CORNWALL Ontario – Several former board members of Centre Cultural de Cornwall stepped forward with a multitude of allegations and complaints about the francophone institution this week.
Some of the allegations include:
The organization is in deep debt; owning over $30K to the government as well as Suzanne Villeneuve, listed as the group’s secretary stating, that they are into their line of credit for $17,000 with no financial assets or securities in hand. The group rents its space and owns no major assets.
Board meetings with no reports from the treasurer for at least three months.
There was no explanation from Mr. Lecompte or Ms Villeneuve as to where the monies went to.
Many minor complaints leveled at Suzanne Villeneuve who’s listed on the group’s website as Secretary on the board, but is also its coordinator, and only employee.
But the most severe complaints are against board member, francophone activist, and former Quebec school teacher Jean Lecompte, who also has an organization promoting bilingualism that has many of the same players on its board.
Prejudice Against the Handicapped.
The complaints against Mr. Lecompte include an attack against a young man that joined the board who has severe MS and is in a wheelchair who has to use a speech assist tool. At the meeting to vote on the man joining the board Mr. Lecompte complained that meetings would last longer because of the young mans handicap. He also complained that the speech box only communicated in English even though the young man clearly was answering the questions asked of him in French. Mr. Lecompte confirmed that allegation to this writer Thursday at the offices of the Centre Cultural in the Care Centre building. (former Cornwall General Hospital). He stated that he was the sole vote against and that one other member abstained.
Mr. Lecompte is accused of forcing board member Glenda Seguin off of the board. He complained that she didn’t speak French “well enough”. Ms Seguin, one of the board members who went on record with CFN clearly answered questions I posed to her on the phone in French. Mr. Lecompte confirmed this allegation in their offices Thursday.
Ironically Ms Seguin was listed as a board member of Mr. Lecompte’s Bilingualism group along with Suzanne Villeneuve and Lucy Hart who Mr. Lecompte confirmed had resigned as President of Centre Cultural de Cornwall.
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Mr. Lecompte denied this allegation against two board members who have been in a long term relationship citing that they had to go because they didn’t live in SD&G. CFN was given a copy of their charter which did not include any language “precluding” someone from being on the board from outside of the range. He said that they had a verbal agreement with North Glengarry not to “poach” francophone supporters into Sd&G as there weren’t enough to go around.
Ms Hart has not responded to several calls to her number, as have a few other former board members.
It’s alleged that as of yesterday there were only two serving board members, but Mr. Lecompte denied it while not being able to name the current board members. He requested this story not be published due to a board meeting said to take place Thursday night, but it wasn’t clear if a board meeting could take place as it wasn’t clear if they had quorum. CFN delayed the story until today and offered him the chance to email or phone us an update, and of course post comments per our Mission and Vision statements.
Ms Villenueve stated that she couldn’t offer any previous minutes or documentation due to her computer’s hard drive “burning up” and that they lost records from 2014 moving forward.
Centre Cultural de Cornwall is a not for profit corporation funded by the City of Cornwall who actually increased their funding in 2016, but the budget committee has slashed their funding along with several other groups for 2017.
According to the group’s website their partners and sponsors include:
Denis Thibault and the Eastern Ontario Training Board, as well as:
- Centre Charles – Émile Claude
- Catholic School Board district in eastern Ontario
- Public School Board of Eastern Ontario
- Catholic Information Center
- Genealogy and Archives Saint – Laurent
- Focus Art Association
- Assembly of Ontario Francophonie
- Grouping heritage organizations Franco – Ontarian
- CHOD FM
- The / The Journal
- Cornwall Express
- Caisse populaire de Cornwall
- Jiffy Muffler
Dynamics Auto Services and Maintenance
Renovations Rene Nadeau
Jas – Mar Paint
Ontario Training Board
Trillium Foundation Ontario
aid Society to community development
City of Cornwall
- The Cornwall Public Library
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