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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Community Center Comeback

 

continued

Some who know her allege that Hampton-Hawkins stole to feed a gambling addiction. Thomas Miree, who chaired the emergency board that took over after the fraud was discovered, believes she actually made off with double the amount she admitted to taking. Everyone agrees that she left the center nearly bankrupt.

As Hampton-Hawkins bled the agency of funds, she left bills unpaid and routine maintenance undone. She sold off part of the center's abandoned camp on Clear Lake, and its impressive headquarters on North Main became shabby and little used.

Yet, just two and a half years later, Whiten has engineered a remarkable turnaround. With the help of her board of directors, she's restored the center's reputation, stabilized it financially, and developed new programs. And she's begun to answer a question that haunted the center even before the scandal broke: how can an agency created to serve a segregated black community find its place in the twenty-first century?

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Savonia Carson, Doug Williams, and Walter Hill devoted their lives to building what Ann Hampton-Hawkins nearly destroyed.

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