Habitat ousts coordinator

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

Koncz started new rival agency; questions surface over fundraisers

By Allison T. Williams

The new project manager of Suffolk Habitat for Humanity was ousted from her volunteer position this week.

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The South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity ended its relationship with Angela Koncz, who was heading up her first building project, after finding out that she has established a competing nonprofit group, Building Suffolk Inc., said John Morgan, the regional organization’s executive director.

The South Hampton Roads organization oversees the release of funding for Habitat projects under construction throughout the region.

According to a May 12 newsletter produced by Koncz, Suffolk Habitat decided to &uot;go independent&uot; after the regional chapter refused to support the appearance of Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, at its Hearts and Hammers fundraiser.

Fuller spoke in Suffolk several weeks after being fired by Habitat’s international board for alleged inappropriate conduct toward a female employee.

Koncz’s newsletter indicates

that Building Suffolk Inc. has registered with the state. However, a State Corporation Commission spokesman said Thursday

it has no record of a company by that name.

Koncz had told the Hampton Roads board she would not be returning to Habitat as project manager, Morgan said. But the new company was formed &uot;completely under our radar,&uot; he said, which, in part, fueled Habitat’s decision to end the relationship early.

The board also has unanswered questions about the recent benefit dinner, Morgan said.

&uot;We were concerned because…we need to be able to account for every penny earned and every penny spent,&uot; said Morgan. &uot;We never got an accounting from Suffolk for funds raised or spent on the Hearts and Hammers fundraiser.&uot;

The building partner agreement, which Koncz signed when she took over as project manager, requires that the board treasurer receive detailed descriptions of expenditures and money brought in during events, he said.

Morgan added that recent fundraisers were held under the auspices of Habitat without the board’s knowledge. He referred to a recent art auction and ongoing sale at a local gallery, with a portion of proceeds slated for Habitat.

&uot;That caught us by surprise,&uot; he said.

The gallery has since agreed to hold any money raised until the sale ends on June 11, Morgan said. The money will then be turn over to the Hampton Roads affiliate, he added, where it go into an account earmarked for Suffolk.

&uot;Any money generated through private fundraisers in the Suffolk area is designated for building projects in Suffolk,&uot; Morgan stressed.

There is no criminal investigation involving Koncz’ stint with the organization, Morgan said.

Multiple attempts to reach Koncz Thursday were unsuccessful.

Despite all, Habitat is still alive and well in Suffolk, Morgan said.

&uot;Habitat is not abandoning Suffolk,&uot; he said. &uot;Neither the Charles Street project…nor any other future builds in Suffolk will be affected by this.&uot;

Morgan, members of the Hampton Road chapter’s board and local volunteers will be working on the Charles Street house on Saturday, he said.