Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Troubled D.C. Nonprofit To Release Audit

A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that had hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by a former D.C. councilman will release an audit of its finances.

Keva Sturdevent, development director of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., told The Washington Examiner that the organization will release its fiscal year 2010 audit in the next 30 days. Former Councilman Harry Thomas Jr., pleaded guilty last year to stealing $353,000 from the organization in 2010, as well as other charges of tax fraud. He was accused of transferring the money to his bank account for personal use and was sentenced to three years in prison.

"There is no excuse," Thomas said during his sentencing. "What I did was wrong." He went on to explain that he stole the money because he had a sense of "entitlement."

The D.C. Council has long pushed for the release of the 2010 audit, arguing that it could provide valuable insight into Thomas' activities. DC Children and Youth Investment Trust receives the majority of its funding from the District government.

 "We have an unaudited organization that has millions upon millions [of] dollars of D.C. funds," said Councilman Jim Graham, who oversees the organization as chairman of the council's Human Services Committee, on Monday. "The audit is going to tell the story."

Graham was one of the leading voices to get the trust to release its 2010 audit. He had previously asked Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to appoint him as a non-voting member of the nonprofit, and he was subsequently nominated for that position earlier this month.

Robert Bobb, the trust's chairman, criticized that decision in a letter to the council, insisting that his organization could only "prevent repeating the problems of the past by erecting a barrier between the Trust and elected officials."

Graham eventually removed his name from consideration.

The trust says it plans to conduct audits of 2011 and 2012 as well, but has not yet announced when those would be released. The organization's new executive director, Ed Davies, admitted to The Examiner that the trust isn't as independent from politics as it should be, and de-politicizing remains his top priority.

You can read the full story in The Washington Examiner.

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