DES MOINES, Iowa -- "The things that goes on in here is unreal to me," said Tez Malone, a client at the Central Iowa Shelter in Des Moines. Just drop by the shelter, and there's no shortage of people wanting to voice their complaints about the way things are run.
The background of the man who is now the manager of the shelter is concerning some employees and those who seek services from the shelter.
Mark Allen Hanrahan, 46, the once high-level executive at Principal Financial, was charged with felony kidnapping in January. Police say Hanrahan held a man at gunpoint and tried forcing him to buy crack cocaine.
In May, Hanrahan pleaded guilty to carrying weapons while intoxicated and solicitation to commit a felony. As part of a plea deal, Hanrahan was given a deferred judgment and ordered to serve two years probation.
A shelter employee was surprised to learn Hanrahan was hired as the shelter's new manager. The employee asked Channel 13 to hide her identity, but said, “I got a text message when I was off one day from another coworker who said, ‘You’ll never believe who the new manager’s going to be.'"
As Hanrahan's past became public, the shelter tried putting employee concerns to rest at a staff meeting.
"The whole discussion was around Mark, and justifying why he was in the position, justifying what he was arrested for, and what the situation was," said the employee. "I don`t think he's been clean long enough and I don`t think that his criminal record has been clean long enough for him to work there, especially in the position that he`s in," said the employee.
The employee said Hanrahan volunteered at the shelter for about four months until he was hired a little over a month ago.
Channel 13's Michael DaSilva tried asking Hanrahan about that concern Friday, but clients told him Hanrahan left. "He was scared to talk to you guys. He put on his coat and ran out the back door," said Darnell Johnson, a shelter client.
Shelter Director Jim Ferguson and Board Chair Justin Schoen declined to go on camera to do an interview, but they said Hanrahan is doing a great job, and the shelter is a place for second chances.
Ferguson also released a statement. It read in part:
CISS supports a challenging population of people experiencing homelessness. With strong on-going community support, CISS has been able to provide a broad range of services without cost to our clients staying in emergency housing. Rather than turn clients away because our 150 emergency beds are full, we have set up overflow arrangements to enable us to serve 30–50 additional clients per evening. Individual housing units are provided for 57 individuals. CISS is amazing.
Our limited staff has daily challenges meeting the needs of our clients. In spite of our best efforts, some clients complain while others express gratitude.
Improving client services and our facility is a daily endeavor.