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Council on Aging boss, previously accused of swindling senior, given full control of agency's checkbook

1 year 2 months 3 days ago Friday, May 19 2023 May 19, 2023 May 19, 2023 4:07 PM May 19, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Employees at the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging are ringing alarm bells after they said the board recently granted CEO Tasha Clark Amar sole authority to sign checks for the agency. Two signatures on expenditures are no longer required, and employees said Clark Amar needs more oversight, not less.

Clark Amar was exposed by the WBRZ Investigative Unit in 2017 after she named herself in an elderly client's will. A series of stories led to tremendous fallout. When the dust settled, Clark Amar backed away from the will.

Years have passed since. Recently, an employee came to the WBRZ Investigative Unit expressing concerns about what happened. One employee speaking to us on condition of anonymity said the situation smells awful.

"I do not believe based upon what happend in the past with a senior and Ms. Amar possibly manipulating her out of her personal money, being able to only sign checks," the employee said. "Being the only signature required for the Council on Aging."

The change was made during an April board meeting. During that meeting it was discussed that the bank no longer requires two signatures, so the COA was planning to remove that requirement too.

"I do not think it is wise at all considering what happened in the past," the employee said. "Ms. Amar is just very insistent upon being the only one to sign checks for the Council on Aging."

This week, that employee said more questionable decisions were made when the board ousted long time board member C. Denise Marcelle as the agency's chairwoman. Marcelle still sits on the COA board, but is no longer the leader. Two other board members who were out because of term limits are back on.

"It grants her job security to control who is on the board and who is the officers of the board," the employee said.

Employees said they know why other citizens aren't being given a shot.

"I think she should be held accountable....accountable for trying to manipulate and control the only level of accountability that she has and that is the board of directors at the Council on Aging," the employee said.

WBRZ reached out to Clark Amar for an interview on this story. She did not return our calls, but her lawyer did.

Murphy Foster issued the following statement:

There is no proof that she controls the board, and they do what's right for the Council on Aging. Regarding her check signing authority... the board granted her that authority to sign checks of routine nature on her own. Extraordinary expenses still require two signatures.

WBRZ asked what defines an extraordinary expenditure, but the COA did not give us an answer.

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