Tuesday, July 28, 2009
In Florida, a nonprofit group that provides eyeglasses to the poor (Florida's Vision Quest, Inc. - www.flvq.org) has been charged with improperly using more than $100,000 in state money. Here is a list of a few of the alleged improper uses and the nonprofit's response:
*??$28,500 as a retainer to Hebrock Steiner, a Tallahassee lobbying firm. Jeppesen said the firm provided fundraising advice, not lobbying.
*??$3,100 in travel expenses for Jeppesen and a co-worker to go to the 2007 International Vision Expo in Las Vegas. Jeppesen said the expo resulted in the donation of $30,000 in equipment.
*??$27,000 to forgive a 2005 loan from Vision Quest to Jeppesen and her ex-husband, who was Vision Quest's president. Jeppesen said the loan was beyond the scope of the state's review.
Now, with respect to the loan, I am not so sure that just saying that the loan was "beyond the scope of the state's review" resolves very much. Given that Florida's Vision Quest is a 501(c)(3), I wonder if this loan to these "insiders" furthered the charitable function?
For the entire story, see "Nonprofit eyeglasses provider refuses to reimburse state for flagged expenses"in the July 28, 2009, issue of the St. Petersburg Times.