Monday, February 2, 2009

FBI Probes Philly Charity

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about an ongoing FBI investigation of Safe and Sound, a Philadelphia social-service charity with ties to former Mayor Street. Street's wife ran the nonprofit from its creation in 1998 until she left the organization in 2002, after criticism that as Mayor's wife she shouldn't be running an organization that received most of its funding from the city. Her sister has run programs that received funding from Safe and Sound for at least five years. The FBI investigation began last spring, after the Board of Safe and Sound announced that it would close in June. One question the FBI investigators are asking is whether the mayor and his wife tried to influence spending decisions after she left the organization. The mayor certainly continued to influence distributions from the city to the organization as long as he could. The Inquirer reports that shortly before he left office in 2007 Street gave the organization a no-bid contract of $75 million, even though the city council had authorized only $54 million. Safe and Sound began distributing money to providers, and then the providers learned, after Street's successor took office, that they shouldn't spend the money. Just one more mess Street left behind.

On Jan. 16 Sophie Smith blogged about Pennsylvania State Senator Fumo's trial, the revelations about the Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, and the resulting lack of confidence in Philadelphia nonprofits. It seems Fumo is not the only politician taking advantage of nonprofits in Philly. there.


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