Modesto nonprofit says trio of managers can't represent SCAP

kcarlson@modbee.comDecember 14, 2011 

— The Stanislaus Community Assistance Project of Modesto has informed public agencies and other nonprofit groups that three suspended managers can no longer conduct business on behalf of SCAP.

On Nov. 30, SCAP’s board suspended Executive Director Denise Gibbs, development director Joe Gibbs and housing director Caryl Prunty following controversy that has swirled around the nonprofit housing agency for months.

Last week, the FBI served search warrants at the Gibbses’ home in Riverbank and the SCAP office on Coffee Road in Modesto, seizing a large number of files, including those pertaining to grant funding and the agency’s compliance with government programs.

A letter Tuesday from Acting Interim Director Kathy Lee says the Gibbses and Prunty “are no longer authorized to conduct business for the Stanislaus Community Assistance Project.” The e-mail message on SCAP letterhead was sent to officials of Stanislaus County, the Stanislaus Housing & Support Services Collaborative, nonprofit groups and dozens of other interested parties.

Lee also wrote that a Internet domain wasn’t being used any longer for official business. SCAP officials recently said that Joe Gibbs owns the domain, which previously was used for SCAP’s Web site and e-mail service.

As of this week, Joe Gibbs still was using that domain to communicate via e-mail.

SCAP has activated a domain for its e-mail service, reflecting its stated goal of establishing ethical practices at the housing agency.

Tuesday’s letter appears to be part of a process of separating the agency from the husband-and-wife team that has managed SCAP. Under the terms of the suspensions, the Gibbses and Prunty are only allowed to communicate with SCAP board president Patrick Pokorny — and not other board members and staff, said SCAP spokesman Leo Briones.

When reached by phone Wednesday, Denise Gibbs had no comment.

She was SCAP’s executive director for about a decade and her husband, Joe, joined the agency’s staff in 2004.

An agreement entitling Joe Gibbs to large grant-writing bonuses stirred controversy earlier this year. Bee stories later revealed that SCAP spent taxpayer funds to buy and remodel homes through Modesto’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program and then allowed employees or their family members to occupy homes. SCAP received more than $8million in the program.

In late October, a city monitoring report blasted Denise Gibbs and Prunty for “egregious deficiencies” in managing NSP rental properties, which were intended for tenants with disabling illness or other special needs.

Lee wrote in Tuesday’s letter that SCAP will continue to work with consultants from The Ethics Company to change the way it does business and to rebuild trust with the community. The nonprofit is trying to address issues of concern to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state and city of Modesto, the letter says.

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