21 NGOs sent to debt collection agency
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of the Treasury turned records for 21 non-governmental organizations over to a collection agency this week to go after more than $2.5 million in missing taxpayer funds.
Treasurer John Kennedy's office said the delinquent NGOs were submitted to the new Office of Debt Recovery for immediate legal and collection proceedings. Among them is the Colomb Foundation, a nonprofit with ties to state Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb. The treasurer's office said the Colomb Foundation owed more than $300,000 in unaccounted for taxpayer funds.
Kennedy said 13 other organizations did come forward with the necessary paperwork. However, he said that didn't mean an end to his department's questions about how taxpayer money was spent.
"Even if an organization has technically come into 'compliance,' this does not constitute an endorsement from Treasury of their spending practices," said Treasurer Kennedy. "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."
This comes as the result of a 2008 executive order signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal which requires NGOs that receive taxpayer money to submit paperwork showing the state how it's spent, or they'll be required to return the money.
Kennedy said he would also ask all 34 NGOs which had compliance problems to have their tax-exempt status reviewed, and see if they owe additional state or federal taxes if they didn't maintain that non-profit status.
News 2's Investigative Unit looked into the Colomb Foundation's spending and will have more information on today's announcement starting at 6 p.m.