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RI Agency Investigated for Mismanaged Funds

November 29, 2011 -- The Providence Community Action Program (ProCAP) got a new interim director last week after Executive Director Frank Corbishley was suspended and replaced in the wakes of accusations of mismanagement of federal funds.

Providence City Councilman and ProCAP Chairman Michael Solomon suspended Corbishley November 22, along with Chief Operating Officer William Bentley, after reports that ProCAP employees were shredding documents at its Hartford Avenue offices.

Wednesday, the board formally voted to approve the indefinite suspension of Corbishly without pay and install Frank Shea as interim director.  Shea is the executive director of the Olneyville Housing Corporation, a position he's held since 2000. The appointment is expected to last six months to a year, and Corbishley is not expected to return in any capacity.

After hearing the shredding allegation, Solomon went to the ProCAP offices with Providence Police, who confiscated several bags of shredded documents. Corbishley's attorney says those documents were copies, not originals, and that nothing illegal was occurring.

A recent audit into ProCAP found hundreds of thousands in state and federal dollars meant for various vendors was instead given to past due accounts. An auditor said thousands of dollars were transferred to accounts including Rhode Island Housing, Assistance for Needy Families fund, and other accounts totaling nearly $675,000, instead of paying vendors.  

The state decided not to distribute a $1.7 million weatherization grant through the agency and about $5 million in LIHEAP money is pending if the agency cannot make serious improvements. Solomon recently called the situation at ProCAP "unsalvageable."

Source: RI newspapers