D.C. council member calls for Peaceoholics audit
Updated: August 23, 2010 - 10:55 pm
Ward 7 Council Member Yvette Alexander wants to know where millions of D.C. taxpayer dollars have gone. During the past several years, the non-profit organization Peaceoholics received grants and contracts from the District but lately claims of financial mismanagement and irregularities have surfaced.
In the past several years, roughly $10 million of District money landed in Peaceoholics hands.
D.C. taxpayer Laura Schnepper said, "There's a lot of things that that money could have been spent on."
Peaceoholics is a program that helps at risk youth. Its goal is to make them drug-free and crime-free members of society. Yet, the organization has not filed regular finance reports showing how it spent the money as it tries to accomplish that goal.
Schnepper said, "I'd really, really like to know where it was spent and hopefully it wasn't embezzled."
Last week, Ward 7 Council member Yvette Alexander asked for a financial audit.
Alexander said, "How could one organization get all of these millions of dollars and people aren't seeing the efforts of that money."
A preliminary audit of the Peaceoholics should be ready September 3. Alexander says that sort of oversight is long overdue.
"Performance measures are a must and we have to follow the money," stated Alexander.
Another concern for Alexander stems from Ron Moten. He is the non-profit's co-founder and a vocal Adrian Fenty supporter.
Alexander said, "Non-profits are not allowed to engage in political activity. So in fact, are they even in violation of some federal income tax laws?"
Peaceoholic's website says Moten recently stepped down. Alexander questions that.
"He still seems to be their number one spokesperson," commented Alexander.
The non-profit did not return our calls but Ron Moten did send an email to TBD's Tiffany Wilson. In the email, Moten said:
"It is sad to once again see council members misuse their authority to try to influence a race by attacking people they consider Allies of Mayor Fenty. This was done once before and we wasted taxpayer dollars to later find it was more of a political stunt than investigation.
Furthermore, Ms. Alexander and her colleagues should be asking for a investigation of the 1.3 million dollar earmark the Chairman Gray and the Council gave to Harry Thomas who gave it to a friend on golf courses and one day musical which was supposed to go to gang intervention after publicly saying earmarks and no bid contracts were over!"
Where did the Peaceoholics get the more than $10 million? The nonprofit was awarded a series of grants and contracts from many agencies, including the D.C. police department, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and the Department of Health. Alexander says the non-profit recently asked for an additional $100,000 from DYRS and that compelled her to call for an audit.
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