Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Veteran South L.A. gang worker forced out after pocketing cash, officials say

November 19, 2010 |  4:53 pm

A veteran South Los Angeles gang intervention worker has been forced to resign from his agency and will no longer work the streets on behalf of City Hall after he was caught manipulating time cards, officials said Friday.

Harry Warren, who bounced in and out of jail as a young man, had been a high-profile intervention worker and youth counselor for 20 years.

He was forced to resign recently from Chapter Two, his nonprofit agency, after being confronted with evidence of financial impropriety, several officials confirmed.

“I am disappointed in Harry’s conduct,” said Chapter Two founder Jerald Cavitt, also a veteran intervention worker. “I wish he would have stayed on the straight and narrow.”

Warren could not be reached for comment.

Chapter Two is an important player in the city’s gang prevention efforts; the agency contracts to provide intervention services in a troubled and deeply impoverished neighborhood bisected by Florence Avenue and the 110 Freeway.

Through that contract, Warren has acted on the city’s behalf, tending to at-risk youths, controlling street gossip and working to interrupt cycles of retaliatory violence.

Warren’s undoing did not come in connection with his City Hall work, however. Chapter Two had been hired separately by the nonprofit group Occupational Therapy Training Program, where he provided life skills and job training counseling to disadvantaged youths.

City officials said it appears Warren manipulated the time cards of at least two youths enrolled in the program and then pocketed roughly $550.

Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes, who runs the city’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, said Warren paid back the money.

--Scott Gold