The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Casa Ruby bank accounts frozen as D.C. investigates nonprofit’s collapse

The now-vacant site of Casa Ruby’s former shelter for homeless transgender youths on Georgia Avenue NW in Washington, as seen in May. (Annys Shin/The Washington Post /TWP)

A D.C. Superior Court judge has granted D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s request to temporarily freeze Casa Ruby’s bank accounts, court documents filed Wednesday show. The ruling follows a Washington Post report that raised questions about possible financial mismanagement at the LGBTQ nonprofit organization.

Racine’s office had asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Casa Ruby’s founder, Ruby Corado, from making further withdrawals.

Judge Danya A. Dayson held a remote hearing Wednesday to consider the emergency motion. Corado, who told a Telemundo reporter last week that she was in El Salvador, did not appear.

D.C. attorney general seeks to block access to Casa Ruby bank accounts

Dayson granted the emergency request and set another hearing for next week to consider the attorney general’s request to appoint a court-supervised official to stabilize and reform the management of the nonprofit. Dayson also granted the attorney general’s office permission to subpoena Corado via email.

The Post’s report last month was based on interviews with former employees, court records, tax filings and thousands of emails to and from officials at the D.C. Department of Human Services that were obtained through a public records request.

Casa Ruby shuts down the rest of its operations, and workers go unpaid

Since 2016, Casa Ruby has received $9.6 million in grants from city agencies to serve the needs of the Latino and LGBTQ+ youth communities in the District. The nonprofit reported more than $4.1 million in grants and other revenue on its most recent federal tax filings, which showed that Corado earned $260,000. But employees say they have gone without pay, and at least four landlords have told city agencies that the nonprofit did not pay rent on properties that it leased for its low-barrier shelter and transitional housing programs.

Casa Ruby shut down most of its operations in July.

Corado announced on Facebook last October that she had stepped down. But the attorney general found that Corado is the only current signatory on Casa Ruby’s bank accounts and has retained access to its PayPal account, which processes donations.

Bowser on Casa Ruby closure: ‘We have to figure out what happened’

Throughout 2021, Racine’s office said, Corado used more than $60,000 from Casa Ruby’s funds to pay bills for a charge card she controlled, and she used the nonprofit’s money to pay for meals and transportation to and in El Salvador. She withdrew at least $604 as recently as July 19, the office found.

Corado has not responded to phone calls or emails from The Post.