Villa Charities, numbers do not lie

di Mariella Policheni del 27 July 2018

TORONTO - The summary of the Financial Statements for Villa Charities for 2017 are, to say the least, disturbing. The document, appended as part of the last Villa Newsletter, sheds light on the serious financial shortcomings that have become, sadly, a signature example of the Organization under the administration of Anthony DiCaita.
Many of the line items in the Summary point to Income that is significantly less than in the previous year, 2016: a sharp decline is noted in the example of the Columbus Centre revenue from which dropped to $ 7,542,406 from the previous year’s $ 8,064,800.
The Carrier Art gallery generated $51,097, while in 2016 the sum was $73, 641. There is a similar downward trend for Villa Charities Inc, whose revenues dropped from $8,209,982 in 2016 to $6,973,453 in 2017.
By comparison, the Statement points to an increase, even if relatively contained, in the expenses sustained by Villa Colombo Toronto, by Villa Colombo Vaughan and those incurred the seniors’ Apartments.
The numbers are revealing: revenues dropped by $690,533 while expenses were reduced by only $368,199. In all, they went from a surplus of $788,228 to a deficit of $377,013.
Clearly the Administrative promise of a winning administration at the hands of the current CEO and President of Villa Charities Inc. has proven less than successful.
The results should not come as a surprise out of the blue since the Columbus Centre has for been for some time deliberately ignored. Many aspects of it ,like the gymnasium and pool, are in serious need of deferred maintenance; much is in need of repair but it is completely ignored.
The state of disrepair at the Columbus Centre’s facilities is an unfortunate reality; members have been attempting to bring them to the attention of the Administration, fruitlessly; fundraising activities have ceased for several years and membership (according to one source in the Athletics department, once numbering 7,000) hovers around the 3,000 mark.
Considering that every member represents an estimated $1,000 in total revenues generated, the loss in revenue associated with the difference is significant. This raises the obvious question: why doesn’t Villa Charities improve the facilities with the objective of increasing registrations, resigning lapsed ones or at least keeping the ones they have?
But there’s more. Given that Villa Charities defines itself as “a not-for-profit charitable organization which celebrates and promotes Italian Heritage and Culture”, how can it afford to pay DiCaita a salary in excess of $300,000 per annum? It is a legitimate question to which the Community is deserving of an answer.
In addition, on Wednesday, Toronto City Council voted overwhelmingly to insert the Columbus Centre in the Heritage Register. A victory, no doubt, for those who opposed the its demolition. That same day, perhaps coincidently, a suspension for six months from the Centre’s facilities visited upon Ian MacDonald – member and co-founder of the Columbus Athletic and Social Association (CASA).
He received a letter advising him that his membership had been suspended for six months, prohibiting from use of the facilities, even as a visitor.
The letter, signed by DiCaita, justifies the action as follows: “Villa Charities is committed to providing a safe and professional environment and workplace in which all people are treated with respect and dignity without any concerns of harassment, degrading comments, bullying, threats, intimidation or violence”.
Abysmal and deplorable are two moderate adjectives to describe such an action against a long time, paid-up member, without even attempting to offer the minimal fault with which to smear his reputation. A clumsy effort to silence those who have a different view of how things might be done. It smacks of anti-democratic attitudes that can only be roundly condemned.

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