Former Charlotte LGBT center chair issues apology letter

Former leader Ranzeno Frazier doesn't address false statements

Ranzeno Frazier

Ranzeno Frazier

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The former chair of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte has apologized for his misappropriation of organization funds in a letter delivered to center leaders and forwarded to the newspaper today.

Ranzeno Frazier, who had served as the group’s chair from June through last month, had racked up close to $600 in questionable and unapproved expenses with center funds, as reported last week. The center had said its board never approved the expenses and were missing receipts or other documentation to justify them.

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies for decisions and errors that I made concerning expenses and their required approval with the Center,” Frazier’s letter, dated Nov. 12, reads.

In the letter, Frazier also said he has repaid the center “the full amount owed $332.00.” The actual full amount was $594.04, some of which including six restaurant purchases ranging from $5.34-$31.79 and two ATM withdrawals in the amounts of $120 and $162.50. Other unapproved expenses include nominal parking fees, two small purchases at a gas station and $184.86 sent to a Paypal user named “jmolo2302.” Frazier had repaid some of that amount before being confronted by other center leaders.

Frazier’s letter doesn’t address the false statements he made to this newspaper last week, when he said he’d made no personal purchases, including for personal meals.

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Yet, an email exchange between Frazier and the center’s treasurer revealed that Frazier had explained his last purchase, a $15.88 purchase at Wingstop made on the day he was ousted as chair, as his “last meal as chair lol.”

Last week, current center chair Jud Gee had stopped short of calling Frazier’s actions a “misappropriation.”

“This was one in many of his bad decisions on Ranzeno’s part, and although I don’t think it was embezzlement, it was extremely poor judgment on his part especially given he was Chair and knew how dire our financial situation was in,” said Gee, who took over for Frazier last month.

Gee echoed a similar conciliatory tone on Thursday.

“As Chair I believe he is doing the best thing for us and our community with his repayment, apology letter, as well as perhaps going above and beyond to clear up the additional amount that may be questionable,” Gee wrote in an email. “I accepted his apology as he hand delivered it to my office and we spoke briefly, I hope you too will accept his apology because ultimately Ran is a great guy with good intentions, just used poor judgment at the worst timing possible.”

Gee also said that Frazier will work with the center’s treasurer to clear up an additional questionable expense, a $114.36 purchase at Area 51 Fireworks made on July 7. Frazier had said he purchased the fireworks for the Boys and Girls Club.

Click here to read Frazier’s full apology letter (PDF).

News on Frazier’s misappropriations came as the center continued to struggle against waning funding and community trust. The group has faced scrutiny over its financial mismanagement, transparency and accountability for nearly a year. Last week, the group was told it would not receive nearly $17,000 remaining in a nearly $20,000 conditional grant offered to them this summer by the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund. At the same time, the center released its 2013 tax filings, showing it operating at a deficit of more than $42,000.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.