The Brave Space Alliance Board of Directors has sent an independent accountant's report to the state attorney general alleging former CEO LaSaia Wade of inappropriate spending, to unknown bank accounts alongside other questionable expenditures.
The board reports that its law firm and accountant investigated the misappropriations and other alleged workplace policy violations for months.
Wade, who was fired last month after three months of administrative leave, said in an interview that she spent money to support individual people who needed financial assistance.
Brave Space Alliance is a Black trans-led LGBTQ community organization in Hyde Park at 1515 E. 52nd Place; it is in the process of moving to South Shore.
Interim CEO Jae Rice referred comment to a public relations firm hired to handle the situation. A spokeswoman said Brave Space Alliance is financially solvent and that the amount misappropriated is in the six figures. The board said they are committed to continuing the organization's services.
“We are also committed to keeping the BSA staff fully employed,” said board chair Channyn Lynne Parker in a statement. “We are very disappointed that this happened. We are working hard to make sure BSA survives and thrives.”
Wade recalled her work to maintain the organization since she established it five years ago and said she will continue to support local communities.
"Some people at the job did not like how I supported the community, or did not like how I ran the organization," she said, countering that she and the organization "came to an agreement on separating," a process that she said lasted a year.
"Allegations (that I) misappropriated funds were to support community, and I will continue to stand by (that) that money belongs to community, and it will continue to go to the community that we serviced," she said, explaining that she directed money to "trans relief funds to making sure that people stay afloat, funeral funds to make sure that our community continued to get buried, housing to make sure people's rents were still getting paid, medical bills to make sure people were still able to get their meds."
Wade said there was no organizational framework to approve expenditures until the Brave Space Alliance board came into existence.