A firestorm is swirling around the non-profit Center for Children’s Advocacy after New York City announced it is cutting ties with the company run by Jack A. Brown III, a member of the Trump’s Hotel and Investment Company, and an attorney for the president.
Philip Laufer, Senior Vice President of New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services, notified CCA’s co-founders on Oct. 1 that the city is ending its contracts, which will not be renewed, due to what it called a “long pattern of inability to comply with city regulations.”
Brown has been on the CCA board of directors since July 2010. A message left at CCA’s New York City headquarters Friday seeking comment on the matter was not immediately returned.
“It is disappointing that CCA has proved unwilling to be co-operative with its clients and unwilling to undertake the responsible thing of hiring full-time lawyers to improve its regulatory compliance so that all charities that do work with children have a bright future,” Laufer wrote.
He added that the action was a necessity because the non-profit has failed to “appoint properly trained independent legal counsel,” or “meaningfully train its executives on proper legal conduct.”
Brown is a partner at Lesnick Rusnak Maurer Louis, Carney and Lindblom LLP, where he focuses on business and real estate. Prior to joining that firm, Brown served as a partner at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he represented major clients in high-stakes transactions and national real estate matters, including several hotels.
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While he currently represents the Trump Organization, he previously represented General Growth Properties and Colony Capital, Inc. according to his bio on the firm’s website.
Laufer wrote that Brown previously “persistently” refused the city’s requests to comply with proper contractual obligations, then prior to the memo was “responsible” for “serious violations” of city laws “such as acting in an abusive or discriminatory manner, breaking the rules with regard to records management, and generally treating city employees and social workers with contempt and disregard.”
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The Department of Citywide Administrative Services announced the end of its contract with CCA for violations relating to its record-keeping, background screening and child advocacy services. The organization is responsible for housing abuse and neglect, obtaining restraining orders for minors and bringing minor arrests to justice, among others.
The end of the non-profit’s contracts come a year after a $1.25 million settlement was agreed to with Edith Casias, an employee of a CCA-run residential facility for girls in Brooklyn, who accused of being sexually assaulted by a resident in 2015. Casias filed a lawsuit after allegedly being threatened with termination by CCA officials. She was not among the women whose work as Child Advocacy Employees was being cut due to the city’s action.
The non-profit has also come under scrutiny from the Washington Post and the National Law Journal regarding its handling of homeless children. The Post found that many children who passed through CCA’s shelters ended up on the streets when they were young because it did not, and still does not, have required staffing levels for child-care centers.
Reuters reported in June that the city had cut ties with CCA over its refusal to comply with regulations and manage records better.
The move comes amid concerns among some in city government about the CCA nonprofit’s ability to run the 11 of its shelters and their campuses in addition to other non-profit organizations. It is not known if this action is related to the mounting criticism over its charitable work.
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