2002 Recertification


    Our complaint to ODHS, and publicization of Cyril’s death and BBAS’s chicanery, was not the only indignity to befall BBAS in the dawn of the new millenium. Two clients – the Badys and the  Towells — had filed complaints as well, within a 12-month period.  

    All Linda Saridakis could do was cite Denise for slight code violations for not having certain information on file.

    So how did all this affect Building Blocks when their license came up for renewal?

    On June 3, 2002, Daniel and I received yet another packet of documents from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services — all related to the relicensing of Building Blocks Adoption Service, Inc. for a third two-year period.

    We aren’t terribly surprised that it was granted and BBAS can continue to do adoptions in Ohio through 2004. Ohio’s regs don’t really give much room for the state to call BBAS to account for some of the most egregious things it has done and likely will do again.

    This packet was not  as much of a stack as BBAS’s original filings.

    What was most interesting, however, was Denise’s behavior. As she had during the initial certification, she played perfectly the part of impulsive and restless teenage daughter to Linda Saridakis’s long-suffering, harried mother.

    And Linda only seems to have been able to take so much of this. In her report, Linda compiled  several times where Denise evades and lies to her regarding clients and BBAS’s recertification.


    The 2000 recertification had gone fairly smoothly. Since they already were at BBAS investigating our complaint, Linda brought another licensing specialist with her.

    While she investigated the complaint, the other specialist looked over the documents required for recertification with (it seems) the rare help of Cynthia Marco.

    There were a few things missing from the documents, but on the whole Linda (who wrote the report) seemed to feel things were on the level as they could be corrected right then and there.

    2002, however, would be a different story.    

    With Linda’s report came printouts of the emails she and Denise had exchanged while trying to set up the review. 

    Or, rather, while Linda was trying to set it up. Denise, for all intents and purposes, seems to be stalling, hoping she can cut corners again and get by with minimal effort.

    It began pretty much after the New Year. 

    In what appears to have been late December, Denise sent Linda Saridakis the recertification documents for BBAS license. On Jan. 2 she emailed Linda: 

Hope you had a good holiday season. Please confirm the receipt of our necessary documentation for renewal or our agency license. I have not heard from you and you typically advise when the packet arrives.

    [Of note: this email had a “cc” to Richard J. Marco at Rmarco@marcomarcobailey.com.  Looks like he finally got with the 21st century]

    Linda responded on Jan. 10 stating that she had indeed received the information. She informed Denise: 

Just glancing at the information sent, it does not appear that you included all documents required on pages 5 and 6 of the application nor the original and one copy of each item requested.

    Within minutes Denise, who seems to be online whenever she’s awake, responded back, disputing the above: 

I did send you one original and one copy of all.  Unsure what 5 and 6 is?  The letter you sent me was incomplete. 

    Not to be outdone, Linda sent an equally rapid response, one that betrayed a hint of testiness: 

Like I said, I just glanced at the information sent. I was referring to pages 5 and 6 of the application which lists all the documents that are required to be attached.  The Nov. 1, 2001 was two pages long. If you did not receive the entire letter, please let me know.

    Denise wrote back stating the letter she had received was two pages long, but the first page was from Nov. 1, 1999 and appeared to be incomplete and the second page was signed “01”

    On Jan. 11 Linda stated she may have accidentally sent the letter and had forgotten to change the date, but the letter should be correct. She attached the letter for Denise’s perusal.

    Upon receipt of this information, Denise thanked Linda with an “FYI!” at the bottom of her email. “I have been very ill, so I apologize if I appear short.” 

    She emailed Linda again on Jan. 16, complete with her “questioning” phrases, her favorite obfuscatory technique:

Tried calling your office, not even a phone machine kicked in? Called twice? …The policies were sent out…on 12/24/01 and you did not receive them until 1/7/02…but they were sent?

    The questions and comments continued in her next email to Linda:

           Received the packet back – Reviewed it – I have a few questions??

               Your note states the following?

Application has not been signed – Not it was signed and dated by Gary Hubbard and Thomas Rotunda on 12-20-01

Also note the signature is supposed to be of a board member – Gary Hubbard is a board member – Please clarify?

Administer should date and sign revised application – This was done – Mr. Rotunda signed and dated the application?  Please clarify?

Articles of Incorporation?  Why would they be revised?  We are incorporated and nothing has changed?  Can you advised?  Confused?

Does the Mission statement have to be revised?  I do not see this anywhere in the policies?

There are no additional body members?  What are you asking for?

Last time you requested that only my evaluation be sent to you and you would check the evaluations when you came to the office?  Now you want them sent?  Confused?

Last time you requested that I do not send the monthly board minutes you would check when you came to the office?  Now you want them sent?  Confused?

Also again last licensing renewal you requested Job Descriptions to remain onsite and you would review here?  Now you want them sent?  Confused?

Where you have items marked they are done and your suggestions are listed to prevent confusion.  Do you want them changed so your not confused?  Thanks!

Personal Manual?  You reviewed this on site before?  You want these sent in addition?  You want duplicate copies of all manuals etc…as well?

    Linda attempted to answer her comments disguised as questions. The application was received by the office on Jan. 7, but Linda hadn't returned until Jan 9. 

    She tried to remind Denise there was a larger world than just her: “I know mail is taking longer since the Anthrax incidents. This is not an issue.” She also stated that they were having trouble with their telephone system. 

    Linda then enumerated point by point what was incomplete with the information Denise had sent. 

    The application materials were incorrect and required revision. Things had been changed on the application and all parties had to sign off on the changes. There were no parties’ signatures anywhere on these changes.

    BBAS’s Articles of Incorporation had not been revised. However, the ODJFS would still need a copy of the original articles from Jan. 15, 1998 and this date would have to appear on Page 5 of the application.

    Linda stated in her points that there had been no new members added to BBAS board. If there were, these names would have to be submitted to the ODJFS, but as it was, that section of the application was fine.

    Thomas Rotunda’s position as Administrator had to be confirmed and documents submitted with the Board’s evaluation of his work for the agency.

    She made this comment about the Board Minutes

The specific board minutes…were requested at the previous recertification review and were submitted by your agency. All other Board Minutes, other than those specifically requested, are reviewed on-site. These Board Minutes must be submitted.

    She also told Denise to submit two copies of all items required, and ended her email with what must have been diplomatically intended as helpful advice: “I believe that you may be mixing up the requirements for the recertification visits and the additional visits that are completed during the recertification year.”

    In email exchanges between Jan. 28 and 29, Linda attempted to pin Denise down for a date where she could come by the Giant Succotash and review BBAS files in person. Denise stated on Jan. 28:

It would not matter any day, I have several appointments I have to make with doctors and I can only make them when they are available.  If I had an idea that you would be gone by 1pm or so I could schedule a 2-3 pm appointment if needed.  This is a day by day issue.

    In an undated email, not included with the material released to us, it must have been proposed the two women meet on Feb. 12. Denise shot back: 

Can you advise APPROX. how long you will be here on the 12th?  I have many appointments I need to schedule for myself and Emily and I need to know what part of the day is open for me. Thank you.

    Linda responded on Jan. 29: 

I would like to be able to tell you what time I will complete the review, but I really am unable to do that. One record may take 15 minutes or an entire day. Perhaps Mr. Rotunda can be there if you are unable to stay or I can complete the review while you are at your appointment, if necessary, and meet with you another day.  I can be flexible, but cannot provide you with any timeframe.

    Don’t you think it would eventually have sunk through Denise’s addled brain that Linda Saridakis had continually refused to give her a timeframe on anything and that the world of regulation did not revolve around her needs or requests? But no, when the sort of “hurry up and wait” treatment that was by now pretty much SOP for her agency with respect to its clients was visited on her, she didn’t like it either.

    (Also, why didn’t Denise just let her director, Tom Rotonda, take care of the meeting for her? Hmm?)

    A meeting finally occurred in February, and the following is Linda’s summary report to BBAS recertification file. 

    It’s obvious that, beneath the professional bureaucratic veneer, Linda is clearly none too pleased with Denise’s petulance and prevarication (emphasized). 

    We have some notes of our own, mostly to assist the reader.





The recertification review for Building Blocks Adoption Services, Inc. was conducted on February 12, 2002.  Prior to this review the agency had one waiver request on April 6, 2000 to complete a financial statement in place of an audit; two amendments (one for the relocation of the agency on July 14, 2000 [1] and one for a new administrator on October 30, 2000 [2]), and one complaint on June 28, 2001 (See Complaint Reports #4-44-01 [3]). 

In addition, supplemental information was submitted to the department on October 15, 2001 to be included with Complaint #4-5-00 [4] Ms. Hubbard, Owner, requested a copy of that letter that the letter complainant had wrote. This specialist informed Ms. Hubbard that she needed to request the information from Columbus, because certain identifying information had to be redacted. Evidently she called Columbus and told me that I must send her the information. 

I informed her that I had not been told by Columbus to proceed in any way. She insisted and said she would call Columbus. Meanwhile, I also contacted our department and let them know that I was unclear on what information was to be redacted and thought that legal should be involved in this decision. 

Ms. Hubbard sent a number of electronic emails that date (November 6, 2001), regarding this letter and seemed to be upset due to the shortness and rapidness of her responses [5]. This specialist talked with [Name Redacted], Section Chief and shared the letter with him on November 7, 2001.  [Name Redacted] stated that he would follow up with this.

The entrance conference was conducted with Ms. Denise Hubbard, Owner. The new administrator, Thomas Rotunda was not present… [6]

The agency submitted their recertification application and material in a timely manner. This was reviewed and returned to the agency on January 15, 2001 [7] as some policies were not in compliance with current Ohio Administrative Code Rules and documents or documentation were missing, along with the application containing the incorrect signatures and incorrect effective dates of policies and procedures.

Ms. Hubbard seemed to question each area that required revision or correction, including the date. I received the application material. She stated that I had already reviewed records which had not been reviewed; that I did not require [the] Board President’s signature previously and that the application did not ask for the signature of a board president but only a board member; that I did not previously request copies of evaluations, personnel policies, board minutes, etc.

The records of the previous recertification review were checked and it was determined that her allegations were false and she was informed of this.

The agency revised the application and policies and submitted them to the department on January 23, 2002.  The revised application required some minor policy revisions, along with the submission of the financial statement and financial audit.

This specialist did not have time to review the revised policies and requested that these and other documents be maintained at the agency until the on-site review. These documents were reviewed on February 12, 2002.  All documents were present, with the exception of the financial audit for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2001 and minor revisions and typographical errors were corrected. The agency is aware that the audit must be submitted prior to their being recertified … 

The personnel record of the agency’s new Adoption Assessor [8], hired on May 16, 2001, contained documentation of a completed Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation [BCII] and Federal Bureau of Identification criminal record check. However, these were completed prior to the date of the application and prior to the date of hire.

Evidentally, the assessor had completed an adoption with the agency and they used her previous criminal records checks. Ms. Hubbard stated that I informed her that this was okay. I informed Ms. Hubbard that I would not have told her this, since this is not what the law requires. The agency is aware that new criminal checks will be required for this employee.

Three adoptive records were reviewed and reconciled with Ms. Hubbard on this date. Two records documented 36 hours of training. However, they did not document the adoption topics as outlined in this rule. The agency has revised their form, since the last review, and the new form does not contain all of the required topics.

The third record, Record #3 was reviewed on July 3, 2001 as a result of a complaint investigation. The record was cited at that time because they did not document that the agency completed 3 hours of cultural training. All of the required topics were documented.

The corrective action plan stated that the agency would correct and document that 3 hours of cultural training had been received. The corrective action plan was dated July 11, 2001 and was supposed to be completed within 30 days. The correction was not documented. The agency stated that the record was subpoenaed for court and that documents were removed from the original file [9]. The agency was informed that they should copy any future files that are subpoenaed by the courts. A citation was also issued for the agency failing to follow an approved corrective action plan. See #R4-9-02.

A copy of all records reviewed, the Summary of Findings of Noncompliance and the corrective action plan requirements were reviewed and provided to the agency on February 12, 2002. The corrective action plan was due on February 27, 2002. Sample forms were again provided to the agency. The plan was received on February 27, 2002 and the approval letter was sent on February 28, 2002 by facsimile and the original received on March 28, 2002. 

The audit stated that the auditor noted an immaterial matter involving internal controls and a need for improvement in this area. A memo is being sent with this review to determine if the audit needs further review by our department.

This specialist recommends that this agency be recertified to participate in the placement of children for adoption. The effective date of the certificate should begin on May 1, 2002 to May 1, 2004.

Signed by Linda Saridakis, Licensing Specialist, April 1, 2002.


[1] This was the change of BBAS’s address due to the Hubbards’ move from Medina Township into the city itself.

[2] Cynthia Marco’s replacement by Tom Rotonda.

[3] The Badys’ complaint, made entirely by telephone.

[4] Our rebuttal to Denise Hubbard’s take on events

[5] See here

[6] Interesting, isn’t it? We have some ideas about why Linda might have taken note of this.

[7] See emails above.

[8] Carla Everstijn

[9] This is strange. She’s clearly referring to the Badys’ lawsuit, but we don’t recall that the Badys actually subpoenaed anything (why would they? They had most of the documents themselves in the first place). It’s possible that Rick Marco could have had it out at the time to prepare, but with a state certification review underway it seems horribly sloppy and unprofessional (as with so much else connected to Denise Hubbard and her adoption agency) as indeed Linda goes on to suggest.

To then suggest that the Badys removed original documents from the file is crass and low. They had suffered enough at BBAS’s hands without this cheap shot.

But it was par for the course, considering that in court Wendy and Denise both at least greatly stretched the truth by testifying that Constance Bady had refused to give them the dossier back, when in actuality she had just had to hold on to the homestudy for a few days extra to get her new INS clearance.

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