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Monday, September 5, 2011

In the Black


We have wonderful news. Priority One Credit Union has finally extricated itself from the RED. After years of reporting only monthly losses, during the month of June, the credit union reported net income at an impressive $834,608. That is indeed good news. 

Of course, we have to approach any disclosure to success by the credit union, with the utmost caution. After all, President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. is known to employ manipulative financial reporting practices including transferring funds from credit union ledgers ("GL") and fraudulently reporting these as profit. 

Because the President and none of the other officers at the credit union have ever responded to our requests they provide evidence of the alleged and infrequent profits reported by the credit union, we thought we'd revisit some of Priority One's past, financials. 

  • On 12/31/06, the date former President, William E. Harris retired, Priority One's asset size was $172,250,649. During the first quarter of 2008, President Wiggington informed the Board of Directors that each month since the beginning of the year, Priority One had sustained millions of dollars in losses of net income. 
  • In mid-2008, in an effort to allegedly offset losses and to increase the credit union's worth on paper, the Board approved the borrowing of $20 million from the credit unions' line-of-credit, something no other President of the credit union had ever done in its more than 80 year history. The cost of the deception forced the credit union to pay between $30,000 and $59,000 in monthly interest against the loan. This was also the period in which President Wiggington announced he was "streamling" and working smarter. 
  • By march 31, 2008, the credit union's net income declined by $6 million, reducing the credit union's asset worth to $166,570,752. 
  • On June 30, 2008, the credit union reported its asset size at $171,310,441 however, after deducting the unpaid $20 million from their reported worth, their actual size was $151,310,441.
  • On March 31, 2009, the credit union reported its asset size at $178,958,351 but following deduction of the unpaid $20 million loan, their actual worth was $158,958.351.
  • On June 31, 2009, the credit union reported net income at $184,046,965 but the actual amount was $164,046,965, after deduction of the $20 million loan borrowed in mid-2008 by the President. At the time, the credit union had lost approximately $8 million since Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. became President on January 1, 2007.
  • In September 2009, the credit union paid $10 million against the $20 million loan.
  • On September 31, 2009, the credit union reported its asset size as $168,211,115 though their actual asset size was $158,211,115 (after deduction of the remaining $10 million unpaid balance due on the original $20 million loan). 
  • By December 2009, their asset size declined to $155,835,129 ($165,8435,129 reported net income minus $10 million).
  • Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. was appointed President on January 1, 2007. From 01/01/07 though 12/31/09, total losses of net income approximated $17 million.  
  • In February 2010, the President and COO, Beatrice Walker, disclosed that Priority One generate profits of over $200,000 during the month of January 2010.
  • In March 2010, the accounting department disclosed that profits were never generated in January. The profits alluded to by President Wiggington and COO Walker were actually monies transferred from one of the credit union's general ledgers and fraudulently reported the transferred amount as profit.  


You couldn't make up the things that happen at Priority One Credit Union. Since 2007, the credit union has been the site of far flung scandals, usually perpetrated by the President, enabled by Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, and assisted by the credit union's other incompetent executive officers. 

This past June, the credit union along with its attorneys worked frantically to create a defense to respond to the allegations contained in the lawsuit filed by former Burbank Branch Manager, Linda Nisely. The former officer alleges she was subjected to age, race, and gender discrimination. Ms. Nisely is one of the few White employees hired by the credit union. Priority One hires few Asians or Whites, primarily hires Latins and Blacks. Hiring is performed by Rodger Smock who is also White but who has disclosed in the past, that he hires according to what the Board and President have ordered him to do. The Board is comprised of 4 Black Directors and the President is Black. On the other hand, Priority One's membership is made up of Whites, Asians, Latins and Blacks. What's more, the credit union was founded by White postal carriers. 

In early 2008, Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, exceeded her assigned authority and ordered that she be provided the drafts of all impending promotions so that she could review and approve these. According to AVP, Rodger Smock, Mrs. Harris-Brooks wanted to make certain that all advertising contained images of Afro-Americans since in her opinion, the majority of the credit union' s member are Afro-Americans. She was again, incorrect. 

The credit union and its attorneys, Richardson, Harmon, Ober, are fervently working to concoct a defense that successfully opposes everyone of Linda Nisely's allegations. 


Mrs. Nisely was initially hired to serve as Assistant Branch Manager of the now defunct, Valencia branch. 

In 2009, the credit union transferred Assistant Burbank Branch Manager, Nora Neale-Torres, to the Valencia branch and promoted her to the post of Branch Manager. The reason why Mrs. Neale-Torres was transferred is because the Valencia branch was physically closer to her home in Lancaster, California and because the position of Branch Manager had become available at the Valencia office. 

The credit union also decided to transfer Mrs. Nisely to the Burbank branch where she was promoted to Branch Manager. The reason for transferring Mrs. Nisely is that the Burbank branch was physically closer to her home in Temple City, California. Logistically, both transfers made sense. 

In her allegations against Priority One, Mrs. Nisely alleges that the credit union promoted Mrs. Neale-Torres and transferred her to Valencia only because she is Latin. Mrs. Nisely also states that she was never contacted and asked if she wanted to transfer to the Burbank branch and that the reason why she wasn't first consulted about the transfer is because she is a White woman.  .

There has to be some sense of reasonableness to any allegation and we just don't comprehend Mrs. Nisely's complaint, for the following reasons: 
  • The drive from Mrs Nisely's home in Temple City, California to Valencia, California is a total of 106 miles roundtrip whereas the drive from Temple City to Burbank and back is a total of 54 miles. Is Mrs. Nisely kidding? We're not in anyway detractors of Mrs. Nisely's decision to file a lawsuit against the credit union but the fact is, the miles driven by her to and from work was reduced by almost approximately 50%. She is clearly trying to vilify what was a decision to accommodate her driving.  
  • With the transfer, Mrs. Nisely was promoted to the post of Burbank Branch Manager and granted an increase in salary. This again benefited her. We can't fathom that this could ever be construed as a negative, except maybe by Ms. Nisely. 
Contrary to her allegations, Mrs. Nisely was promoted despite the fact she is a White female. Where is the discrimination? In fact, the credit union doesn't often hire White people. In fact, we consider the credit union's Board to be staffed by mostly racist Directors. One reason we believe they are racist is that in October 2006, Directors O. Glen Saffold, Thomas Gathers, and Janice Irving disclosed that they selected Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. to to succeed William E. Harris as President because "the credit union needs a Black President." So skin color trumped competency. If one were to believe Mrs. Nisely's allegation that she was discriminated against because she is White, then how does she explain her promotion to Branch manager of the Burbank office? 


In June, former CFO, Manny Gaitmaitan, was served a subpoena and ordered to attend a deposition scheduled to take place on July 21, 2011 at the offices of Richardson, Harmon and Ober in Pasadena, California. The intent of the deposition was to obtain testimony from the former CFO that would attest that the reason Mrs. Nisely was terminated was because the company could no longer afford to keep her employed. 

Of course, Richardson, Harmon and Ober's purpose for subpoenaing Mr. Gaitmaitan were undermined by statements made in early 2010, by former COO, Beatrice Walker, who boasted during a meeting with Branch Managers and AVP's that she was planning on terminating Mrs. Nisely and that would wait six (6) months before hiring a new Assistant Branch Manger. Ms. Walker explained that under state law, a company may terminate an employee using the excuse that their position is being phased and then, wait six (6) months before refilling the post. She said it "is a wonderful way to get rid of people you don't want and then legally, replace them." 

Ms. Walker also could also not refrain from sharing what she should have known constitutes personal and confidential information and advised the branch managers and AVP's that the reason she targeted Mrs. Nisely for termination is that AVP, Sylvia Perez, had lodged several complaints accusing Mrs. Nisely of refusing to visit the community in Burbank because she allegedly suffered problems with her legs. 

However, while Mr. Gaitmaitan was answering questions, the deposition was abruptly ended because of objections form Mrs. Nisely's attorney. The attorneys objected to the line of questioning by Priority One's attorneys. The initial disagreement escalated into a full blown argument concluding with a postponement of the deposition though it was agreed to resume the deposition at a later date. Because Mr. Gaitmaitan lives in Lake Castaic, California, both parties offered to reconvene at his residence. 

The decision to call Mr. Gaitmaitan as a witness for the credit union ignores the fact that in 2009, due to his refusal to alter financial reporting, Mr. Gaitmaitan found himself ostracized by President Wiggington; COO, Beatrice Walker; and AVP, Rodger Smock. The three entered into a childish campaign shunning the CFO and which in time, forced Mr. Gaitmaitan's resignation. The dysfunctional trio forced the CFO out for refusing to compromise ethics and only one month following his departure (on 12/31/09), the three altered the January 2010 Monthly Income Statement to show profits that never occurred and to reduce the actual amount of losses. 


This past June, former Valencia Branch Manager and personal friend of Employee Services Manager, Esmeralda Sandoval, Nora Neale-Torres was subpoenaed at her home. 

Before being subpoenaed, Mrs. Neale-Torres, was contacted by an attorney from Richardson, Harmon, and Ober and asked if she would testify. A few days before being subpoenaed, Mrs. Neale-Torres asked her "friend", Esmeralda Sandoval to please not provide her address or telephone number to attorneys, but Miss Sandoval, who is known as the company stoolie, violated her friend's wishes. 

When she returned home a few days later, she discovered a car parked in her driveway, blocking her entry into her garage. A woman stepped out and served her a subpoena. Mrs. Neale-Torres discovered that she was being subpoenaed by Mrs. Nisely's attorneys who had gotten her address and telephone number from Richardson, Harmon and Ober's attorney. 

During  the deposition, Mrs. Mrs. Neale-Torres described Mrs. Nisely as lazy, abusive and a racist who hates Latins. Without actually asking Mrs. Nisely about how she feels about Latins, the popular consensus at Priority One is that she does hates Latins. 

Following the deposition, Richardson, Harmon and Ober's attorney contacted Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks and President Wiggington informing them that Mrs. Neale-Torres had been subpoenaed by Mrs. Nisely's attorney but her statements made during the deposition actually served to impugn Mrs. Nisley's character. The President would later giddily divulge that Richardson, Harmon and Ober's attorney said Mrs. Neale-Torres agreed to testify that Mrs. Nisely:
  • Was abusive to staff
  • Was a racist who hates Latins
  • Refused to visit the communities served by the Burbank branch
  • Was lazy and unproductive while at work, spending hours in her office, perusing the Internet and shopping instead of working.
What's more, Richardson, Harmon and Ober's attorney was so impressed by the potential impact Mrs. Neale-Torres' testimony would have upon Mrs. Nisley's allegations that hey offered to represent Mrs. Neale-Torres at no cost to herself though clearly, Priority One would be billed for her testimony. 

It appeared to be a stroke of good luck for the corrupt President, COO, and Board Chair. But their hope in Mrs. Neale-Torres' testimony would be would be short-lived. 


If Mrs. Nisely was known to be a racist who abused staff and refused to carryout her assigned responsibilities, which by the way, are all violations of credit union policy, then why did COO, Beatrice Walker terminate her using the excuse that the credit union was phasing out Mrs. Nisely's position because the credit union could no longer afford to pay her? 

Ms. Walker like President Wiggington are not even proficient at treachery. What do these two actually do well because it certainly isn't the ability to create new business or their addiction to undermine employee reputations?

And if Mrs. Nisely were truly a horrendous officer then why was she transferred from the Valencia branch where she served as Assistant Branch Manager and transferred to the Burbank branch where she was promoted to Branch manager? 

And if racism is to be a weapon wielded by the the credit union's attorney, then their probably going to have to explain why on May 5, 2010, COO, Beatrice Walker, publicly described the "Mexican" employees employed by the credit union as "members of the Mexican Mafia"? The President, Human Resources and the Board are well aware of her racist and inflammatory statements yet to date, have refused to take disciplinary action against the COO. Under credit union policy,racist acts and statements will result in termination. Why hasn't Beatrice Walker been terminated?  

We know Mrs. Nisely. We also know that some of Mrs. Neale-Torres' statements are true and witnessed by many employees. We also know that the President and Rodger Smock were well aware of her abusive tendencies yet in the end, they didn't use insubordination, creation of a hostile work environment or racism as the reason for terminating the Branch Manager. Instead, they chose to use the excuse that Priority One could no longer afford to pay her salary though based on Beatrice Walker's boasting, she intended to replace Mrs. Nisley within six months following her termination. 

    Mrs. Neale like former CFO, Manny Gaitmaitan, was harassed and eventually expelled from the credit union. In the months before she resigned, Mrs. Neale-Torres was subject to a constant campaign of harassment perpetrated by AVP, Sylvia Perez. 

    In 2009, two employees of the Valencia branch, Judith Barajas and Dana Gilliam entered into a campaign that disparaged Mrs. Neale-Torres' reputation to notorious AVP, Sylvia Perez. Mrs. Perez never verified what she was told but instead launched a campaign which constantly scrutinized Mrs. Neale-Torres' abilities, questioned her work ethic, and level accusations that she was failing to carryout her assigned responsibilities. On a side note, if the names of Judith Barajas and Dana Gilliam sound familiar is because these are the two same women who provided Beatrice Walker fraudulent testimony while she exacted a vicious attack on the last Valencia Branch Manager. 

    It's rather peculiar that Mrs. Perez chose to target Mrs. Neale-Torres who had a established a well-documented record as a successful Business Development Representative and later, a successful Assistant Branch Manager. 

    What's more, Mrs. Perez was assigned to the Burbank branch, the same office where Linda Nisely served as Branch Manager, yet apparently never documented any of the violations of policy which would be subsequently revealed by Mrs. Neale-Torres during her deposition at the offices of Richardson, Harmon and Ober

    Exasperated and tired, Mrs. Neale eventually resigned.  However, before resigning, Mrs. Neale-Torres contacted both President Wiggington and AVP, Rodger Smock, and told them she was contemplating resigning because she could no longer endure harassment at the hands of Mrs. Perez. Neither office felt impelled to conduct an investigation of her allegations. 

    On yet another side note, a few weeks following her departure from the credit union, Mrs. Neale was contacted at home by Mrs. Perez who apologized for the abusive treatment she subjected her to. We guess, it was just an attempt by the horrible AVP to free herself off any guilt she felt for the abuses she perpetrated against Mrs. Neale-Torres. 

    And though Mrs. Neale-Torres may believe Linda Nisely is a racist, the fact is she was forced to resign because of abuses perpetrated by Mrs. Perez, a Latina, and Mrs. Barajas, another Latina and Miss Gilliam, a Black woman. 

    As for Mrs. Nisely, she going to have to find something a lot more convincing than the fact she was not informed she was being transferred to the Burbank Branch where she would be promoted to serve as that office's Branch Manager. Currently, her allegations are preposterous if not outright silly. What's more, over the years of her employment there were many complaints filed against her with Human Resources though as is typical of AVP, Rodger Smock, the allegations were not investigated. 

    Though we fully understand that attorneys hired to represent a defendant must raise defenses using evidence they uncover, we are starting to get the impression that the credit union's legal counsel may be prone to unscrupulous behaviors and if so, that makes them bottom feeders. 

    Priority One's deficient Board is using credit union monies to fabricate a defense that will ideally, enable them from paying Mrs. Nisely a cent. Yet, they approved paying Beatrice Walker more than $100,000 per year whose personal behaviors and failed enterprises resulted in her termination after only two-years of employment. She was paid approximately $200,000 before it was decided she wasn't succeeding. The same Board has not only maintained Charles R. Wiggington, Sr.'s continued employment but allow him to be paid more than $150,000 per year, not including bonuses. If anything, just pay Mrs. Nisely a small, tidy settlement and send her on her way. After all, they had no problems with her when she was insubordinate or while she was abusing employees. 


    In June and again in July, Consumer Loan Manager, Joseph Garica, disclosed that loan funding is down and that President Wiggington is "worried." Mr. Garcia maybe more than a little misinformed. New membership development has taken a large dip while account closures have increased, particularly amongst employees of the United States Postal Service who represent the credit union's largest single sector of its entire membership. We also recently noticed that the credit union is refusing to adjust references to their actual number of members. The President doesn't want the public to know that account closures have substantially increased. 

    However, Director of Project Management, Yvonne Boutte, recently boasted the charge-offs have decreased though she failed to mention that the number of accounts referred for collection proceedings have increased. 

    Caustic AVP, Sylvia Perez, recently stated that the credit union's Monthly Income Statements shows that "business is great" proving she either doesn't understand the information provided in the statements or she's lying or she read the Monthly Income Statements belonging to another credit union. 

    The evidence- Monthly Income Statements and quarterly Financial Performance Reports prove Priority One is a credit union in decline. Despite the EVIDENCE, the President and his stoolies insist everything is great at a credit union's whose asset size is shrinking and that is the subject of lawsuits filed against it by former employees. 

    Our advice to anyone choosing to embrace the President's verbal assurances is that they remember this is a man who believes his own fabricated hype and who will never provide documentation to prove his statements but hopes in earnest that you'll believe anything he says at face value. 

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