July 17, 2008
To Our Supporters:
Over the last five years, the Board of Directors of the Dunkerton Child Learning Center has worked hard to construct and maintain a childcare center to serve the families of Dunkerton and surrounding communities. Three years ago, we were able to open a center in the United Methodist Church in Dunkerton. The Center was open for over two years, providing a safe environment for learning and quality childcare for over 60 families in our community. Unfortunately, the church did not meet DHS Licensing Standards and the center was forced to close when our temporary license ran out.
At that time, we believed that we were close to being able to build a new center. A few months after closing our doors at the church site, the board was celebrating. We believed that we had finally raised enough money to start construction. We worked with the school to obtain land to build on. We built a new parking lot for the school to free up the site on which we were to build. We hired an architect to draft final plans and schematics. We solicited bids and donations for construction. The board members were planning our groundbreaking ceremony to be held on November 3, 2007. Then the bottom dropped out.
All of the center's capital campaign funds were held in trust by Benefit Services Corporation of Waterloo through Jack L. Straw. On September 27, 2007, the board became aware that Benefit Services had closed its doors at the Waterloo office and disconnected its phones. Shortly after that, the Iowa Insurance Division announced that Mr. Straw's insurance license had been revoked. (See press release.) The FBI and US Postal Inspection Service are actively investigating Mr. Straw. As of today, the center's funds have not been located. The board has been cooperating fully with the FBI/USPIS investigation, but it will be up to the courts to decide how any money that is recovered is divided amongst Mr. Straw's many clients.
Disheartened and disillusioned, the Board Members have desperately tried to figure out a way to reopen the centerís doors. A few months ago, we approached the library board with thoughts of cooperating and building a dual-use facility. Unfortunately for the Center, time has run out. The $85,000 in grant money awarded to the center (and NOT turned over to Mr. Straw) needs to be utilized or relinquished now. Funding for a new Center will need to start from scratch.
After much deliberation and thought, the Board of Directors of the Dunkerton Child Learning Center has hired a lawyer to dissolve the corporation. This was not a decision made lightly, but with great heartache for each board member. We still believe in the dream of a childcare center in Dunkerton, it will just not be us who makes it come true. We thank each of you for your support over the last 5 years.
Signed by the board members,Dawn Best, President
Susan Koppmann, Vice-President
Julie Heiple, Secretary
Tom Hood, Treasurer