Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Bright Futures USA executive filed for bankruptcy in 2011

Two of the four top executives selected to guide the potential multi-million dollar Bright Futures USA non-profit, including the new business development manager and the executive director, have bankruptcy filings and civil suits in their backgrounds.

Michelle Lester, who previously had volunteered locally for Bright Futures and who became Bright Futures USA's business development manager in January, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy September 20, 2011, in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Bankruptcy records show that Mrs. Lester, who had operated Market Place Magazine in Joplin, reported $96,246.05, including more than $42,000 in credit card debt owed to nine companies, including Victoria's Secret, Sears, and Macy's

In addition to the $42,000 in credit card debt. Mrs. Lester reported about $4,500 in medical debt:

Advanta Credit Cards $8,279- credit card debt
American Express Medical Services $3,207
Bank of America  $19,292 credit card debt
Capital One $2,826 credit card debt
Freeman Hospital ER, medical services $1,000
Kohl's $3,033 credit card debt
Limited Express $1,564 credit card debt
Macy's $2,772 credit card debt
Mid-America Accounts $293, medical services
Mid-Continent Credit Services, $83, medical services
Midland Credit Management, $3,161, credit card debt
Modern Media Concepts, $36,002, business franchise promissory note
NCO Financial Systems, $371, medical services
Ovid Bell Press, $12,951.28, business printing expenses
Sears, $539.77, credit card debt
Victoria's Secret $784, credit card debt

Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate a judgment of $3,275.53 was entered against Mrs. Lester on November 3, 2010, for breach of contract.

The bankruptcy court filings indicate two other lawsuits have been filed against Mrs. Lester.

  As noted in the September 10, 2013, Turner Report, Kim Vann, executive director of Bright Futures USA, filed for bankruptcy in 2005, listing more than $30,000 in credit card debt.

In addition to being the executive director of Bright Futures USA, Mrs. Vann serves as executive director of communications and community development for the Joplin R-8 School District.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a crooked man
And he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked six-pence
Upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat,
Which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together
In a little crooked house.

Castle MODOT, that is. Crooked Vann. Crooked Huff. Crooked Lester. The list grows and grows. We tend to surround ourselves with people who share our own values, or the lack thereof, in this instance.

Anonymous said...

Gee, CJ is surrounded by people with poor money management skills. That explains the state of the district.

Anonymous said...

And......?

Neal Smith said...

This is a great friend of mine and she is a great person with a good heart and I feel it very cruel that you would post this all over social media

Anonymous said...

Here is the problem with credit card bankruptcy: It is basically stealing. You are not paying for goods and services you received. It is just slightly less repugnant than walking into a store and pocketing merchandise. Both of these ladies charged thousands of dollars on cards for things they did not pay for. Therefore, they do not need to be in charge of managing money. They seem to be lacking the prerequisite skills.

These records are made public not to smear people but to inform them so they can make wise decisions about the financial wisdom and trust worthiness of applicants. That Bright Futures has two of these people in charge of the funds there tells me that I will not donate to that group for fear my donation will be mismanaged. Thank you, Mr. Turner, for the information.

Anonymous said...

Mr. smith, while I certainly do not think that a person should be branded forever because he or she has to file for bankruptcy protection, this is a legitimate news story. This is an organization which has a connection to the Joplin School District no matter how they are trying to separate it, it operates out of the school district and it is spreading to other school districts and I read recently that the state legislature approved half a million dollars for Bright Futures. With all of the capable people around who have never had to file for bankruptcy and who have records of accomplishments, how does Bright Futures keep winding up with people with questionable financial backgrounds?

Anonymous said...

Mistakes were made. Acting like mistakes were not made, or that mistakes can be made but must kept secret, just encourages the making of more mistakes.

Waiting for dim bulbs to shine enough light for something like a bright future is a fools errand.

Anonymous said...

This is why I don't trust you. Posting something like this speaks volumes about what a petty, vindictive, sad little man you are. Digging up dirt on the people who happen to work for or closely with Dr. Huff doesn't make you any cleaner. What happens in someone's private life has NOTHING to do with whether or not they will be successful at work. You have a knack for posting total b-s when it has anything to do with Joplin R-8. Remember when you said your sources told you Mr. Sexton was getting fired? What about the investigation into the misuse of funds?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr Turner for using my best photo. I appreciate that very much. As most of what you posted is true, I do not handle any funds for the organization in any way, shape, or form. And I have volunteered for years with Bright Futures. It is an amazing program that I am proud to be a part of. Helping children is my strongest passion and I am happy to wake up everyday and head the charge to reach more and more children everyday. I hope, sir that you have an awesome day and that God continues to bless you!

Anonymous said...

Well said Ms Lester...now we know why Randy has the word "former" in front of all his positions.

Anonymous said...

The road to debt that reaches this level is reached through a series of bad choices generally. As Dave Ramsey would be the first to point out, it is possible to change, but financial decisions tend to be a very ingrained habit of the psyche. Much like an alcoholic gets their reward from alcohol and sooner or later it overtakes their life, it is possible to change, but it takes a serious commitment. I would guess that the bankruptcy proceedings have tempered both folks to the reality of monetary value. Much like a felony conviction for someone, it is handy to know about for am employer. It may not be reason enough to dissuade you from hiring them, but that knowledge can keep you aware of potential issues before they might happen. Life didn't end with this becoming public record and if all goes well, it will be the thing that propels her to improve personal character.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the other comments about how bankruptcy shouldn't brand someone forever, but it's not completely ridiculous or off-the-wall to look at the personal financial habits of those working in an organization devoted to the distribution of funding, particularly when it is a matter of public record. It's not the stretch that Lester's friends are making it out to be, although it is interesting to see how easily and strongly they were provoked.

That said, I think Ms. Lester actually handled this well in her response, which is very unusual. 10:30 and 11:20 are more typical, quickly launching into emotional personal attacks rather than responding to the issue - this makes them look bad. Michelle Lester actually tries to give a reason why she doesn't think it applies and tries to be somewhat positive instead of falling into the trap of being provoked. It makes me feel like she is actually trying to be a good person, as opposed to the Huffs, Besendorfers, Starks, etc. who pretend to be above it but are actually the most petty and vindictive of all.

There is a lesson there for anyone else who finds that they are the targets of criticism - either avoid responding altogether or address the issues head on and openly. When you respond with emotional attacks, you are showing that Turner struck a nerve. If people truly didn't find him a threat, this would not happen.

Turner's playing a psychological game with you all as much as he's uncovering issues. Remember how when they talked about the American Revolution in school, they would say that the British walked in formation and were dressed up, and would load their muskets at a particular time? And how the Americans exploited informal guerrilla tactics that the Red Coats did not have the skills to deal with? Similar thing going on here. A guy with a free blog is effectively wearing down the system that dragged his name through the mud. When you respond with anger, you are showing that he's getting to you.

I don't think anyone will take this advice to heart, because it would require acknowledging that Turner has gotten to them on some level, but it's fun to point out regardless.

Anonymous said...

I wish God's blessings on everyone, but in this instance, I wish them on all of the businesses that get stiffed by people who take what they cannot pay for, for whatever reason. These ladies might not have set out to steal from their creditors, but essentially, that's what happened in the long run. Should they run Bright Futures? The only way to determine that is to have an independent audit to study its expenditures and its current standing. Then we can judge how well they have done.

Anonymous said...

Shorter 2:20. Turner tried some rope-a-dope and the dopes fell for it?.

Anonymous said...

Having read the comments on this post and Mr. Turner's other posts, I have come to the conclusion that most of the people who are criticizing Mr. Turner have no connection whatsoever with CJ Huff or the school district, but are people who have disliked Mr. Turner's writing for years. The comments are almost exactly the same as they were a few years ago when he was writing about Bruce Speck and the problems at the college. I read with amusement the comment on another post taking Turner to task for not tackling the Archie Dunn problem when he was sheriff. My memory goes back a few years, but in addition to his current writing about CJ Huff, Wallace-Bajali and Billy Long, I remember his reporting on the Webb City Police Department, the administrator at the Lamar hospital who was sexually harassing his employees, right up to Bruce Speck. He has been doing this for over 20 years and he's pretty darned good at it. In retrospect, CJ Huff should be fired for being stupid enough to fire someone who never wrote a negative thing about the school district while he was employed there except in a work of fiction and especially for the absolutely ridiculous reasons he gave for the firing.

Anonymous said...

Michelle,
Great response from one on a sinking ship. Pay your bills. Have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes bad things happen to good people- but that is not always the case. We hire, nominate or elect public officials to make good decisions on our behalf because we cant be everywhere and know all of the details about every issue. When these officials are not making good decisions in their personal life you have to question all of their decisions.

And bankruptcy does not pay the poor shmucks that lost goods or services. We all pay for it because bankruptcy is just a cost of doing business passed on to the people that do pay their bills.

Anonymous said...

She showed her class with her comments and Turner showed his ass with his. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

9:43, if that is your best attempt to writing something witty, I am certainly glad that Turner is the one who has the blog. He brings us he news with both intelligence and wit. In that second area, I would say you are only half equipped.

Anonymous said...

9:49: who rattled your chain internet troll? It was a simple statement that, in your very lame attempt to ridicule, you overanalyzed. This makes you the half-wit. If I make some attempt at wit in the near future, you will be the first to know. Was that your best play?

Anonymous said...

Nice outfit. Cost much?