Pa. gave Mondesire $100k to fix a football field. Where did the money go?
J. Whyatt Mondesire, the embattled former president of the local and state NAACP, is facing new accusations that he misspent state money.
Mondesire’s nonprofit, Next Generation CDC, claimed to have improved the home field for the North Philly Aztecs with a state grant. But according to a report published Saturday on the AxisPhilly.org website, Mondesire did nothing to fix up the field where the Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wee Super Bowl champs played.
Reporter Isaiah Thompson wrote:
Mondesire applied to a state grant agency for $100,000 to restore the kids’ field, promising to drain the field, install outdoor lighting, erect bleachers and more.
The grant, as Mondesire proposed it, would be administered by the Next Generation CDC, a nonprofit organization that he’d founded in 1999 and of which he was president.
The $100,000 would “permit [Next Generation CDC] to expand their outreach to even more deserving young people,” the grant application said.
The grant was awarded; two years later, Mondesire reported that the work had been completed.
Far from being finished, there is evidence that suggests it never started. Public officials and individuals familiar with the park and with the Aztecs say they never heard of, saw or knew of the purported renovation project.
Mondesire has been under fire in recent months on several fronts. In April, the national NAACP suspended Mondesire after he feuded publicly with local board members about the local chapter’s finances.
Last week, Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she is reviewing a 2009 grand jury investigation into Mondesire and one of his employees. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a 2009 memo written by the then-deputy attorney general says investigators “uncovered what appeared to be questionable spending” of state money by Mondesire.
AxisPhilly reporter Thompson notes that work on the field was completed, but paid for by Michael Vick. Thompson spoke with several city officials about Mondesire and the North Philadelphia football field.