To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes, But Did Peaches Get To Keep The Playstation?

The Washington Post has been running a bang-up series on the waste and fraud the DC city government's contracting for HIV/AIDS services. The city shelled out no less than $25 million in taxpayer dollars to nonprofit agencies that were notable for their "questionable spending, a lack of clients, or lapses in record-keeping and care," according to the Post.

As with any story of this nature, it is the details that fascinate. Sorry this excerpt is so long, but it is the only way to get the full flavor of the thing:
Money from Rowe's department also went to Lurn-N-Ern, a youth education agency formed in 1997 by one-time D.C. Council candidate Mona Odom, who had been an executive with the Girl Scouts of America in New Mexico.

Odom told The Post that she started Lurn-N-Ern to help troubled kids and that she applied for an AIDS grant looking for a new line of business. Odom said she was qualified to do the work because she had run computer classes and had helped women on welfare find jobs.

"I'm a motivator," she said. "When you own a business, you don't have to have [any] background or skill. You look for the people who had it."

In October 2005, Lurn-N-Ern was awarded a $135,000 grant to provide housing for 20 women with AIDS over the course of a year at Odom's four-bedroom house in Northeast.

"Come on over to our house," a Lurn-N-Ern flier said. "Put on your learning shoes."

On incorporation records, Odom's aunt was listed as Lurn-N-Ern's president. The aunt, now 72, lived in Baltimore and had filed for bankruptcy four times, records show.

Lurn-N-Ern's executive director was Odom's friend Benita Blaine, who had a criminal record for theft, assault and prostitution. Blaine's street name was "Peaches." In mid-2006, Blaine was indicted by a grand jury in Alexandria of stealing a co-worker's credit card to buy a $209 Sony PlayStation. After her arrest, records show, she tested positive for cocaine and the illegal hallucinogen PCP. She was sentenced to two years' probation.

***

In October 2006, monitors went back to Lurn-N-Ern to look into complaints from a former staff member and clients who said that Odom had been stealing their food stamps and that night supervisor Rachel Hunter "did not exist," records show.

Odom told The Post that Hunter is her mother, a 73-year-old New Jersey resident. "She was just to be a filler person until I could find someone to fill the spot," Odom said.

Odom acknowledged that the address on the résumé submitted to the city "might have been wrong."

Odom said she did not steal food stamps from her clients.
Despite this, Odom, whose program was revealed only have two clients at one point, told the Post it was "a great success".

Read the whole infuriating thing here.

Labels: , , ,