Former head of Dakotas nonprofit files complaintThe former head of a fair housing nonprofit organization serving North Dakota and South Dakota is accusing it of discrimination, retaliation and misuse of federal money.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The former head of a fair housing nonprofit organization serving North Dakota and South Dakota is accusing it of discrimination, retaliation and misuse of federal money.
Fair Housing of the Dakotas board members deny the allegations made in a complaint to North Dakota's Labor Department.
The Bismarck-based nonprofit works to eliminate housing discrimination. It also offers several services including housing assistance and counseling. Kourtney Hollingsworth was the group's executive director from last November until last month, when she was dismissed after getting in a dispute with a co-worker and questioning the organization's finances.
Hollingsworth, who is black, alleges the board fired her in retaliation for reporting a hostile work environment — including being called a "black gal" — and misuse of federal grants.
"I was just asking questions," she said. "When I asked questions, I got fired."
Board members dispute that.
"There were ... performance-related reasons why we decided we needed to take that action," said Cheryl Bergian, a Fargo attorney and board member.
The federal Housing and Urban Development office in Denver is conducting a review but Joel Manske, director of the agency's field office in Fargo, said it is routine and not related to Hollingsworth's complaint.