After fleecing taxpayers, Community Action Partnership of Minneapolis has shut its doors:

DHS auditors accused the corporation of spending more than it helped. The state wants Community Action Minneapolis to repay more than $850,000 in grant money that was spent incorrectly. The audit showed more than $200,000 paid for unallowable costs like cruises, golf trips and alcohol. William Davis, the Chief Executive Officer, is accused of receiving an excessive bonus and spending thousands on a personal car loan.

Initially, Davis tried rationalizing the expenditures:

Auditors blamed Community Action’s board, which includes several well-known politicians and community leaders, for a lack of oversight and for personally benefiting from $34,892 worth of activities that “do not appear to serve a business purpose, and are considered waste and abuse as defined in state policy.”

Those activities included two weekend trips, between 2011 and 2013, to Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, where board members and senior management spent $9,000 for lodging, $3,200 for food and $900 for spas.

Davis defended the trips as a “small gesture on our part to offer them a moment of relaxation or entertainment. It’s not like we do this every single week of the year.”

What’s telling is that Davis didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. The only thing more appalling than Davis attempting to rationalize his reckless spending was Gov. Dayton’s statement denying that something like this could happen:

Initially, Mark Dayton responded to Jeff Johnson’s call for an extensive audit of NPOs by saying “The decades-old accusation that Minnesota government recklessly wastes money on people who are poor, sick, or elderly is unfair and unfounded.”

Later, Dayton backtracked quickly:

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said that a Star Tribune report of a nonprofit using state funds to subsidize cruises, a director’s car lease and spa treatments was very concerning and alarming. “I was personally really appalled,” Dayton said. “I take it very seriously.”

Let’s revise Gov. Dayton’s statement. Gov. Dayton was “personally really appalled” the minute he thought that the fiasco might damage him politically. Prior to that, he pretended that Community Action was totally trustworthy.

The truth, I’m afraid, is that Gov. Dayton knew about this audit prior to the story going public. Since the Strib article was published, DHS has tried pushing the notion that they should get credit for spotting this during their audit of the organization. Gov. Dayton can’t first say that he’s surprised by this, then say that his administration spotted this during an audit.

I’ve never bought into Gov. Dayton’s I-didn’t-know-about-[Fill in the blank] schtick. I’ve always thought that he used that gambit to get through a politically embarrassing situation. See FarmFest. The DFL legislature should’ve taken their oversight responsibilities seriously. Then again, with tons of prominent DFL politicians and activists on Community Action’s board, it probably didn’t take much to get them to look the other way.

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