Tennessee Comptrollers are calling out two nonprofits in Memphis for the alleged sloppy handling of nearly $65,000 in taxpayer money, according to an audit released this week.
The Black United Fund of Tennessee is one nonprofit; the other is the Minority Enterprise Development Corporation. Both nonprofits have the same executive director and the same board of directors. The organizations co-mingled funds, which state law forbids, the audit said.
Both groups got the money from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, according to the audit.
Among the expenses Comptrollers said the MEDC didn’t properly document:
• $3,173.96 for its executive director
• $47,499 that went to interns
• Three checks totaling $6,000, supposedly for rent, even though the audit said that money did not go directly to the landlord.
• Exactly $800 for housekeeping, trash disposal and lawn care.
• Exactly $253.36 to Memphis Light Gas and Water.
• Four checks totaling $6,550 for accounting fees.
The audit also said board members didn’t bother taking minutes of their own meetings, as nonprofits are supposed to. Those board members, along with the executive director, whose name wasn’t cited, wouldn’t meet with Comptrollers to defend themselves, the audit said.
Tennessee Watchdog didn’t have much luck reaching them, either.
A phone number listed on BUF’s website was disconnected Wednesday. An email address listed on the website wasn’t working.
No contact information for MEDC was found online.
The audit examined expenses for both organizations from June 2012 through June 2014.
The executive director who oversaw all this resigned last year, the audit said.
In addition, the audit said subcontractors for both nonprofits complained they didn’t receive payment for services rendered.
BUFF began in 1994 and, according to its stated mission, “supports a variety of programs and organizations providing vital services in the black community.” These programs include projects to improve education, arts and culture, economic development, health and human services and youth development.
MEDC, meanwhile, is supposed to provide business consulting and technical assistance to women, veterans and small and minority-owned businesses, according to the audit.
Comptrollers said they shared the audit with the district attorney general for the Thirtieth Judicial District serving Shelby County. No one in that office was available to talk Wednesday.
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