Where the money went

(Jahi Chikwendiu - The Washington Post)
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here is a look at six AIDS groups in the District that were awarded grants by the city Health Department from 2004 to 2008 despite questionable spending, missing records or complaints about substandard services.

$4.5 MILLION Mi racle Hands

The nonprofit organization received more than $400,000 for a promised job-training center that, three years later, has not opened. Officials with the group say they ran out of money. Miracle Hands has also been cited for missing records and questionable expenses. Officials with the organization say it has served the community well.

$2.1 MILLION Abundant Life Clinic

City monitors cited the clinic for deficient records, questionable budgets and other problems. The executive director said the clinic, which no longer receives AIDS funds, turned in all records and successfully served many clients.

$1.1 MILLION Hill's Community Residential Support Services

Residents in the housing program complained that they sometimes went without food, gas and electricity. A former supervisor said payroll records were forged. Hill's officials could not be reached for comment.

$530,000 Our Children

Clients complained that the group was providing inadequate housing service and not paying their rents. City officials twice visited the office and found no business being conducted. Group officials could not be reached for comment.

$150,000 Ummah Endowment Fund

The city cannot produce a single document about the grants, which were given for outreach and communication. The group promised to hold lavish fundraisers to assist other AIDS groups, but the beneficiaries say they received little money. Ummah officials could not be reached for comment.

$135,000 Lurn-N-Ern

Over the course of a year, the housing group served only a handful of clients, who complained that the executive director was stealing their food stamps and that the night supervisor "did not exist." The group's executive director denied the allegations and accused the city of not sending enough people to the program.

NOTE: Dollar figures are approximate. Some groups might not have drawn down all of their funds. Photos by Jahi Chikwendiu and Mark Gail.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company