  That Wells Fargo employee to date, has not followed through with any of their responsibilities regarding our press release.

The NDVBC received a phone call from the CUSP director, that there was a new grant opportunity available through the VeteranWINS program, and the Wells Fargo employee thought, due to our specific Veteran Affordable Housing Program, it would be ideal for Veteran Community Resources to apply, of which we immediately applied for and eventually were denied the grant award.

During this VeteranWINS application process, it was discovered by Wells Fargo employees that our original Housing Foundation grant application was found and that it would be processed at the top of the applicants list.  We were very excited and grateful that this newly donated property could once again be made available to a deserving Veteran and their family.

We were then notified that, Veteran Community Resources would not be receiving the VeteranWINS grant or the Housing Foundation grant.

Shortly thereafter, we received a call from another Wells Fargo employee asking if we had chosen the Veteran that would be living in the recently donated property, and the question was asked; because of the relationship that Wells Fargo had with the University of Florida and the Wells Fargo employee thought it would be a great opportunity to have an award ceremony at the University of Florida’s upcoming Veterans Day football game.  We were very pleased to hear of such a positive opportunity to participate in and thanked the Wells Fargo employee for the information and that we would respond in several days with the appropriate Veteran.

To date, this Wells Fargo employee has not responded to any of my calls and will not return our committee member’s phone call that has completed the outreach to the Veteran participant for any further details.

For over four years, specific board members from our organization have dealt with our local Wells Fargo Community representative in attempting to match our organizations mission with available Wells Fargo opportunities to no avail.  Our board is thankful that within the last two weeks, a very small donation, in comparison to what is being awarded to other organizations, was committed to Veteran Community Resources by Wells Fargo.

Our Board feels very marginalized by the mean spirited actions of Wells Fargo and would greatly appreciate your Board looking into these matters for rectification prior to our Veterans Day press conference regarding our Veteran Affordable Housing Program.

Respectfully,

Michael Bolduc

 

December 15, 2016

Attn: Board of Directors

Wells Fargo & Company
P.O. Box 63750 or P.O. Box 63710
San Francisco, CA 94163

Dear Board of Directors,

You are in receipt of our November 03, 2016 letter of complaint, which outlined our organizations and missions as well as the initial issues to be addressed.

This is a follow up letter to inform the Board of Directors of that outcome.

Unfortunately, our Board of Directors and the thousands of Veterans that we represent nationally, are highly disappointed with the behavior of Wells Fargo employees and departments that represent the Wells Fargo brand.

Initially, we were very pleased to have received such a prompt response from one of your Vice Presidents of REO Property, Joshua Baade and the perceived authenticity of concern and eagerness to rectify the wrongs done to our organizations.  During that initial conversation, we were told that Wells Fargo was genuinely sorry for all of the unfilled promises and would do whatever was needed to “make things right” once contact was made with the appropriate departments.

To our chagrin, on the subsequent conversation, it was a different story all together.  We were told that Wells Fargo didn’t have any properties in Palm Beach County.  When we checked, there are over 100 properties in Palm Beach County that Wells Fargo owns.  We were told that those properties didn’t meet the “value” for any donation programs.  No answer was given, as to why Wells Fargo continues to allow “zombie” properties to exist in our neighborhoods.  We were told that some of those Wells Fargo owned properties have “legal issues” of which we offered our assistance in rectifying those issues, among other point solutions we offered, it was obvious that there was never any intention in truly “making things right” for our organizations and the Veteran community.

We won’t share every recorded detail of the conversations, in this letter, but would like to share one other point made during our last conversation; when it was stated to us that there are 16 other organizations in Palm Beach County claiming to be doing the same thing, of which is not true and that we are competing with those other 16 for Wells Fargo’s community contribution monies, we shared, how Wells Fargo gave 35 million dollars, to only two organizations, with no oversight and or outcomes.

The success of our Veteran affordable housing program, even though on a comparative small scale, with the initial support from Wells Fargo, could be a highly recognized national success.

We would appreciate that these egregious unfulfilled promises be investigated at an elevated level for proper resolution that is fair and equitable for the Veteran community that our organizations represent.

Please advise.

Respectfully,

Michael Bolduc

Executive Director

January 6, 2017

Still no response….

January 20,2017

Letter Received from Wells Fargo

Wells.Fargo.letter

 

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#3 Salvation Army – Palm Beach County

Kettle Coverup!

The NDVBC has attempted to work with the Salvation Army of Palm Beach County for several years to no avail.  Over the last 18 months the current leadership of the NDVBC has attempted to strategically align with the Center of Hope facility which operates a Transitional Housing Program run by Director Pam Berry and the Residential Re-Entry Center program run by Director Lori Cordero.  The Salvation Army receives State and Federal funding for employment assistance an housing referral as well as a residents per-diem.

As there are a number of participants in both of the above mentioned programs that are Veterans and certainly would benefit from a number of our Veteran initiatives that EMPOWER Veterans on their journey to becoming productive member of society.

To date, neither Directors, Berry or Cordero have had the professional courtesy to collaborate with the NDVBC at any level for the betterment of their Veteran residents.  Through the outreach efforts of the NDVBC and VCR, there have been two success stories which involve former residents of the Center of Hope facility.

The first success story was a Veteran that was paying 25% of his net pay to be housed in barrack style living conditions and wanted to move to a place of his own.  Without any assistance from the Center of Hope Directors or Counselors, this Veteran was able to take advantage of the Veteran Affordable Housing Program that, at the time, was operated by the NDVBC.  The Veteran happily moved out of the Salvation Army and moved into his own apartment.  This Veteran was able to work and save enough money to eventually purchase a vehicle.  The independence and self worth that this Veteran was able to achieve through empowering strategies, is a marked difference from the Veteran’s past experiences of enabling and entitling strategies.

The second success story is about a Veteran and former resident of the Salvation Army Center of Hope facility.  This Veteran was actively searching for employment for eight months and was always discouraged by the Salvation Army staff whenever the possibility of a job existed.  This very same experience was encountered again when the opportunity of paid skill assessment and self employment was made available through the NDVBC.  The Executive Director of the NDVBC at the time, had to call, as well as, write to the Directors of the Salvation Army Center of Hope to allow this Veteran these opportunities.

Eventually, through persistent pressure, the Directors allowed this Veteran to participate in the empowering Veteran initiatives that the NDVBC offered.  This Veteran was so eager to be successful, there was no stopping him.  His attitude, work ethic, and eagerness to learn was impressive to say the least.

This Veteran not only successfully completed the assessment aspect of the program, but ahead of the standard projected schedule.  This Veteran was also promoted to a supervisory position and continues to this day with his achievements.

During this time period, there were other Salvation Army Center of Hope Veterans and non Veterans alike, that became aware of the opportunities that the NDVBC offers, and wanted to participate.  The Directors were very negative and steered these potential candidates away from the NDVBC.  The staff began making defamatory and slanderous remarks against the NDVBC as well as specific Board members.

When the leadership of the NDVBC brought this information to the NDVBC Board of Directors, it was decided to contact the Salvation Army’s Florida Divisional Headquarters with a formal complaint and request to investigate this egregious behaviors. (SalvationArmyComplaint) Several days later, Major Cameron Henderson from Divisional Headquarters contacted the leadership of the NDVBC by phone.  During this telephone conversation, Major Henderson emphasized the importance of the received letter and that the Salvation Army would launch an immediate investigation to resolve these serious complaints.  Major Henderson also stated that the NDVBC would be receiving a telephone call the same day or at the latest, the next, from a Major Pierre Smith from the Salvation Army Center of Hope Palm Beach County campus, to introduce himself and begin the process for resolution.

Unfortunately, that call never came.  After a follow up email Good morning Major Henderson to Major Henderson, the NDVBC did receive this email MajorHendersonResponse followed by a phone call from a Denese Wright on behalf of Major Smith, explaining his out of town absence coupled with a promise phone call from Major Smith upon his return.  Weeks later from the original request for investigation, Major Smith did call and scheduled an appointment for the following week.Respond to Major Henderson

During this time period, the NDVBC Board of Directors decided to seek the investigative skills from a CBS affiliate, WPTV.  The reporter was very interested in the story and spent a considerable amount of time interviewing on camera, the above mentioned Veteran as well as the current NDVBC Board President. The story was waiting for WPTV producer approval and scheduling for airing, when the Salvation Army sent their legal representation after WPTV ultimately causing WPTV to drop the story.

Subsequently, the Salvation Army’s legal counsel sent a Cease and Desist Harassment of the Salvation Army letter (Letter to M. Bolduc 2.13.17) to the NDVBC for our advocacy to Veterans.  The letter contains outright lies.  Not surprising from their past and present behaviors.  The Salvation Army has no evidence whatsoever to corroborate any of their accusations whereas the NDVBC  has scores of documentation to prove the misdeeds of their behaviors.

Oh, how the story changed overnight.  It went from a concerned Salvation Army leadership, to a let’s lawyer up and scare them off tactic.  Well, they scared off WPTV with a legal threat.  But the NDVBC will not step off, will not be bullied and will not stop exposing the egregious behavior from the Salvation Army Palm Beach County.

The Salvation Army Palm Beach County has now been added to the “Known Bandits” list!

Stay tuned…

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