Nearly two dozen non governmental organizations that have received $2.5 million in state funding have been referred to the newly created state Office of Debt Recovery and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. The local Colomb Foundation is not one of them.
The Colomb Foundation, headquartered in Lafayette with a community center in Arnaudville, is not being referred to the Office of Debt Recovery; its documents, however, will be reviewed by the Legislative Auditor.
Nearly two dozen non governmental organizations that have received $2.5 million in state funding have been referred to the newly created state Office of Debt Recovery and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.
State Treasurer John Kennedy's office announced the move on Tuesday. Not on the list of NGOs referred for debt collection is the Lafayette-based Colomb Foundation, which has had an acrimonious back and forth with Kennedy's office over roughly $300,000 it received in 2008 to build a community center in Arnaudville. However, documents the Colomb Foundation submitted to Kennedy's office have been submitted to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office for review. The Colomb Foundation is among seven NGOs receiving the extra scrutiny.
Sterling Colomb, the Colomb Foundation's founder and executive director, has maintained that his organization submitted receipts for its use of the state grant money to Kennedy's office in 2008. The foundation resubmitted the documents this fall after Kennedy announced that the Colomb Foundation and 33 other NGOs had failed to comply with state accountability standards for their expenditures. One of the NGOs referred this week to the Office of Debt Recovery is Serenity 67, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit run by Colomb's wife, state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb.
Colomb recently retained the services of Baton Rouge attorney Mary Olive Pierson to contest Kennedy's charges against the foundation. In a letter last week to Kennedy, Pierson echoed Colomb's earlier claims that Kennedy's actions against the NGOs were motivated by personal political aspirations, i.e., a run for governor. (Kennedy has not announced intentions to seek another office.)
Regardless, it appears that the Colomb Foundation is in the clear for now, pending a review of its documents now in the hands of the Legislative Auditor's Office.
Kennedy meanwhile says he remains unsatisfied with what he characterizes as sloppy bookkeeping by the nonprofits that receive state funding: "Even if an organization has technically come into compliance,' this does not constitute an endorsement from Treasury of their spending practices," Kennedy says in a release announcing the latest in the situation. "In fact, I continue to have very serious questions and concerns about the accounting methods of these NGOs, and whether they represent a priority expenditure for the state. Taxpayers deserve a full and thorough review to find out where their money went."