Controller Butkovitz Calls on State Attorney General to Investigate Mayor’s Fund

For Immediate Release
Sept. 26, 2017

Contact:  Brian Dries
215-686-8869

Controller Butkovitz Calls on State Attorney General to Investigate Mayor’s Fund 
City Controller says city-run non-profit has become unresponsive and uncooperative after repeated requests for financial records

PHILADELPHIA – As part of the ongoing investigation of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia (Mayor’s Fund), City Controller Alan Butkovitz today called on the Pennsylvania Attorney General to take all appropriate actions to investigate the $12 million city-run non-profit.
The City Controller’s inquiry comes after the Mayor’s Fund failed after several requests to provide financial records and supporting documentation for more than $800,000 in selected expenditures related to various programs.

“The Mayor’s Fund has become unresponsive and uncooperative after repeated requests for financial records, prompting the immediate attention of the Attorney General,” said Controller Butkovitz.  “The ongoing refusal to provide documents and assist with auditors signals that millions of dollars could potentially be susceptible to fraud and misuse.”

The latest investigative review was to ascertain how the millions of dollars flow through the several accounts within the Mayor’s Fund. This includes the $9 million in restricted revenues provided by donors and grants that impose limitations on how the funds can be used. The City Controller previously revealed a $1,000 bar receipt for alcoholic beverages that was charged to an environmental grant.

“It is unfortunate our staff has been presented with this type of behavior and lack of transparency, especially after the Mayor’s Fund announced it adopted reform measures a few months ago,” said Controller Butkovitz.  

The absence of requested financial records and supporting documents caused concern for the City Controller, which included the following programs:

  • Various City Representative Special accounts with a total negative balance of $110,000,
  • The source for a $198,000 fund transfer for the Philly Champions,
  • The source for two grant requests each $25,000 that were denied or tabled by the Mayor’s Fund Board but were provided with funding by the former chairwoman, and
  • Records relating to the Hepatitis C Account, which provides funding for medical conditions associated with the disease for firefighters, emergency technicians and paramedics.

“The unsupported transactions and the obstinate behavior by the Mayor’s Fund to provide essential records have raised several red flags and warrant the review of the State Attorney General,” said Controller Butkovitz.
As indicated in the City Controller’s previous reports, about $75,000 was charged to credit cards associated with travel and hotel rooms related to the 2015 Papal Visit and travel to Rome. However, the Mayor’s Fund’s latest 990 report indicates $311,000 was spent for these arrangements, but there was no documentation to support the source of funds or justification.

“An extensive review of the various accounts would also allow us to gain a better understanding of how individual accounts were accessed,” said Controller Butkovitz.  
The City Controller’s previous investigative reports revealed more than $200,000 in extensive, questionable spending with credit cards linked to the Mayor’s Fund, which included hundreds of Uber rides linked to the former chairwoman, who was also the city representative, along with thousands of dollars in unsupported charges related to restaurants, bars, meals and airfare travel.

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Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia: It is a 501 (c)(3) organization registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that works in close partnership with the City of Philadelphia and private sector partners to advance initiatives that reflect Mayoral priorities and seek to improve the quality of life for all Philadelphians.  The City Controller’s initial report was issued August 2016 and the follow-up investigation was released March 2017.

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