Stamford’s Yerwood Center is still caught up in a legal battle. In March, former employee Bonnie Campbell filed an injunction against the center’s leaders, claiming they were compromising its future. When Campbell learned the center might be shutting down, she filed the complaint against its Board of Directors and Interim Executive Director, Fernando Luis Alvarez. But on Monday, June 30, Campbell’s lawyer withdrew the temporary injunction at Stamford Superior Court.
“”Our temporary injunction really had no grounds because he never actually closed the Center or had any plans to continue to close the Center,” says Dennis Bradley, Campbell’s attorney. “My communication with the other side has indicated that’s not their intent anymore, that they are looking to try to keep the Center open.”
Bradley says the complaint will be amended and address the alleged mismanagement of the Center by the Board and Alvarez. Campbell will now be joined by several former Board members in lodging the complaint.
"A lot of Board members were fired and hired; they didn’t go through any election process, they didn’t go through any screening process,” says Bradley. “It’s supposed to be an organization composed of members, which means that people from the community are supposed to, on a yearly basis or on a quarterly basis, come out and vote for their representatives on the Board and that hasn’t been happening for years.”
Bradley says the goal is to give the Center a fresh start with qualified management.
“Let’s get rid of the people who are there now, let’s have the election process, let’s have the community appoint their Executive Board, and then let’s have the Executive Board really screen people because that hasn’t been happening,” says Bradley.
Alvarez denied these claims in a phone interview. He said the Board has been doing everything by the book and working hard to make the Center financially stable, following neglect from previous management.
“Who’s losing out are the kids who don’t have any summer camps, who’s losing out are the parents who don’t have anywhere to bring their kids for the summertime,” says Bradley.
Although Yerwood is unable to provide summer camp this year, Alvarez says the Center took the initiative to place most of its kids into other local camps. He says a new partnership with the Boys and Girls Club shows a promising future and says the Board is still in the process of searching for a permanent Executive Director. Bradley plans to have a conference with the defense on when to proceed with a hearing. Stay with It’s Relevant for more on this story.