SMHDF Financial Manager reacts to Bloem: Who is telling fables?

POSTED: 03/18/15 8:11 PM

St. Maarten —With reports circulation regarding the termination of Henry Lynch and other board members, Emilio Kalmera, financial officer of the SMHDF is peeved with the way some of the accusations leveled against Lynch have rebounded to him and asks of attorney Jairo Bloem, “who is telling fables?”

Earlier this week, attorney Jairo Bloem disclosed that Lynch had been fired from the SMHDF for  financial mismanagement and cited among others Lynch’s misuse of company’s credit card, his entertainment allowance and getting persons to work on his personal project at the expense of the foundation. Kalmera explained that he has been approached by persons questioning how he could have allowed these infringements to occur under his watch. He has also taken offence to having the same letter of dismissal sent to him as was sent to Lynch, adding that these letters were signed solely by Bloem. He alleges that the reasoning for “all this fiasco” is personal. He pointed out that March 12th, 2015  makes it three (3) months since he and his colleague were suspended with pay and they are still awaiting the opportunity to be heard.

“But in the meantime the director was fired based on an internal investigation which no clarity until this date was sought by my person, who functioned in the capacity of Finance Manager, Additionally, the investigation was also not conducted by any professional third party accounting firm. The board alluded to accusations that the then minister of VROMI stopped SOAB from conducting the investigation. Later we were told by the former minister in a recent meeting with parliament, of which the board was invited but refused to attend, that he did not stop SOAB from conducting any forensic audit. Who is telling fables it is not entirely clear. However, at the time of the suspension, BDO accounting firm was still busy wrapping up the 2012 audit.

“BDO was also the one that conducted the operational audit on SMHDF which was ordered by the then Minister of VROMI of which their report of findings and recommendations was never discussed more less ratified with the prior installed board, even after numerous requests by Mr. Lynch to have this done. BDO therefore could have conducted the internal financial investigation which would have been independent and unbiased considering that many of the accusations do not reconcile to the financial data I have in my possession up until a certain date. In addition, KPMG was assisting me with the clean up and revamping of the administration project and I gave KPMG accessibility to the accounting system where we spent many hours cleaning up the administration within the 2012 financial year so that BDO could finalize the 2012 audit. Because KPMG played a vital active role with assisting me with the cleanup project, they could have also been asked to conduct an independent investigation. The prior chairman had also engaged KPMG to do a follow-up quick-scan, where like BDO’s operational audit, a report was prepared with findings and recommendations which to date was never discussed with the board despite numerous requests to do so by Mr. Lynch.  Yet Bloem stated that the interim management, the same persons who the director had plans to terminate the labor agreement with as part of his HR restructuring plan since 2011 as they are part of the long standing non performing employees, conducted the internal investigation with a newly appointed financial supervisor hired in December of 2013 and the former supervisor who abandoned the organization in 2012 by going on vacation to Holland and never returning, but was later rehired in December 2013 by Mr. Lynch, despite me not being in agreement, as she had not only abandoned the organization when it needed her most but she is also a contributor of why the administration was in a mess in the first place,” Kalmera contends.

He classed the internal investigation as bias “as these persons do not possess the competence to conduct a forensic audit.” The two interim managers that were appointed by the board have been in the organization for more than ten years with one being the manager of technical services and the other as manager of housing services. “Based on the evidence and knowledge  I have of the foundation, I can only conclude that the board, the two interim managers, and attorney Bloem acted out of personal or bias reasons but they were only part of a bigger plot from higher powers,” Kalmera alleged yesterday.

He noted that considering the articles of incorporation and what transpired on December 12th, 2014, attorney Bloem acted as though he was both the board and a public prosecutor with a warrant to suspend as the letter received from him was only signed by him while he demanded the keys to the building, office, and other access doors. “Even the locks of the main office was changed because I normally arrive early to open up and this day my keys could not open the locks and there were three security guards minding the building that morning when I arrived, which I thought to be out of the ordinary. All of this drama was concocted by the board instead of doing what should have been done, which was to call a meeting with management to discuss matters before taking such extreme measures as though we are criminals.

“The reasoning that led to the motive to suspend was stated in the letter as follows (verbatim): “Recent extensive meetings conducted between the Supervisory Board and employees of SMDFH revealed that there are serious suspicions of fraud, embezzlement, violation of human resource procedures, forgery of documents and deliberate mismanagement of funds and assets of SMDFH, also through and thus by SMHFF. These preliminary findings are consistent with data shown to and researched by the Supervisory Board.” First of all the abbreviation used by Bloem for the housing foundation is incorrect. Secondly, two senior seasoned board members had resigned leaving two newly appointed board members on the board and they took it upon themselves to bypass the director to talk and conduct meetings directly with employees and used this as a basis, without having any discussion with the director, to act in the manner they did. Signed minutes of such meetings would also be interesting to see.  Furthermore, I understood that Bloem is a criminal lawyer. So I guess he was somehow hallucinating to believe he is authorized to do the work as the public prosecutor without having to carry out the proper procedures as would a prosecutor,” Kalmera said.

He explained that it has never been his intentions to throw anyone under the bus but once people began questioning his professionalism, integrity and name, he opted to defend himself. The fact that Bloem decided to go public prior to a court hearing is also said by Kalmera to have played a role in his decision to react, who said that by acting as “judge and jury” attorney Bloem has “now joined the ranks of the “Super” board of SMHDF who does things above the law and against corporate governance.” He explained that when the letter was served to his person the board was not present nor has he seen a resolution from the board in regards to the decision to suspend himself and his colleagues in December which was communicated by Bloem.

“I understood that there was no resolution at that time as there were only two members on the board after the additional two senior seasoned members had previously resigned and from the two new remaining members, one had to travel for medical treatment. It appears that Bloem advised the remaining board member to appoint someone to the board in a hurry as when you check the Chamber of Commerce information, a young person with the initials J.P, who conveniently works in a similar capacity in the same ministry in government as the board member who had to travel due to medical reasons, was put on the board the same day of the suspension. Even if they signed a resolution after the fact (by back dating), JP could not have had sufficient time to read the many documents to form an adequate opinion to sign off on a resolution with far reaching consequences. If he did sign then he is a fool and it would be questionable if sensitive documents were given to him to read prior to becoming an official board member which would also be a breach of confidentiality. I have many more questions, facts, and documents in my possession to address but as I stated, I won’t discuss such in this forum, as I do my utmost to be professional.

“Clearly corporate governance was violated as the board acted contrary to the articles of incorporation. Bloem now gives the impression that a lawyer can show up by any company and tell who ever to hand over keys and serve a letter of suspension all on his own and that would be considered lawful. If that is how the law works than we have some serious issues in this country to address besides the many others on the plate already. Furthermore, the prior chairman had convinced the board to engage the services of HBN law for a retainer fee. The agreement officially expires at the end of March 2015 so it behooves me why Bloem was chosen to represent the board to incur additional legal expenses.”

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