LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3.com) -- The money was meant to help local kids living on the street.
News 3 has exclusively obtained a complaint filed with the Attorney General's office. The complaint is against former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion.
It all stems from how she handled money as a city councilwoman, in connection with her work with the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. Vermillion is the founder and CEO of NPHY. News 3's Mackenzie Warren broke the story.
The complaint was filed by the current executive director of the organization, Arash Ghafoori. Ghafoori is currently on administrative leave. In the complaint, Ghafoori alleges Vermillion has committed fraud and says Vermillion transferred restricted funds improperly.
Ghafoori says the transfer was then used to pay her own salary and personal expenses, including a $51,000 bill that listed a five-night-stay at a presidential suite at a San Diego hotel. Ghafoori also alleges in the complaint to the AG, that Vermillion misappropriated City of Henderson funds for her personal benefit.
He claims she, in essence, tried to use the NPHY to "launder" the money. News 3 obtained an itemized list of Vermillion's city council discretionary fund spending. The report revealed Vermillion gave more than $10,000 to her own charity, NPHY.
Ghafoori says normally that would not be wrong. But says what makes it wrong is Vermillion then took the Henderson money donated to NPHY, and transferred it to her Homeless Youth Foundation. That foundation exists to support the charity; Ghafoori says she took the money to pay her personal salary and expenses. Vermillion earns $125,000 a year.
News 3 spoke to several former board members--none of whom would go on the record. But on the record, current NPHY board member John Simmons issued this statement
"I have not left because if I have been bamboozled, I will be very upset and will hold those accountable,” Simmons said.
News 3 also spoke with Vermillion, and while the majority of the conversation was off the record, she did go on record saying she "vehemently denies the claims of fraud and welcomes an audit by the attorney general's office.”
After Vermillion left her position with the Henderson City Council, she returned to her full-time role as CEO of NPHY and sources say tension within the non-profit began to brew between Vermillion and Ghafoori.
Before the complaint was filed on January 11th, there was a mass exodus of board members. In all, eight board members left the charity. There are just five who remain on the NPHY board.
In the complaint, Ghafoori calls the board members out and says the group of eight should have taken action before it came to this. The Attorney General’s office believes the review of the complaint will be a lengthy process and could take between eight to ten weeks.