Former Agape Cook Tracy Barker On Director Alyssa Blais – Interview One – Oct 29, 2013

Former Agape Cook Tracy Barker On Director Alyssa Blais – Interview One – Oct 29, 2013

AblaisAGAPECornwall Ontario –  It’s never easy tackling allegations of corruption, cronyism, nepotism, and incompetence, but then many positive things in life only come by tackling the tough stuff.

Tracy Barker is a very brave woman.   She’s also very frustrated after leaving the Agape Centre where she worked as a cook for a number of years.

Recently she was interviewed by CFN one on one which we are now going to release, but in the interim she was sent a threatening letter by the Ottawa Law firm of Emond Harnden.

The Agape Centre, that also is alleged to have recently settled (stated to have been for $5,000) one of at least four cases with former staff currently pending or in play.

Lawyer J.D. Sharp threatened the humble cook with grave sanctions and lawsuit for comments she made on Facebook.

I tried to separate myself from the crap, but it was too hard to do

That comment and others like it triggered a lengthy legal letter estimated to have cost the charity over $500 to produce.   Not only did it demand that comments made on a Facebook page that only Facebook friend could see be pulled down, but a retraction and apology printed and also communicated to others.

Ms Barker pulled down the comments, but has refused to apologize to Alyssa Blais, director or the Agape Centre.

As Tracy stated:

I definitely have a lot to say but too bad the centre has to take the bad because of people like her that are there to destroy what we have done over the years.

And now for Ms Barker’s interview with CFN.

CFN 

When did you first work for the Agape?

Tracy Barker

I started in February of 2008.

CFN 

And when were you fired? Were you officially fired? What was the cause they put on your papers?

 

Tracy Barker

I was fired August 30th.  Officially?

I’m not there anymore and my paper says nothing about why i was terminated.

CFN 

So what did they put down as your cause of leaving? Were you able to get Unemployment funds?

We’re you given severance or a settlement of any sort?    Notice?

Tracy Barker

No notice,just showed up to work and they cornered me in Lori’s office said they heard that i disrespected a co-worker but could not tell me who or what was said and they said i was terminated.

They gave me five weeks pay in lieu of notice but if anyone knows me i would never disrespect anybody especially someone i work with.

We had an amazing team of staff and volunteers at the center we just can’t seem to find the right people to run the place.

 

CFN 

When did things change at the Agape for you? You were there prior to Alyssa and Lori coming on board?

Tracy Barker

Yes,it was a mess when the old ex-director was there and when Alyssa came on board we thought it would change and it did she cut a lot of our services and has no people skills.

Lori’s position was never a necessity it only came about a year before she started.

I didn’t bother with unemployment because i have another job.

CFN 

What services did Alyssa cut?   And what was your position at the Agape?

Tracy Barker

I was the head cook-kitchen supervisor.

CFN 

Did you ever have an argument or issue with either Lori or Alyssa?

Were you surprised to be let go or were you ever reprimanded while on duty?

Tracy Barker

The only issues i have ever had were that at lunch time there is no hot water to do the dishes,we do not have an accessible table for the challenged(wheelchairs)and when the other cook is on the kitchen is dirty and i spoke to her on many occasions about this but it never was solved.

Everybody thought i would be there forever,i love what we do there but things need an overhaul.

I was never reprimanded the whole time i was employed there.

 

CFN 

Tracy working at the Agape was not the highest paying job; what was it that you loved so much about working there?

How did you feel when Lori & Alyssa let you go?

Tracy Barker

I worked at the center for the people who needed me.

I gave them 100%everyday and i believe we need the center for the city just to give a little nudge until payday or to help a child stay warm.

When i started i was making 9.60 an hr and when i left i was making 11.70.I wasn’t there for the paycheck.

My relationship with lori was good.  I just catered a wedding for her nephew in July.

My relationship was sour with Alyssa from the beginning.

CFN 

In your opinion did other people lose their jobs in the same manner that you did?

On Facebook you suggested that people close to Alyssa or Lori were hired?

Lori’s husband was hired at one point, correct?

 

Tracy Barker

Yes and he had to be let go also.

Alyssa’s daughter worked with her this summer,her friend frank works there i don’t really know what he does

Lori’s son had his picture taken for the posters of hungry children,

There are a lot of things happening that shouldn’t be i just don’t want the center to suffer because of mis management.

I would like to tell you a situation i had with Alyssa but i do not think it should be made public but then you will understand how hard it was to work with Alyssa.

toddmurphgrahamCFN 

Just to clarify, when you mention he above you mean Lori’s husband Graham? Is Frank, Frank Burelle?

To your knowledge were people let go prior to them being hired for the same position

 

Tracy Barker

Graham worked there and yes frank burelle.

No,The ex director resigned and the operations manager found other employment

The center lost some amazing people since they have taken over and they cannot run without the hard work of the volunteers.

CFN 

To your knowledge how many volunteers were let go like Gary Samler and his wife?

 

Tracy Barker

Some were asked to leave and others left because they did not want to work under lori and alyssa.

About 6 from the kitchen alone if they don’t like you you’re gone

We had a couple that was there for many years and they were selected as volunteers of the year a few times well lori didn’t like them because they spoke up during meetings ect so they just got fed up and left.

Another volunteer who is still there has been suggested for volunteer of the year at least two years in a row and because Alyssa doesn’t like him she refused.

CFN 

Do you think that Alyssa & Lori need to go? Do you think the board needs changing?

After your experience do you support the Agape under its current management team?

 

Tracy Barker

Alyssa and Lori need to go along with their ridiculously high paychecks

 I will always support the center but not while Alyssa and lori are there and the board needs some changes also

CFN 

Would you want to go back there to work if there was a change?

Do you think the pubic is aware of how things are being run?

Tracy Barker

There should be rules when you are on the board like at least the knowledge of what the Agape does,

maybe spend a day volunteering ect

I would go back in a heartbeat,it didn’t feel like work and I felt like I was doing something good even if I just helped one person that day but i would never go back to work there under that kind of management.

CFN 

One last question? Why go public?

Tracy Barker

I debated contacting you because i had intended on suing but i wouldn’t be suing Alyssa and Lori

I would be suing the Agape and i would not feel good about doing that.

You contacted me and i guess it was my turn to speak about where the money that people donate goes and how the people are treated there.

CFN 

Awesome.

We need more people like you willing to speak out so we can change things for the better.

Thank you Tracy!

It should be noted that several emails were sent to Ms Blais and her mentor and Director on the board of the Agape, Cornwall Ontario City Councilor Elaine MacDonald whose relationship with the Agape is now oddly intertwined including her appealing in live council recently for thousands of dollars to help the Agape repair its building; something that many have called gross conflict of interest.

Here are some of the questions asked of Ms Blais and Ms MacDonald who have not responded in any fashion.

 

We know that Frank Burelle was one of the recipients of positions thanks to the Trillium grant.
Has John Earle ever worked for pay in any form for the Agape?
Can you please confirm either losing a legal case or settling that resulted in a $5K payout from Agape in the past 18 months to a past/current employee?

We are not asking for you to identify them; simply confirm from you that it happened?

How much has the Agape Centre spent in legal bills for the 2012 and 2013 calendar years please?
How many libel chill letters have been sent to former staff and volunteers?
Why does a Cornwall Charity use an Ottawa Law firm?
How many lawsuits/settlements has the Agape Centre had with current/former employees since Alyssa has begun her position as director?
I will be doing a story on the Agape, pending lawsuits, and disgruntled staff, etc.
Do either of you wish to go on the record or issue a statement?
Ms Blais did respond to one single query before our expose started.
Hi Alyssa,

So what’s the scoop with this allegation that’s on Facebook?
“agape centre is corrupt as you probably already know , operations manager lori greer just recently used centres supplies to feed a wedding for her familly, one of the many things wrong with that place since ive worked there. hate seeing peoples donations be put to such a waste”
Dear Jamie,There is no scoop.Anyone can rent the soup kitchen after hours for use. We even have some local chefs rent the space.

They bring in their own supplies. The food used for the soup kitchen is locked in a pantry.

To accuse Lori Greer of “theft” as that is essentially what this person is writing on facebook, I know for a fact that this is not true.

Thank you,
Alyssa Blais
Executive Director

 

What do you think dear viewers of CFN?  You can post your comments below.   We will be printing more as we sort out the mass of information that has come in since we started to expose some of the inner workings of this troubled charity.

Milena Cardinal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments on "Former Agape Cook Tracy Barker On Director Alyssa Blais – Interview One – Oct 29, 2013"

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Shari Larkin
Guest

Wow, that is all I have to say!

420
Guest

Hey Shari Larkin. Looking good my lady.

Burnin’? Burnin’s too good for em!

Son

David Oldham
Guest

The City of Cornwall uses an Ottawa based law firm so it really comes as no surprise that the Agape Centre would use a firm in Ottawa as well. Will read on and reserve my opinion for a later time.

htjlalonde@gmail.com
Guest

It is very sad that all of this is happening. I don’t understand why the board has not stepped in. It just makes me wonder if being a volunteer is right at the moment and makes me question many things.

Driving the Karma Bus
Guest
Driving the Karma Bus
It is really sad that the less fortunate of Cornwall will pay the price for this. I know I wouldn’t want to donate money or time to an organization that is using the funds for their own benefit. As for the Ottawa lawyer, I bet if you do some research that the lawyer has some ties to someone here in Cornwall……it is most definitely a friend or relative in the legal system that decided to take up the challenge to bully someone into taking a post off of their Facebook. If the comments weren’t true they wouldn’t have been bothered… Read more »
lisette
Guest

I believe the issue with the catering of the wedding for Ms. Greer’s family member wasn’t the use of the Center’s supplies. Having said that, the food was prepared over a two day period, one of which was a Friday and not after hours as suggested. Therefore, the Center’s resources such as paid staff and volunteers were used to cater this wedding. These resources are supported by the public, either financially or by donating their time, and are intended to help those in need and not cater a staffer’s family member’s wedding at a discounted rate.

Steve Boileau
Guest

I’ve been “told” all my life that …’You have NO RESPECT for Authority”
People like this are the reason why!!!!
With this “Agape scandel” & the “Hickley Papers” front & center in Cornwall,
it’s time for these Snob, Arrogant, self-serving Phoneys to be Tarred & Feathered at Pitt & Second for ALL to see.

Dusty Lenscap
Guest

Hey admin: when will you be going to print on the rest of these interviews? Lots of mud being slung right now

Dusty Lenscap
Guest

this really wasn’t the blockbuster scandal we were promised now was it?????

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