Sterling Colomb, the founder of the local Colomb Foundation and one of three dozen Louisiana non-governmental organizations in the cross hairs of state Treasurer John Kennedy for alleged failures to account for how they spent millions in state grants, is pushing back against the treasurer and suggests Kennedy is engaging in politically motivated grandstanding.
“I made the deadline. He’s running for governor; he’s just trying to put his name out there,” Colomb tells The Ind, insisting that his foundation accounted for how it spent $300,000 in state grant money way back in 2008. The money, Colomb says, was used to purchase land and build the foundation’s office, which doubles as an event center. “That stuff’s been turned in already; this is the second time around,” Colomb says. “We got audited in 2008 and turned all that stuff in. If our audit was good I don’t know why we wouldn’t turn it in. The thing about Kennedy, he moved so much he probably can’t find nothing. He moved his office about three times so it’s probably caught up in them boxes somewhere.”
Kennedy fingered the Colomb Foundation and dozens of other nonprofit organizations, giving the NGOs a Sept. 4 deadline to submit documentation showing how they spent the state grant money. Kennedy’s office confirmed for The Ind’s sister publication, ABiz, that Colomb’s foundation did indeed turn in a box of materials on the day of the deadline. Deputy Treasurer Jason Redmond said last week that the Colomb Foundation has been granted an extension while treasury staff inspects the material. NGOs that didn’t meet the deadline have been turned over to the Office of Debt Recovery.
“Everything we said we were going to do with the grant we did. In that box we have check stubs, receipts and pictures. It’s on the up and up on my end as far as I know,” Colomb says, who disputes Redmond’s claim that the Colomb Foundation never submitted documentation to Treasury.
Colomb also takes exception with claims that his foundation was contacted by Kennedy’s office and asked to submit proof of proper expenditures. “He’s talking about sending out certified letters. He has no proof anybody signed for them. He says he called. He has no log book to say he had called,” Colomb insists. “I received no certified letter. I received no phone call.”
The foundation was created in 2003 in the memory of Colomb’s wife, who died of breast cancer, and his adoptive daughter, who was murdered by the South Louisiana serial killer in November 2002. He is clearly agitated by suggestions that he’s run anything but an above-board foundation that focuses on breast cancer awareness, teen empowerment and women’s safety. And he says the term “witch hunt” falls short, in his view, of what’s going on in Baton Rouge.
“All these nonprofits, all of them were black,” Colomb says. “It’s not a witch hunt. I’d call it something else but I’d rather not say.”
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly