Mary Treadwell, executive director of Youth Pride Inc., said Yesterday she plans to ask the National News Council to determine if The Washington Post was fair and accurate when it reported recently that she had allegedly misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars in federal youth training funds.
Treadwell said at a press conference that she would file a complaint later this week with the council, a private organization that investigates charges of inaccuracy and unfairness in the news media. The story, which appeared in last Sunday's editions of The Post, was based in large part on statements made by Pride's former security director, Roscoe V. Brockenberry, who Treadwell said was a "disgruntled ex-employer."
Treadwell said the article should not have been published because "allegations made by one person without corrobation or documentation cannot ethically be relied upon."
Milton Coleman, city editor of The Post, said yesterday that the newspaper stands by the story.
Treadwell was interviewed for half an hour in preparation of the article and her responses were included in the story. She said Brockenberry's allegations were "not correct" and characterized them as "garbage."
Brockenberry's allegations were concentrated on Youth Pride Inc., the central orgainzation in the "Pride self-help group founded by Treadwell and others in 1967. Youth Pride has received about $22 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to train hard-core unemployed black youths.
Brockenberry, who worked closely with Treadwell for 10 years, said that during an eight-year period he deposited more than $500,000 in Youth Pride funds in Treadwell's personal checking account. That is at least $144,000 more than she has acknowledged making from all her businesses during the same period.
Brockenberry, who served as Treadwell's chauffeur and bodyguard as well as security chief, said his former boss spent thousands of dollars in federal funds for dresses from Rizik Brothers inc., a Connecticut Avenue shop; lavishly equipped rental cars, and the use of Youth Pride telephones for unauthorized long-distance calls.
Treadwell said Brockenberry "did not handle my banking business" and said he was fired after the discovery that he had allegedly stolen checks from Pride and then forged and cashed them for $1,800.
She said that Rizik Brothers never received "any checks from youth Pride Inc. "for any reason" and that Pride's rental cars were only equipped with power steering, air conditioning and a radio.
Treadwell said Brockenberry had run up long-distance calls from Pride telephones in excess of $600, an amount later deducted from his salary. She added that he had never acted as her chauffeur bodyguard.
Treadwell and a top aide, Gerald Thorne, denied Brockenberry's further charges that they falsified some Pride records and hid others at the Security Storage warehouse at 1710 Florida Ave. NW., when it became clear that government officials were about to look at Youth Pride's books.
She said Pride, on its own initiative, escorted federal agents to the warehouse in 1979 to show them the records.
The Pride director is already a target of federal grand jury investigation that began last October after The Post reported that she and two top aides stole, diverted or misappropriated at least $600,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and poor tenants of the troubled Clifton Terrace Apartments. At the time, Treadwell headed P. I. Properties Inc., a real estate spinoff of Youth Pride Inc.
Treadwell said she could not answer any allegations in conection with that case since it was before the grand jury. She has denied any wrong doing. t
Calling The Post "racist" for reporting the allegations, she said she saw the stories as a general attack on black leadership in the city and perhaps an attempt to implicate her former husband now Mayor Marion Barry, who along with Treadwell was a co-founder of Pride, Inc.
There has been no evidence that Barry is involved in the case.
Yesterday, Treadwell also released the audits of three federally funded Pride-run programs.
The audits, conducted by a private firm, found no missing money, but their finding were heavily qualified and contained repeated references to lax bookkeeping.