Problems persist for foundations tied to state solon

by Walter Pierce

State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb and her husband, Sterling Colomb, can't catch a break from the office of state Treasurer John Kennedy.

Sterling Colomb and Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb

The IND has obtained a letter sent Wednesday from First Assistant State Treasurer Ron Henson to Sterling Colomb regarding the Lafayette-based nonprofit he operates - the Colomb Foundation. The letter comes weeks after Kennedy's office concluded that the Colomb Foundation and several other nongovernmental organizations that have received millions of dollars in state grants, failed to keep adequate records on how that grant money was spent. In the letter, Henson informs Colomb that several receipts the Colomb Foundation submitted to the treasurer's office to account for its spending were either redacted or incomplete, and the under secretary informs Colomb that his "office must be in receipt of the requested documentation or in receipt of a check for the amount of the appropriation" by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20.

In other words, Kennedy's office wants clean copies of the receipts or it expects Colomb to fork over roughly $300,000 in state grant money it received in 2008. Copies of more than a dozen receipts, mostly for purchases at home improvement stores, are included with the letter.

Also yesterday, Baton Rouge news station WBRZ reported that Kennedy's office received - and denied - a request for nearly $20,000 in additional funding from Serenity 67, the Baton Rouge-based NGO operated by Sen. Dorsey-Colomb. Serenity 67, like the Colomb Foundation, is one of several nonprofits that have failed to account for state grant expenditures.

The request to Kennedy's office was made by the office of Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, and according to the station, Dorsey-Colomb submitted the request to Holden's office last June, months before Kennedy announced his investitation into Serenity 67 and the other NGOs.