State Auditor: Non-profit's expenses questionable
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (WHDH) -- The state’s auditor said a Charlestown non-profit charged roughly $2 million in questionable expenses to taxpayers.
“There are a lot of questions about this organization’s willingness to play by the rules,” said Suzanne Bump, state auditor.
Bump announced a report that revealed $2.3 million in questionable expenses were charged to the state at Charlestown's Life Focus Center, a charity for the severely disabled, covering everything from staffing, to travel to credit cards.
“There are insufficient records to substantiate their billings to state, their reports of time spent caring for disabled, and their credit card expenditures," Bump said.
The auditor's report probed $123,173 in credit card expenses.
Bump said by the agency's executive director charged up bills at numerous restaurants and retail stores on weekends. Among the charges: a $200 bill at a Cambridge eatery, a New Hampshire liquor store, and souvenir shop at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.
“The explanations that we received from the executive director frankly just didn’t hold water. We don’t think that they are credible,” Bump said.
The auditor's report also revealed the Life Focus Center also charged the state more than $200,000 in contracted services to relatives of the agency’s administrators, but didn't document the work performed.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Life Focus Center says,
"While we have been successful in our non-profit mission and are proud of our work, we clearly have made mistakes in our financial and reporting measures. We have worked with the auditors office for several months to address those errors."
The statement goes on to say,
"…we are committed to returning any money that has been mistakenly charged to the state."
And that's what the state auditor is counting on. She wants the non-profit to pay back what she calls the “inappropriate credit card expenses."
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