Tuesday, February 19, 2008
According to a New York Daily News article, a tax exempt organization in Brooklyn has set itself up as the poster-child for private inurement and excess benefit transactions. Insiders at the Evelyn Douglin Center for Serving People in Need, including CEO Siebert Phillips, are in big trouble if the the following allegations prove true:
In 2006, Phillips gave himself a salary of nearly $300,000 as the head of SPIN and its sister group, the Evelyn Douglin Center for Children's Services - far more than top managers earned at similar nonprofits.
Phillips gave SPIN staffer Carlos Ortiz - with whom he was having a "personal relationship," the report stated - a $100,000-a-year, no-show job, a $51,000 company car and health and pension benefits. Reached by The News, Ortiz had no comment.
On Staff Day 2005, the agency doled out more than $60,000 for 11 flat-panel TVs, 34 iPods and other gifts.
A dozen top staffers got luxury cars - from Phillips' $51,475 GMC Denali to property manager Raymond Wynne's $62,370 Lincoln Navigator. "This appears to be well in excess of what is necessary and inconsistent with proper stewardship of taxpayer funding," investigators wrote.
Phillips and two colleagues spent $11,634 on a two-day conference in Chicago, where they paid $3,502.73 for lodging, including room service.
Phillips' son, who lives in Atlanta, allegedly racked up nearly $18,000 in gas charges on an agency credit card.
On top of all that, the article recounts that one staffer was fired for blowing the whistle and that most of the board members are friends of the CEO. Boy, what a case study! A follow-up article in today's New York Daily News indicates that the Attorney General and the Brooklyn District Attorney have started an investigation. It should be only a matter of time before the IRS starts sniffing around.