Employees Say "Entry House" Closure is Retribution

Employees in January said they'd not been paid, despite the facility getting millions in state funding

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In January, several employees of the substance-abuse treatment facility came forward with memos and pay stubs showing that they had not been paid for months, even though Entry House has received millions of dollars in federal grants over the past several years. (Published Friday, Mar 2, 2012)

    Entry House is shutting down -- at least for a while.

    The substance-abuse treatment facility is part of The Woodlawn Organization, a high-profile community organization on Chicago’s south side. T.W.O., as it is known, is run by Georgette Finney, wife of the Rev. Leon Finney, Jr., who started T.W.O. in the 1970s.

    Dr. Finney and his organizations were the subject of an investigation by The Chicago Reporter -- a partner of NBC5 Chicago – in its January/February issue.

    In January, several Entry House employees came forward with memos and pay stubs showing that they had not been paid for months, even though Entry House has received millions of dollars in federal grants over the past several years.

    Now the facility has told the Illinois Department of Human Services,which oversees Entry House’s grant funding, that it is having "cash-flow problems" and will shut down, effective immediately.

    An IDHS spokesman says that T.W.O. plans to re-open Entry House in April.

    John Odom is one of the Entry House employees who originally came forward. He now estimates that he’s owed nearly $9,000 in back pay, and he believes the shutdown has less to do with cash-flow problems, and more to do with the fact that he and his fellow employees went public.

    "I think [Georgette Finney] is doing this as retaliation against us for exposing her mismanagement,” he said.

    Georgette Finney refused to speak about Entry House’s shutdown. IDHS said their auditors are now "taking a look" at the facility’s books.