RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We asked you to help us find the C.E.O. of a local non-profit company accused of failing to pay its bills and employees. You provided tips that led 12 On Your Side to Brenda Lee -- the chief executive officer of, "Changing Minds Community Service". After weeks of trying to find her, we caught up with her yesterday.
It was a brief encounter. There was only time for a few questions, some of which, Brenda Lee did answer.
The non-profit's C.E.O. Brenda Lee was composed when we found her and selective about which of my questions she answered.
Diane Walker: "Why won't you pay these people Brenda?"
Brenda Lee: "It's not what you think."
Diane Walker: "Well tell me what it is?"
Brenda Lee: "I can't talk to you."
Diane Walker: "They're making all sorts of allegations about you."
Brenda Lee: "I know."
Former employees who called 12 doubt they'll ever get paid for hours worked but all say they want Brenda Lee and her non-profit, 'Changing Minds Community Service', held accountable. They've filed complaints with the labor department and I.R.S.
"I can't draw unemployment because she never paid anything in. I can't file taxes or get a W-2 form because she never did anything. She totally violated me," said former employee Tracy Johnson.
The dozen former employees represent unpaid wages totaling about $45,000.
"I believed in her and a lot of people believed in her," Debra Nilson said.
Also a believer, 'Full Gospel of Christ Fellowship, Inc' Doctors Paul and Fay Richardson. For a small fee, the evangelistic outreach ministry allowed Brenda Lee's organization to use its tax exempt status. That's perfectly legal.
Richardson says he backed out because of irregularities, alerted the I.R.S. and deleted Lee's organization from all affiliation with his.
"We're not getting what we were supposed to be getting. It's just hurting you know," said Trena Carter, prison parolee with Brunswick work camp.
Lee's ministry is helping ex-cons transition after prison. The state prison and city jail used taxpayer's money to place parolees in the program. Those we talked with say they did not get services.
Diane Walker: "Did you take that money and misuse it?"
Brenda Lee: "No, there is no money."
Diane Walker: "Did you ever receive grant money?"
Brenda Lee: "No."
Diane Walker: "Why haven't you paid the employees Brenda? Can you talk to me about your degree Dr. Lee?"
She drives away in a jaguar with 30 day tags.
Richardson says Brenda Lee got her doctoral degree through his 'Spirit of Truth Institute.' She paid a fee, completed the course work and mailed it back. Meantime, several vendors also claim they rendered services and never got paid.