SPOKANE, Wash — The City of Spokane said on Wednesday that Jewels Helping Hands, the nonprofit selected to run the South Cannon Street warming center, has completed some work toward meeting requirements to run the center, but has not yet met them all.
Jewels Helping Hands, the nonprofit that was awarded a $750,000 contract to run the South Cannon Street warming center, has to meet a set of stipulations that protect the city from theft, among other things, amid issues raised last week about each of the founding members. The city has given Jewels Helping Hands until Nov. 22 to complete the requirements.
A spokesperson for Jewels first told KREM 2 on Wednesday morning that the organization had fulfilled the requirements and was waiting on the city for approval. The spokesperson has since said Jewels is in the process of completing them.
"I was misunderstood in the morning and I never said that all items were completed," said spokesperson Tanya Riordan.
According to City of Spokane spokesperson Kirstin Davis, Jewels Helping Hands has not yet satisfied the three requirements it needs to run the center.
The city said the nonprofit is required to show proof of theft insurance after it learned treasurer Jason Green previously served 2.5 years in prison for embezzlement when he was employed with U.S. Foods. The other two requirements — a data reporting plan and an outline of the operating policies and procedures — were always a part of the contract, Davis said.
Davis said city staff met with the nonprofit on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the data reporting requirement. She said the introductory part of this plan has been completed, but not finer details.
Davis also said Jewels Helping Hands indicated on Tuesday that its operating policies and procedures weren't ready.
Jewels Helping Hands has submitted proof of insurance and is awaiting approval, according to Davis.
Jewels Helping Hands was asked by the city to vacate the warming center building on Nov. 8 after the city received a "serious concern" about one of the nonprofit's leaders. KREM later learned that the concern related to a first-degree attempted theft charge against founder Julie Garcia during her time with Spokane in-home care provider Comfort Keepers. The charge was dismissed in 2015 due to Garcia's chronic medical issues.
The nonprofit refused to vacate the building on Friday, and the City of Spokane backtracked on its demand on Monday.
The following video is a report on protesters at Spokane City Hall demanding the opening of the warming center.