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May 09, 2016

N.Y. Charity Fires Executive Who Suffered Chemical Attack

The New York charity leader who was attacked with lye in August, allegedly as part of a cover-up of an employee's theft, was fired by the organization Friday, according to The New York Times. The board of the Queens-based Healing Arts Inititive said in a statement that D. Alexandra Dyer, the group's executive director, and its chief financial officer, Frank Williams, were terminated for withholding “critical financial and other information.”

Mr. Williams said the firings were retaliatory and intended to head off questions about the board’s handling of the nonprofit’s finances. A former Healing Arts bookkeeper, Kim Williams (no relation to Frank Williams), was indicted in April on charges of stealing more than $750,000 from the charity over three years and of planning the attack on Ms. Dyer, who had caustic drain cleaner thrown in her face. Two other people have been charged in the case.

Weeks into her tenure with the charity, which provides access to arts programs for elderly, ill, and disabled people, Ms. Dyer questioned Ms. Williams about missing money and financial records and hired Mr. Williams to put the nonprofit's books in order. The two executives brought their concerns to the state attorney general’s office last fall.

Last month, Ms. Dyer sued the board on behalf of the nonprofit, asserting that trustees' negligence allowed the alleged theft and chemical attack to take place and requesting that they be removed. A spokesman for the board said the firings were not motivated by the lawsuit.