SF audit criticizes nonprofits in public corruption scandal – NBC Bay Area

A new audit calls for increased scrutiny of the San Francisco Parks Alliance, the main nonprofit group named by federal prosecutors last year for helping to further the city’s public corruption scandal by managing a fund of unofficial contractors that public works officials exploited. to pay for employee parties and loot for city workers.

“The audit confirmed a very problematic relationship between the San Francisco Parks Alliance and city departments,” city supervisor Connie Chan said of the review’s findings, “particularly with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department “.

It was Chan who requested the budget analyst’s audit of the city’s supervisors amid lingering questions about the Alliance’s handling of the $ 1 million account that federal prosecutors said served as ” slush fund ”to the director of public works Mohammed Nuru. Prosecutors say Nuru used the fund to pay for everything from T-shirts to gift bags, funeral expenses for a worker to entrance fees to events for public works crews. Separately, Chan challenged a deal the city made that guaranteed the alliance – not the city – the proceeds of a five-year deal to operate the 150th anniversary Ferris Wheel at Golden Gate Park.

The Alliance has not been charged with wrongdoing in the city’s corruption scandal and has not been paid for handling its accounts. However, he has since agreed to new restrictions on fundraising activities that require him to disclose all contributions over $ 100.

Despite the progress, the audit found that there continues to be a lack of “adequate controls” over contracts awarded by the Alliance to provide services to the city. The audit indicates that these contracts must meet the city’s basic contractual standards to avoid conflicts of interest. Without more detailed monitoring, the audit found that “this benefit of philanthropic support risks being overshadowed by the possibility of corruption.”

The audit followed the Alliance’s cash inflows and outflows over a five-year period. During that time, the nonprofit raised $ 44 million, including about $ 3.5 million in anonymous donations, the audit concludes. These undisclosed donations, according to the analysis, raise “questions about potential conflicts of interest.” The analysis found that the problem with not knowing who contributed is that there is no way to determine whether the contracts were awarded in an ethical manner.

At the same time, the association raised $ 11.9 million in municipal payments. Chan says she hopes to learn more about the nonprofit’s cash flow from a hearing she holds on Thursday.

“It’s a big amount of money coming to the city,” she said. “Although the city, of course, appreciates donations, it is also our responsibility to know where the money comes from, and most importantly, to prevent payment to play culture and that it ‘is our responsibility and the reason I called for this verification.

The Parks Alliance said in a statement Monday that it appreciates the city’s “work to strengthen transparency and accountability between nonprofits and the city of San Francisco.” “Along with many other nonprofit groups, we continue to work with city departments to meet or exceed these good government controls,” the Alliance said.

“We will implement any additional common sense policies that provide greater transparency and allow us to continue to support and improve parks and public spaces in San Francisco.” “

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