Between $1 million and $1.5 million is missing from a Houston nonprofit organization heavily subsidized by taxpayers, reports KHOU 11 News TV.
The financial review, conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, prompted the government group not to renew its contract with HoustonWorks USA, an organization that helps the unemployed find jobs. The organization will shed jobs, going from 225 employees to 25 by the end of the year, the station reports.
Auditors also found the nonprofit is behind on its rent and other bills to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Houston City Councilman Larry V. Green, the nonprofit’s chief executive officer before leaving under a separation agreement earlier this summer, denied he was responsible for the missing money. He earned $179,000 in 2010, according to the organization’s tax filings.
“As you know we had about $800,000 debt prior to me getting in there,” Green told the TV station.
Which makes one wonder why Green would use the nonprofit’s charge card to buy and drinks and meals worth $145, $102 and $197. He also contributed HoustonWorks money to charities with which he has a connection. One example: $1,500 to sponsor the dessert served at a University of Houston Alumni Organization event.
“It’s business,” Green told KHOU. “It’s about business development. We were able to bring in $7 million and we were able to bring in new revenue to the organization.”
Much of that business comes courtesy of taxpayers. The group received almost $23.2 million in government grants in 2010 out of total revenue of $23.6 million, according to its tax form for that year.
You may read HoustonWorks formal response to the audit here.
Contact Mike Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter @michaelccronon.
Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us onTwitterandScribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.
Photo of 'Money to Burn' by flickr user Adam Cohn, used via a Creative Commons license.