Officials at Select Milwaukee, a 24-year-old counseling and service agency for new and existing homeowners, suspended most of its operations after the board of directors learned of an unexpected financial situation in late November, the organization’s board chairman said on Friday.
The board of Select Milwaukee also hired an outside certified public accountant to examine the financial records of the organization, which has an annual operating budget of roughly $1 million, Board Chairman Ian Bautista said.
“An unexpected financial position was brought to our attention,” on Nov. 20, Bautista said. “We are concerned with the financial position of the organization and are trying to act in the most responsible way we can.”
Bautista could not elaborate on the organization’s financial condition. He also could not give a timeline as to when more information would be made available or when the certified public accountant will give the board a picture of the Select Milwaukee’s financial situation.
“At this point, I don’t have clear answer,” he added.
Select Milwaukee has served Milwaukee homeowners and first-time home buyers since 1991 with financial counseling, foreclosure prevention strategies and energy efficient initiatives. The organization’s mission is to help Milwaukee residents achieve and maintain homeownership.
Bautista said the organization has suspended most operations except for helping close about a dozen mortgages for current clients. New clients are being referred to other homeowner organizations in Milwaukee.
“A handful of customers, who were suppose to close in November, successfully got across the goal line,” he said.
One staff member is currently working at Select Milwaukee and seven others have been furloughed, Bautista said.
Messages left for staff at the organization including Raymond Schmidt, the executive director, were not returned. Another board member reached on the phone said he was not at liberty to discuss the situation and referred the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service to Bautista, who also serves as executive director of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative.