The founder of a D.C. nonprofit denied any wrongdoing after D.C.’s attorney general announced investigators are looking at how the center was managed, its oversight of programs and finances, and alleged improper use of District grants and charitable donations.
LGBTQ advocate Ruby Corado opened the doors of Casa Ruby 10 years ago as a shelter for LGBTQ youth. The nonprofit has received more than $9 million in grants from the D.C. government since 2016.
For years, Corado was hailed as a hero for an underserved community, but recently questions have been raised about where that money went.
“I’m not a criminal,” she told Telemundo 44. “I don’t commit financial crimes.”
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Speaking with Telemundo 44 from El Salvador, Corado denied any wrongdoing and said it’s the D.C. government that owes Casa Ruby money.
“They engaged in financial strangulation to the point that today, the D.C. government has not paid more than $500,000 to Casa Ruby,” she said.
Earlier this year, the D.C. government cut off funding to Casa Ruby and Corado stepped down.
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D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine tweeted, “Their operations suggest: clear patterns of mismanagement, poor oversight of programs & finances, improper use of District grants & charitable donations.”
He added that Corado appeared to have fled the country and withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars in nonprofit funds after failing to pay employees and vendors.
“I’m sad about it,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “But I also know when we give hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars and vendors aren’t getting paid, employees aren’t getting paid, we’ve got a problem.”
Racine has gone to court to freeze Casa Ruby accounts.
“All of these funds that were both donated and granted, we don’t know where they are,” Deputy Attorney General Kate Konopka said. “We don’t know what’s happening to them; we don’t know how they’ve been spent.”
Corado denied the allegations.
“No, I did not take any money,” she said.
Corado insists she’s being targeted by the D.C. government for her criticism of the Bowser administration and a discrimination complaint she filled against the D.C. Department of Human Services.
“Because they couldn’t deal with a transgender Latina having a platform in the nation’s capital and making a decent living,” she said.
A DHS spokesperson issued a statement saying, “The Department of Human Services is committed to caring for our residents and offering services that are safe, accessible, and inclusive. We don’t publicly comment on the performance of our grantees. We perform due diligence, as a matter of regular practice to ensure fidelity of public funds and administration of quality services.”