US Rep. Frank Ballance (D-NC)
used his position as a powerful state senator to garner funds for a foundation
he operated for the last ten years, a state auditor's report has found.
Much of that money went to relatives and political allies on the foundation's
payroll, the report concluded. The John A. Hyman Foundation was "riddled
with apparent conflicts of interest" and no formal structure for awarding
grants, State Auditor Ralph Campbell reported on October 22.
The foundation, whose ostensible
purpose was to provide drug treatment services, was founded by then state
Sen. Ballance in 1993. When state funds starting flowing his way,
Ballance was vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Since
then, the Hyman Foundation has collected more than $2 million from the
state. It has indeed provided drug treatment services, auditors found,
but they also questioned numerous expenditures and described a foundation
rife with political cronyism and nepotism:
It was the Hyman Foundation's
failure to report spending to the state Corrections Department, which budgeted
the funds, for the last three years that triggered the auditor's investigation.
Now State Auditor Campbell is demanding that the foundation, which shut
down after the Corrections Department cut off its funds this year, immediately
return some $339,000 still in its accounts to the state. And the
FBI and US Attorney's Office in Raleigh have begun an investigation.
Ballance was chairman of the
foundation's board of directors and controlled the checkbooks.
Over the last three years (the
scope of this investigation), Ballance hired a political ally, the pastor
of the Greenwood Baptist Church, as his executive director, the treasurer
of the Frank Ballance Senate Campaign as an administrative assistant, and
the campaign manager of the Frank Ballance Senate Campaign as director
of one treatment program.
Ballance's mother served on
the foundation board and was employed by a nonprofit agency that received
grants from the foundation.
Ballance paid a company owned
by his daughter $5,000 for work that was not done. Valerie Ballance's
Consultech firm got the money for "consulting" on the installation of a
new computer system, but auditors found the system was installed by other
contractors who never spoke with Consultech.
The "mini-grants" doled out
by the foundation for "substance abuse prevention and treatment" were often
spent on other items. From fixing roofs to buying new DVD players
to paying for trips to ball games, "it is not apparent that many of the
funded activities and expenditures were directly related to substance abuse
treatment and prevention."
Ballance signed checks for more
than $11,000 in the last three years for items "outside the scope of substance
abuse treatment and prevention." These included $2,500 for an appreciation
dinner for political ally Pastor Joyner of the First Baptist Church and
$2,500 for a membership in the Warren County High School Boosters Club,
as well as lesser amounts for high school trophies, senior citizen dinner
photography, and Subway sandwiches.
The foundation failed to comply
with state and federal reporting regulations.
No comment yet from Rep.
to read the State Auditor's report online.
-- END --
Issue #307, 10/17/03
Editorial: It's Time to Rejoin the Free World |
Presenting "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" |
Decriminalization Comes to Britain: House of Commons Passes Cannabis Rescheduling Bill |
Leftist Legalizer Elected Mayor of Bogota in Voter Rebuke of Colombian President |
Dutch Government Seeks Ban on Foreigners in Coffee Shops |
One and a Half Million Drug Arrests Last Year, Nearly 700,000 for Marijuana, FBI Reports |
Media Scan: David Borden on Cultural Baggage, Forbes, Alternet, Pot TV |
This Week in History |
Newsbrief: MAPS/UMass Marijuana Grow Proposal Gets Backing from Senators Kennedy and Kerry |
Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story |
Newsbrief: Campaign Comments -- Lieberman on Drug War Racial Disparities |
Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Says Nervousness Not Enough to Prompt Driver Search |
Newsbrief: More Death Squad Drug Killings in the Philippines |
Newsbrief: Retrograde Drug Politics in Kentucky Governor's Race |
Newsbrief: North Carolina Congressman in Drug Treatment Slush Fund Scandal |
DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime |
Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions |
The Reformer's Calendar
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