‘an absolute stunner’
SALINA - As the CEO of Saint Francis Ministries, Robert Smith used company credit cards for lavish hotel stays, first class upgrades on airlines, clothing, cash withdrawals, iTunes purchases and meals at five-star restaurants while hiding increasingly dire financial problems from his board of directors.
Documents from a Saint Francis investigation show Smith invested $11 million in a friend’s business for software that crashed and destroyed the organization’s financial records.
Saint Francis spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a program led by Smith’s wife to harvest a “miracle” food in El Salvador, where staff asked for and received Visa credit cards for the purpose of getting cash to bribe local officials. Smith repeatedly was warned about the financial perils of entering a contract to provide services in Nebraska, where Saint Francis is projected to lose $27 million in the current fiscal year, before Smith signed the deal.
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