Friday, October 18, 2019

Florida’s top domestic violence nonprofit has flouted state audit for more than a year (Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times)

There are lots of dodgy 501c3s in Florida, including St. Johns County's own Betty Griffin House, which receives money from this state-funded organization that is flouting an audit.

Betty Griffin House remained silent and refused to speak with The New York Times for nine months in 2013 about the September 2, 2010 murder of Michelle O'Connell in the home of Deputy Jeremy Banks.
On December 7, 2016, during a break in the proceedings before Judge Howard O. McGillin in the case of Richard Burtt O'Brien v. Thomas Reynolds, I asked the BGH rep in the courtroom about BGH's silence on the case of State of Florida v. JEREMY BANKS; she impulsively said BGH was on his side.  Despicable.

Officer Involved Domestic Violence is of little interest to organizations that are in bed with corrupt Sheriffs like DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" in 1994.

This statewide 501c3's grants should be withheld and the State Attorney General needs to sue for an accounting, an ancient equitable remedy.

From Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times:

Florida’s top domestic violence nonprofit has flouted state audit for more than a year

An American flag flies over the Florida Capitol, Tuesday April 23, 2019 in Tallahassee.
An American flag flies over the Florida Capitol, Tuesday April 23, 2019 in Tallahassee.  AP

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a nonprofit, but in many ways, it operates like an arm of state government.
It contracts with the state Department of Children and Families to oversee domestic violence programs across the state. It receives more than $51 million in government funding — from Florida and federal programs — which it parcels out to 42 domestic violence centers. It is even enshrined by name in state law, thanks to a 2003 bill signed by former Gov. Jeb Bush, a longtime booster for the organization.
But the coalition, for the last 13 months, has flouted the state’s oversight with little consequence.
The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of the coalition’s finances last summer after the Miami Herald reported president and CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $761,000 the prior fiscal year. But it has not been able to “move forward” with an audit for more than a year because the coalition won’t hand over documents the department is requesting.
Those documents include basic items like the coalition’s general ledger, minutes from meetings and personnel files containing compensation information for top executives.
Despite being ignored, DCF — which is directed by statute to contract with the coalition — extended its contract with the nonprofit twice through June 2020, as it keeps trying to resolve what it calls “outstanding compliance issues.”
At first, the department said only that it would “continue to seek answers and a clear explanation of the use of taxpayer dollars for executive salaries within FCADV.” DCF did not respond to questions asking if it has taken any legal action to enforce its requests for documents or what justification the coalition had provided for not cooperating with the department’s review.

After repeated inquiries by the Herald/Times about the status of the audit, DCF said Wednesday night that it was “not willing to continue working with a provider who will not account for how they are utilizing taxpayer dollars” — that unless the issues are resolved, the state is unlikely to continue its contract with the coalition.
The coalition’s outright refusal to cooperate since last August is “extraordinary, to behave in this way,” said University of Miami professor Frances Hill, who teaches about nonprofit issues and writes a twice-yearly treatise on tax-exempt organizations. 
“I’ve never heard of it before,” she added. “The word gobsmacked could perhaps be used in this context.”
Anna Eskamani, a Democratic state representative from Orlando who had reached out several times to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office questioning Carr’s high compensation, said the coalition’s lack of response was suspicious. 
“If you haven’t completed a financial audit, then you’re hiding something,” she said.
Carr and Sandy Barnett, the coalition’s vice president, did not respond to a request for comment. They also did not answer multiple questions, including why the coalition has not provided documents and how the board determined Carr’s most recent yearly compensation.


A nonprofit domestic violence coalition exists in every state, but Florida’s is empowered far more than most, if not all, its counterparts. It is tasked with overseeing the funding of 42 certified domestic violence centers in the state, and acts as a pass-through entity for state and federal funds.
In addition to being the largest domestic violence coalition in the country, the Florida organization is also specified in state law as a de facto partner to DCF in addressing domestic violence, though it operates under a contract with the department.
That state law, signed in 2003 by Bush, also expanded its budget and required all state funds for domestic violence programs to go through the coalition.
Carr, who has run the coalition for nearly two decades, has overseen the growth of the coalition’s responsibilities — and its funds. The nonprofit’s budget has increased to more than $52 million as of last year, according to its most recent IRS documents, almost entirely comprising money from state government and federal programs such as the Victims of Crime Act. The budget also includes money generated by court fines in domestic violence cases, according to past financial documents.
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