The District government yesterday filed suit against council member Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7), and against a community task force Hardy chairs, contending that they owe the city $9,402.85 in grant funds.
According to the suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, both Hardy and the Community Task Force for the Safety of Children and Youth, Inc. have refused to provide adequate justification for expenditure of the money.
The suit contends Hardy signed three checks, drawn on the task force account, for $1,050 but was unable to show the money was used for approved task force programs.
Hardy, in a telephone interview, said the task force had repeatedly filed documentation with city officials to account for the expenditures described in the five-page lawsuit. She said the task force was not informed by the city that the documentation was unacceptable, as the lawsuit contends.
As to the checks she signed, Hardy said the money was used to buy a tape recorder for the task force and to pay for food, transportation and seminars conducted by the task force.
Hardy charged that the suit, filed by the office of D.C. Corporation Counsel John R. Risher Jr., was politically motivated because of her endorsement of Council Chairman Sterling Tucker, a candidate for mayor.
"We're not going to let him get away with it," Hardy said of Risher. Risher said Hardy would have to prove her allegations "in court."
According to the lawsuit, the city gave $50,000 in federal funds to the task force under grant agreements in 1974 and 1975 with the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. In return, the task force was to provide $5,622 in matching cash funds, or roughly 10 percent of total expenditures, according to court papers.
An audit of the task force records showed, however, that it actually spent $52,659, according to papers filed with the lawsuit. Thus, if under the terms of the grant, federal support was to equal 90 percent of expenditures, the task force owes the city $2,606, the suit contends.
In addition, the suit contends, the task force owes another $6,796 to the city, or 90 percent of the amount of checks written by the task force that the city contends were not adequately documented.
In the suit, the city asks the court to order the task force to account for the money and to pay whatever is owed.
The community task force was formed in 1973 in far Southeast Washington, which had been the scene of the so-called "Freedom Phantom" murders of six young girls.
According to council member Hardy, the group works closely with the D.C. police and with schools in connection with safety education.