Fundraising failures that plagued Burlington Juneteenth happened again in Minneapolis

Burlington diversity chief and her picked aide fell short of fundraising goals in Minneapolis, too – no fraud alleged

Tyeastia Green

By Guy Page

As first reported this March by Vermont Daily Chronicle, Tyeastia Green, the first director of Burlington’s Racism, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging (REIB) Department, this March left a similar position in Minneapolis, MN “under a financial cloud.”

Green’s job in Burlington included organizing the city’s first Juneteenth celebration in 2021 and (until her March 2022 departure) the 2022 Juneteenth. After leaving the Burlington job, she was quickly hired by Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered and the largest city of the state where she graduated from college. 

In March, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported financial concerns surrounding Green’s oversight of a February, 2023 “Black Expo.” A week later, she was no longer working for the city. 

Most of the Vermont media ignored Green’s departure from Minnesota. Not so the City of Burlington: wondering if lightning had struck Burlington before Minneapolis, it commissioned an investigation.  

“The City of Burlington engaged the legal firm of Sheehey Furlong & Behm [SFB] PC to conduct a review of the contracting processes and expenditures associated with spending by REIB in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, particularly with respect to Juneteenth 2022, to determine whether there was fraud, waste or abuse.”

Those are the opening words of an 18-page July 31 memo from the law firm to Katherine Schad, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer. The memo outlines the timeline of events and the firm’s conclusions and recommendations. 

It is important to say that in both Burlington and Minneapolis, authorities explicitly deny finding Green responsible for theft, fraud, or embezzlement. However, in both cities there were hiring, spending, and fundraising decisions that appear contrary to both the spirit and letter of city guidelines. 

Underperformance by Casey Ellerby, an Atlanta, GA fundraiser and resident hired by Green as a full-time city employee, appears to have been a major problem:

“Green and Ellerby both stated that the budget for Juneteenth 2022 was always intended to be $500,000. 

“Based on our review and the documents provided, we found no evidence that a budget of $500,000 was shared with the Board of Finance or the City Council. Ms. Green and Ms. Ellerby both stated that the bulk of the budget for Juneteenth 2022 was intended to be provided by private sponsors. Ms. Green stated that she had between $200,000 and $300,000 in commitments from private sponsors by the time she left REIB in March 2022. Ms. Ellerby stated that she thought there were $300,000 in commitments from private sponsors at the time Ms. Green left. 

“Based on the documentation we reviewed, we saw no evidence of actual or expected commitments in that amount at the time of Ms. Green’s departure. Rather, the documentation of requests for private sponsorships or commitments for Juneteenth 2022 is sparse when compared to Juneteenth 2021, for which the total 17 commitments for private sponsors were $149,000. 

“We do not know on what basis a conclusion would reasonably have been reached to determine that $300,000 or more in private sponsors would have been available for Juneteenth 2022. In fact, there was approximately $103,000 in private sponsorships.”

Out-of-state vendors also received extremely generous lodging on the city’s dime.

“Ms. Ellerby stated that lodging was provided for any out-of-state vendors, as well as any out-of-town vendors or performers at Juneteenth 2022. At some of the higher end hotels used, the stay was $299 per night, and individuals were provided lodging for multiple nights. Many out-of-state vendors were used for Juneteenth 2022, as well as for Black History month in 2022. 

“In addition, there were multiple vendors or contractors used by REIB who were not registered to do business in any State. There was a general lack of documentation within REIB related to Juneteenth 2022, including the lack of a budget and lack of detailed planning information. There was also a lack of documentation showing that attempts were made to secure goods at the lowest cost for the quality needed, as the Purchasing Policy requires, or that some exception should be made to this general requirement in a particular instance. 

As noted above, Ms. Ellerby, a full-time City employee, was given permission by Ms. Green to have her lodging paid for in late April or early May 2022 when she came to Burlington to do her job.”

Next week, VDC reporter Michael Bielawski will present a thorough, concise review of the significant findings of the SFB report, and any response by Burlington City Government. 

Categories: Burlington

19 replies »

  1. Is this the woman who blamed Mayor Weinberger and labeled him a White Supremacist? It is satisfying when you see them turn on each other.

  2. Just another reminder on the practices of the Burlington City Council. The cultists who preach high ideals but lack principles. Their road to hell is paved with good intentions. The best part is the lack of accountability for all of their mayhem. “Good job” Burlington voters…

  3. Well I have to laugh that apparently a large amount of money was given by private donors and not the states taxpayers for a change! Might want to investigate who you give money to next time.

    • Some people give to causes such as this not to further an agenda or right a wrong, but to just feel good about themselves. For anyone who donated to this sham, they can still feel good about themselves so they got what they paid for…

  4. Yes it was Tyeastia Green making accusations about Mayor Weinberger according to WCAX tv reporting. Why is it the REIB and/or DEI followers don’t practice what they preach?

    • …to bring up the dollar amount would be racist…A true progressive who suffers from a serious case of white guilt would suggest that double that amount would have been appropriate to flush down the toilet…

  5. And the common denominator is….?

    My guess is that, given current environment, we will be reliving this again on the next Juneteenth celebration.

    With any luck we could have Ms. Green swing by for another go around and ensure 2024 is added to her impressive resume. Sure she has an impressive portfolios of her accomplishments to be handed out.

  6. Contracting for the government or any organization is no joke for anyone. It sounds like this person wasn’t even remotely qualified for this responsibility.

    • Oh, but she was VERY qualified. The qualifications were exactly the same as demanded by Pres. Biden when selecting a running mate and a Supreme Court Justice…and how is that all working out? Remember our formerly merit-based society?

      • Like the 7 lifetime judges Trump appointed rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association?

  7. Can we stop pretending that the DEI programs are anything other than a hoax for funneling taxpayer funds to otherwise unemployable grifters?

    • Dont forget the other purposes of DEI programs: to make white people feel guilty and to make People of Color feel a sense of reparation for centuries of supposed injustice and oppression. Looks like the programs are working as intended. Nice to see another woke hellhole like Minneapolis share in the white guilt.

  8. I am so sick of hearing white supremacy from woke political activists who know nothing about supremacy. Go peddle you lies and false agenda somewhere else.

  9. Opening the books and going through every expenditure reveals much about grifter non-profits and how they greatly profit off the misery of others. A recent commentator exposed a Portland Oregon homeless support non-profit. The salaries topped over $1 million (only a handful of employees and the directors/officers get the biggest cut!) The other expenditures were on “classes” and counciling, one class being about knitting. I guess so the homeless can somehow find enough yarn to knit their own blanket or sweater (Yes, Senator MacDonald, you know what to do next – a free scein of yarn to all homeless Vermonters) When it becomes so obvious throwing good money after bad time and time again, with no tangible results, fraud is reason. Yet, so many people turn a blind eye to it and just keep throwing the money at these soulless thieves. Audit them all!

  10. I read the Burlington audit report. The amount of money she farmed out to her “acquaintances” and cronies is astounding. The lack of ANY organized budget plan for managing the Juneteenth events is astounding. Then I read the Minneapolis stories. Her February event was a blowout failure in every respect. Whomever made the decision to hire her in either place gets a free pass to the unelected and/or unemployment line.

  11. I love watching policies of the left come back to bite them. Sooner or later, they always do. They made the bed, now they can lay in it.