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Dissecting the Assault on the CAO

Sabirah Muhammed, Buffalo Challenger

How dare a news organization use its vast resources to launch a sustained, vicious attack on the CAO and its head, L. Nathan Hare, with only hearsay, innuendo, and outright lies undergirding a literal fairytale, concocted with a hidden, ulterior motive that we have yet to discover. It is this writer’s belief however, that the Mayor of the city is the true target of this campaign.

Four CAO board members set out to fire CAO head Mr. L. Nathan Hare in October of 2018, because he “had kept them in the dark about important financial information and believe he had mishandled some vital grants.” Stop right there. Audits had been done for that very year, as well as for 2017, and it’s probably safe to conclude that the board had access to them.

Secondly, are we to believe that a man who took an agency from over $4million in debt to a surplus within three years, more than doubled its budget to over $50million, and nearly tripled its workforce during his tenure… “mishandled some vital grants?’

As the news fairytale continues, Mr. Hare allegedly used political connection to fire the board members instead and then cancelled a forensic audit they’d scheduled to sniff out whatever he’s hiding. Adding insult to injury, the wicked CEO has his henchmen bar them from the next board meeting where they’d planned to cut up in front of cameras, and left them huddled in the cold.

Truth be told, the CAO is well able to defend itself and has already done so. The board has used the email of the main accuser Jennifer Shank to document to outright lie that at the same time that a board majority voted to fire Hare, “the directors hired a forensic accountant to examine the books and shed more light on the agency’s finances.” Ms. Shank’s own email shows an accountant was hired in late December, 2018 to begin work on January 10, 2019. No audit was stopped, because it never started.

The CAO has asked the Buffalo News to correct its reporting, citing the malicious damage being done to the organization and its leadership. But apparently, that’s the intent. It’s been reported that CAO attorney Adam Perry fired the four board members. Not so. He only informed them of the termination, which was done according to agency by-laws, something the four members are well aware of. We’re limited on what we can say about the matter, but we know what these four know: that if their termination was improper, they’d be operating in a court of law, not the court of public opinion.

Much ado was made of the disgruntled board members being blocked form a meeting, but they announce their plans to create mayhem ahead of time! “A confrontation is expected to erupt Monday at the Community Action Organization,” the March 3rd newspaper reads. “At least two former directors, who were pushed off the board after trying to fire the politically connected CEO, intend to demand reinstatement when the board meets again.”

-Continued Next Week-

Dissecting the Assault on the CAO: Part 1 of 2-Part Series