Life Focus Loses State Funding

April 20, 2012
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The pressure on embattled Life Focus Center founder and president Jack Millerick to resign has been turned up a notch with word that the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has decided to terminate its contract with the troubled Charlestown non-profit.

That notice of termination, to take effect June 16, will severely impact the LFC’s ability to continue a variety of programs aimed at supporting quality of life measures for many of the handicapped and the profoundly disabled residents of the facility.

“We will spend the next sixty days as we have spent the last thirty-three years: wholly focused on their care and improving the quality of their lives.  We will work closely with DDS during this transition to ensure that these unique programs are preserved for the people who need them,” said Millerick, through the LFC’s spokesman, Larry Rasky of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.

Last week, Father Daniel Mahoney announced that he had resigned as the LFC’s chairman of the board of directors after urging the board to fire Millerick.

In his letter of resignation, Father Mahoney wrote that he had lost all confidence and trust in Millerick as a leader and had been embarrassed by revelations made by the state auditor’s office and by DDS.

“They got it right in their audit,” Father Mahoney told the Patriot-Bridge.

The DDS termination follows that agency’s recent condemnation of the LFC’s alleged misuse of its credit card.

A recent audit of the LFC’s finances by the State Auditor’s office revealed that Millerick had used the card, among other allegations, to buy restaurant meals, liquor and for expenses on a Disney World vacation.

That card has apparently been taken from Millerick and placed for use inside the LFC’s accounting office and is to be used for direct purchases only, according to Justine Griffin, a Rasky Baerlein spokesperson.

Such policy changes did not have a palliative effect on DDS officials, who, last week, said they had significant concerns about Millerick’s use of the card.

A one-year audit revealed $130,000 of questionable expenditures with the credit card – an amount the LFC has said it is willing to repay.

DDS Commissioner Elin Howe rejected that offer and instead urged the LFC to open its books so the state can conduct a five-year review of credit card spending.

For Millerick, the DDS termination of funding came as a disappointment.

The LFC had been working with DDS to upgrade management systems and to comply with the findings and suggestions made in the State Auditor’s report.

About 140 men and women live in the LFC facility.

If the LFC is forced to close its doors, all the present residents will be transferred to other state approved facilities.