Reporting Mike Puccinelli
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OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A daycare operator says she had to close up shop because a nonprofit economic development agency failed to pay her — and says she’ll never get all the money she’s owed.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, she says as a result, some small children are being hurt in Oak Park.
Dyanna Hughes says her Creative Children’s Daycare should be filled with students. But two weeks ago, Hughes told the parents of those children they could no longer bring their kids to her Oak Park Daycare.
“This was a Head Start classroom, until May 11, when we had to terminate services.
She says she was forced to shut down her Head Start program, and that the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, or CEDA, is to blame.
“They’re not paying” and are two months behind, Hughes said.
And Hughes says she only just received April’s reimbursement check, which she says shorted her $1,000. Hughes adds that she was told not to expect to ever receive money owed for February and March.
“According to the CFO of CEDA, he said he don’t think that’s going to happen,” Hughes said. The chief financial officer told her she was “out of luck,” she said.
Oak Park Village President David Pope says that’s a disgrace.
“It’s outrageous that we end up with CEDA not able to manage their affairs effectively, in a way that so profoundly negatively affects kids and the families of those people,” Pope said.
CEDA officials declined to be interviewed, but did make an on-camera statement.
“CEDA’s board is aware that there are some issues that they need to address. We have a new executive director, and we are currently conducting some internal audits,” said CEDA spokesman Abe Thompson.
But that’s too little, too late for Hughes.
“I will never have CEDA in my program again,” she said. “It’s too stressful.”
CEDA serves more than 240,000 people in Cook County, making it one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit economic development organizations.