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8855: Executive director of Haitian American Foundation fired by board (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Executive director of Haitian American Foundation fired by board
By Madeline Baró Diaz
Miami Bureau

August 7, 2001

MIAMI · Haitian activist Leonie Hermantin has been fired from her 
high-profile position as executive director of the Haitian American 

Hermantin says the official reason she was given was that she did not 
communicate effectively with the board. Hermantin said the board cited, 
among other things, her failure to inform them about a visit from Gov. Jeb 
Bush. Although she disputes that, she also says she was not warned before 
the board voted to fire her.

"This thing took me completely by surprise," she said. "I had no opportunity 
to even present my case."

The board of the foundation, a Miami-Dade County Haitian community 
organization, made the decision last week.

Some in the Haitian-American community think internal politics -- not 
Hermantin's job performance -- were responsible for the decision. At least 
one Hermantin supporter described it as a "coup d'etat."

Haitian American Foundation founder and board president Ringo Cayard, who is 
handling executive director duties in the interim, referred phone calls to 
board chairman Jules LaBossiere. LaBossiere said Monday afternoon he would 
not be able to comment until later in the week.

Hermantin is well known for her work as an advocate and has been widely 
quoted in the media on a variety of issues affecting the Haitian-American 
community, from immigration to politics.

Many people credit her with a turning the Haitian-American Foundation 
around, helping it out of financial straits and increasing its visibility. 
She joined the group four years ago and was executive director for the past 
two years.

"She does have a positive image in the community," said Jean-Robert 
Lafortune, president of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition. "She took 
HAFI from a very critical situation and she was about to make that agency 
become a well respected and strong agency in the community. I think she was 
committed to seeing the agency succeed."

Lafortune said the foundation is one of the top agencies serving the needs 
of the Haitian-American community.

Hermantin said she will continue her work on behalf of Haitian-Americans.

"I am very committed to this community," she said.

Madeline Baró Diaz can be reached at mbaro@sun-sentinel.com or 305-810-5007.
Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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