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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 01:42 am

Sale away

Phoenix Center store to close Saturday

Untitled Document The Phoenix Center — a nonprofit organization that provides testing, counseling, and housing for people with HIV and AIDS — is closing its Marketplace resale boutique after less than two years. All merchandise will be disposed of Saturday in a rummage sale beginning at 8 a.m., followed by an auction beginning at noon. The store is located at 3425 Old Chatham Rd., where the Pan Handler used to be. The consignment shop was established by Jack Bishop, the former executive director of the Phoenix Center. Bishop resigned about a year ago after the board of directors raised questions about his management of the non-profit’s finances [see Dusty Rhodes, “Phoenix rising” July 13, 2006]. The Marketplace turned out to be one of the problems the board found. “The revenue was down so far at the store that it was costing us money to maintain the store,” says Phoenix Center board president John Kerstein. “The fact that the rent was actually twice what he told us it was didn’t help.”
The board has filed police reports and affidavits alleging that Bishop forged signatures on $80,000 worth of checks, and charged $13,000 on a fraudulently-obtained credit card. Kerstein remains hopeful that the Sangamon County State’s Attorney will eventually file charges against Bishop. “We’re puzzled that nothing is happening. It boggles our brains,” he says. Bishop, meanwhile, has filed a civil suit charging each Phoenix board member with defamation for comments they made to Illinois Times.
Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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