Deadline Set for Turnover to Office of Debt Recovery of over $4 million Owed to Taxpayers

BATON ROUGE, LA – During remarks made to the Baton Rouge Press Club today, State Treasurer John Kennedy announced that 36 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have until August 31, 2013 to fulfill their obligations under the law or be turned over to the Office of Debt Recovery for the collection of approximately $4.452 million owed to taxpayers.

“The Legislature and the Governor made it very clear with the passage of House Bill 629 and the establishment of the Office of Debt Recovery that the days of owing the state money and hiding are over,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “We now have an agency in state government with teeth whose sole mission is to ensure every penny owed to the taxpayers is recovered.”

Treasurer Kennedy announced that the Department of the Treasury will issue final demand letters this week to 36 entities that have up to now failed to comply with the provisions of Executive order BJ 2008-30, established by Governor Kathleen Blanco and continued by Governor Bobby Jindal, which ensures transparency and accountability to NGOs that have received direct taxpayer support in past appropriation bills.

“Over the last several years, our Audit & Compliance Division has repeatedly sent certified letters, sent e-mails and even made personal call attempts to these particular entities demanding the required ‘progress reports’ and the supporting documentation required under the law with little or no response,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “While most NGOs have worked in good faith with our office and have been in compliance, these 36 organizations have become the most flagrant violators of these important requirements.”

Under the regulations, NGOs receiving taxpayer money directly via HB 1 must provide progress reports and corresponding documentation to the Treasury in order to maintain their appropriation. Examples of the required paperwork include a comprehensive budget, detailed description of the public purpose, and detailed cost information outlining the use of the appropriated funds. Entities failing to comply with the provisions are required to return the full appropriation to the State Treasury.

Should these 36 entities ultimately decide to continue their non-compliance, they will be among the first items on the agenda for the new Office of Debt Recovery. Treasurer Kennedy has long advocated the establishment of such an office and made it a top priority during Governor Jindal’s Streamlining Commission in 2009. Now that HB 629 has made that idea a reality, state agencies will be required to refer unpaid receivables to a centralized unit for collection.

“I was proud to stand with Rep. Chris Broadwater in his fight to finally get this done, and was happy the Governor signed the bill into law,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “I’m hoping all agencies across state government will aggressively utilize this new mechanism to maximize revenues. Every dollar that is brought in by this new process is one less dollar we have to raise in taxes or cut in important priorities, such as funding education or aiding the disabled.”

List of 36 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Out of Compliance with Executive order BJ 2008-30

12th Ward Save Our Community Organization, Inc. $520,000
Algiers Enterprise Community Council, Inc. $25,000
BASIC of Louisiana $85,000
Booker T. Community Outreach Program $25,000
Boys & Girls Club of Natchitoches $75,000
Children of the Village Foundation, Inc. $10,000
Community Awareness Revitalization & Enhancement Corp. $130,000
Community Services of Richland, Inc. $30,000
Daughters of Promise $25,000
Desire Community Housing Corp. $100,000
Emmit Spurlock Memorial Foundation $10,000
Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association of Louisiana, Inc. $75,000
Gordon Plaza Elderly & Handicapped Apartments, Inc. $30,000
Just Willing Foundation $75,000
Kids Coupes, Inc. $140,000
Lady Flame, Inc. $2,000
Life Economic Development Corporation $100,000
Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Council, Inc. $15,000
Martin L. King Jr. Neighborhood Association in Shreveport $100,000
McKinley High School Alumni Association $125,000
Muttshack Animal Rescue Foundation, Inc. $15,000
National Empowerment Coalition, Inc. $150,000
Neighbors for a Better Baker $10,000
Novice House, Inc. $50,000
Purple Circle Social Club $50,000
Rapides Primary Health Care Center, Inc. $550,000
Serenity 67 $150,000
Southside Economic Development District, Inc. $50,000
Succor, Inc. $550,000
The Colomb Foundation, Inc. $300,000
The Olive Branch Ministries $20,000
Treme Community Education Program, Inc. $325,000
Twelfth Ward Save Our Community $100,000
Wilbert Tross, Sr. Community Development & Counseling Center $350,000
Young Emerging Leaders of LA $55,000

Sarah Mulhearn
(225) 342-0012