D.C. audit finds Peaceoholics received over $1M in improper funds

Ronald Moten, co-founder of Peaceoholics.

(AP, ABC7) - The District of Columbia auditor says former mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration improperly awarded more than $1 million in no-bid grants to a local violence-prevention group.

The report from Auditor Yolanda Branche says the nonprofit group called Peaceoholics was poorly equipped to manage city money it received from 2006 to 2010, according to the Washington Post.

The report acknowledged Peaceoholics' efforts to diffuse violence, but found numerous irregularities in how the money was awarded and managed. It said Peaceoholics consistently co-mingled grant money between its bank accounts in violation of city grant procedures.

The audit was requested by D.C. City Counil member Yvette Alexander. One of Peaceoholics’ founders, Ron Moten, is challenging her for her Ward 7 seat.

Moten is out of town but said in a phone call that his organization has made mistakes but provides a valuable service to the city. Moten says co-mingling grant money among different bank accounts is a common practice of non-profits providing services to the city.

“My expectation as a taxpayer is that the money will be spent wisely and simply because it goes for a good cause isn't enough you have to make sure proper controls are in place,” said D.C. resident Richard Samp.

Gray says he's glad the audit was done. “It certainly underscores that you just can't look at the programs only you have to look at how these programs are run,” he said.

Keeping the bidding process fair is high on the mayor's list.

“One of the lessons learned is that let's make sure that any money that we issue in the District of Columbia is competitively bid,” Gray said.

The audit does not conclude any city money was stolen. Ronald Moten, a co-founder of Peaceoholics, says the group has learned from its mistakes and will get additional training.

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