CareerSource South Florida Failed to Pay $200,000 to Refugee Centers, Lawsuit Claims

For the past seven years, multiple employees at the taxpayer-funded CareerSource South Florida have maintained that their boss, who earns more than Mayor Carlos Gimenez, is a workplace bully. In complaints filed with the county, state, and federal government, they have accused executive director Roderick “Rick” Beasley of verbally abusing, harassing, and unfairly holding pay from employees.

But Beasley says he's done nothing wrong and despite a ruling from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that female employees were subject to "harassment, intimidation, exclusion, bullying... conditions due to their sex," he still sits at the helm of an agency that uses $70 million in state and federal funds to help the county's job seekers. 

The latest claim comes from Jhonson Napoleon, president of Azure College, a South Florida college offering health science degree programs. Last year, Napoleon sued CareerSource for allegedly failing to reimburse him for $204,950 worth of incurred costs in opening two career centers for refugees in Hialeah and Little Haiti.

Beasley deferred comment on the case to the county attorneys, Leona MacFarlance and Shanika Graves, handling the matter. Graves declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation; county spokesperson Michael Hernandez also declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, in December 2012, Napoleon and Beasley signed a contract to open two career centers in Little Haiti and Hialeah to help Haitian and Cuban refugees find stable work. More than $300,000 was secured to lease a location, hire employees and get the two centers up and running. The contract expired in March 2013 and was not renewed. It's unclear why CareerSource abandoned the project.

However, Napoleon says Beasley's agency never reimbursed him for more than $200,000 spent on the centers until the contract expired. Napoleon and his attorney, Erigene Belony, say that it's a breach of contract. They're now suing the county for reimbursement.

The lawsuit states that the budget included salaries, operating expenses, and supplies. “It is indisputable that these line items are direct and allowable cost which must be reimbursed,” the complaint states. “As of this date, and despite repeated demands for reimbursement for what is an allowable cost, [CareerSource South Florida] refuses to provide payment to Azure [College].”

In the past seven years, seven employees have reported Beasley to the county to no avail. They point to conflicts of interest linking Beasley to Lucia Davis-Raiford, who runs the county's Office of Fair Employment Practices. In August, the federal government found evidence that Beasley had discriminated against female employees. Since then, at least two more former female employees have filed claims with the federal agency.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jess Swanson is the news editor at New Times. She graduated from the University of Miami and has a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
Contact: Jess Swanson