Posted: Nov 6, 2013 6:35 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Nov 6, 2013 6:35 PM
BATON ROUGE - A non-governmental organization, or NGO, with ties to state senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb wants more state funding even though it can't explain how it spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer's dollars.
In a letter sent to the Department of the Treasury dated Oct. 14, 2013, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden asked treasury's permission to transfer $19,368.44 to Serenity 67 from other programs that "have completed their projects with remaining funding or have been unresponsive."
The money is part of a 2010 cooperative endeavour agreement between the Department of the Treasury and East Baton Rouge Parish. This particular CEA amounts to $185,000 which was divided up between many organizations in 2010.
In the October 2013 letter, the mayor's office requested $440.80 from the LSU Board of Supervisors, $10,000 from Southern University, $2,500 from Prescott Middle, $3,927.64 from Park Elementary and $2,500 from Hope Christian Church to be transferred to Serenity 67.
The Investigative Unit requested an interview with either the mayor or someone in his administration, which was denied.
A spokesperson said Senator Dorsey-Colomb personally requested the additional funds in June, and the mayor's office was just getting around to making the official request last month.
The mayor's office couldn't say which of the aforementioned organizations turned down money or didn't respond.
Serenity 67 has been featured in multiple News 2 reports for failing to document how it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.
State Treasurer John Kennedy went after Serenity 67 and others who couldn't or wouldn't provide receipts and billing statements. He said he was shocked Serenity 67 needed more money.
"Serenity 67 has received almost $800,000, hard earned dollars, from the legislature. They spent every dime of it, they refuse to tell us how they spent it. They won't send us any cancelled checks, any bank accounts, any receipts. They won't even answer our phone calls, or our emails, or our letters," Kennedy said.
The Department of Treasury referred Serenity 67 to the Office of Debt Recovery, a state agency tasked with recovering billions owed to the state.