Thursday, December 25, 2014

Report: Little to show for $500K in state grants to Mondesire nonprofit

Jerome Whyatt Mondesire
Jerome Whyatt Mondesire File photo

More than $500,000 in state funds was given to a nonprofit run by Philadelphia NAACP former president Jerry Mondesire. The grants have been directed since 2000 to Mondesires’s Next Generation CDC. The money was supposed to go towards rehabilitating properties that would be rented to low-income families.

But according to a new report on AxisPhilly.org, the only property rehabilitated was Mondesire’s own home. Other properties that had been slated for rehab received little, if any, improvement. One is a vacant lot, another is an abandoned shell, yet another is empty, according to the website.

Reporter Isaiah Thompson writes :

These and other revelations come from hundreds of public documents detailing dozens of grants awarded to Mondesire’s nonprofit over the years, obtained by AxisPhilly via public records requests from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which awarded the nonprofit over $700,000 in grants, most of it for affordable housing work. Often, the applications used both the names of the Next Generation CDC and the NAACP, as if they were the same entity.

More coverage
  • Mondesire's friends-turned-foes get access to his books
  • Pa. gave $100K for football field. Where'd it go?
  • Board members from NAACP leader's nonprofit sue to see the books
  • The documents show that much of the grant money to rehabilitate at least two properties went to the relative of a City Council member—Charles Tasco, the son of 9th District City Councilwoman Marian Tasco—for purported work on two properties that are now vacant, and for which little documentation was submitted.

    They include at least two invoices for work on the vacant properties from a sub-contractor who says the invoices, bearing his company’s logo, are fake and that he never worked on either property in question, but instead had worked for Tasco on a different property around the same time.

    And they shed new light on the question being asked with increasing insistence by NAACP members, former allies of Mondesire, and the press of what exactly the Next Generation CDC was and is, and what exactly its president, Mondesire, has done with the substantial funds it drew for over a decade.

    Last week, AxisPhilly reported that Mondesire took $100,000 in state money to restore a North Philadelphia football field. Though Mondesire once said work on the field was completed, AxisPhilly could find no evidence to support his claim.

    After publishing the story, Mondesire wrote a letter to AxisPhilly saying that though the field had not been restored, the state had allowed him to divert the money to anti-violence and scholarship programs. The Pennsylvania Department of  Community and Economic Development this week said it had no record of receiving a request from Mondesire’s group to use the money for that purpose nor had it granted approval for the money to be used for something other than refurbishing the football field.

    Read the complete AxisPhilly report here.

    This article is part of a series.

    Sam Wood PHILLY.COM
    Also on Philly.com
    Stay Connected