A former longtime official with the Latino Community Roundtable is taking the Modesto nonprofit to court seeking repayment of a $3,500 loan her husband made in 2013 to the organization.
Maggie Mejia and her husband are suing in small claims court. They have an Aug. 10 date in Stanislaus Superior Court’s Turlock Division, which handles small claims cases. Mejia said she may try to resolve this through mediation rather than court.
Mejia said her husband, Manuel, loaned the roundtable $3,500 in June 2013. “It was agreed & voted by the board that no payments would be made to either Manuel or Maggie Mejia as long as I was (board) President,” she wrote in court papers. “Did not want any ‘conflicts of interest’ or be ‘self-serving.’” Mejia said the loan was made to cover the cost of a fundraiser that did not do as well as expected.
The court papers also say the roundtable repaid $691 of the $3,500. Mejia said those payments were made in 2014 when her husband was sick and the money was needed for medical expenses.
Mejia last served as board president in December 2015, according to the court papers. Under her tenure as president, the Office of the Attorney General’s registry of charitable trusts in 2014 suspended the roundtable’s ability to operate because it had failed to submit paperwork for several years. Then in early 2016, the state agency barred the roundtable from operating. Mejia took responsibility for the paperwork problem, calling it an oversight.
The roundtable has since come into compliance with the agency, but has suspended operations pending the outcome of the small claims action.
Mejia said she filed the small claims case in June after her husband rejected a repayment plan of $30 a month and she received a cease and desist letter from the roundtable. LCR President Rebecca Harrington — who was not on the board when the loan was made or the partial repayment made — said the letter was sent because Mejia was defaming the roundtable. Mejia claims she was raising questions about the loan.
“To me,” Mejia said, “I took it as a double slap in the face,” she said about the repayment plan and the cease and desist letter. She said at $30 a month it would take more than seven years to pay off the loan. “We (she and her husband) may not be around in seven years.”
But Harrington said: “We are tired of her slandering and defaming the very organization she claims to love. It’s very confusing and very demoralizing.” She added that the roundtable has less than $1,000.
Harrington said Mejia has failed to turn over financial records and other documentation, including records for the loan. Mejia said the roundtable’s treasurer has copies of the paperwork, and the loan is documented in board minutes, which she said she will present in court. The treasurer, Marco Moreno, declined to comment because of the litigation.
This is not the only turmoil for the roundtable, which has been a community mainstay for two decades and is an all-volunteer social welfare organization that works to better conditions for Latinos in Stanislaus County. Four of its seven board members recently resigned.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316