Friday, July 18, 2008

Rapport resume doesn’t mention criminal charges

Former head of CDC faces 11-year-old California burglary charge

Express Staff Writer

Gary Rapport

Gary Rapport claimed in his resume that he was in the Middle East on June 1, 1997. But the Orange County District Attorney's Office claims otherwise.

A criminal complaint against Rapport alleges that he was in Seal Beach, Calif., that day committing second-degree burglary at Leisure World Market.

Rapport, the former executive director of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation, also faces a misdemeanor assault charge in Bozeman, Mont., for allegedly strangling his wife in December of 2007.

Rapport failed to tell the CDC about either of the pending criminal charges prior to being hired in May.

"He obviously should have," said CDC Board President Neil Bradshaw. "Have I learned something? Yes, I'll do a criminal background check in the future."

The criminal charges against Rapport surfaced earlier this month and led to his resignation on July 8. He was arrested later that day by Ketchum police on a warrant from Orange County alleging that he failed to appear for a court hearing on the burglary charge in June of 2002.

An impressive resume

Rapport turned in an impressive resume for his $80,000-a-year job at CDC.

"One of the things he was really good at was getting funds from grants," said Bradshaw.

Grant work was one of the skills Rapport highlighted in the resume. He also claimed to have taught English in Indonesia, assisted refugees in the Middle East and worked with the homeless in California.

The resume states that Rapport worked for Rural Community Innovations in Bozeman from May of 2006 until he was hired by CDC. The Bozeman group is a nonprofit that provides training, financial and technical assistance to small rural communities, especially on Indian reservations across the Great Plains, Rapport wrote in the resume.

Prior to that, Rapport claimed that he worked for GEC English/Psycho-Social Center in Sumatra, Indonesia from May 2004 through May 2006. "I managed the center," he wrote. "We provided personal counseling, career guidance, testing and English courses."

The resume does not mention what Rapport did from May 2002 through May 2004.

From December of 2000 until May of 2002, Rapport reported that he was director of development and community relations for Senior Meals and Services in Garden Grove, Calif.

From January 1999 until December 2000, Rapport claimed he was director of operations for Hearts for the Homeless in Fullerton, Calif.

Rapport claimed to have worked for the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees from June 1982 until October 1998. "I worked in refugee camps throughout the Middle East, mostly with displaced children and families," Rapport wrote. "Most of my time was spent in Lebanon. I worked to try to normalize the life of people who had lost everything."

The resume does not mention employment at Leisure World Market, which Seal Beach police allege that Rapport burglarized for several thousand dollars on June 1, 1997 after his employment there ended.

Rapport further claimed expertise in foreign languages. "I can speak some French, Spanish, Dutch, Indonesian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek," he wrote in the resume.

Rapport reported that he has a master's degree in psychology from the University of California in Los Angeles.

Down but not out

"Before engaging him, we performed an extensive check of his personal and professional references, which were all glowing reports," CDC wrote in a press release announcing Rapport's resignation.

And now?

"He is no longer and never will be executive director of CDC," Bradshaw said. "We can't have this cloud over the CDC."

Bradshaw held out the possibility that Rapport may be hired for grant work at a future time if he is exonerated of the criminal charges against him.

"We're concerned about the pending charges and we'll await the outcome before we assess whether there will be future work," Bradshaw said. "But at this time Gary is not working on anything to do with CDC."

The organization is barely two years old. It was formed in 2006 by the Ketchum City Council. CDC is a quasi-public entity that is partly funded at public expense yet remains separate from city hall.

The organization's mission is to promote and develop affordable workforce housing, public amenities, economic vitality and diversification, alternative transportation, and alternative energy options.

In addition to Bradshaw, board members are Michael Carpenter, Marisa Nelson, Jason Miller, Dale Bates, Tom Unger, Larry Helzel, Lisa Horowitz and Curtis Kemp.

Bradshaw said he's pleased that the board of directors acted quickly when allegations of criminal charges surfaced against Rapport on the weekend of the Fourth of July.

"I think that what everyone is pleased about is we kind of made a quick decision," he said.

"This hurts our momentum, but it's nothing that's insurmountable."

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