Posted: Aug 15, 2013 1:37 PM by Tina Macias
Updated: Aug 15, 2013 1:39 PM
The founder of Acadiana-based Colomb Foundation, Inc., says his NGO does not belong on a list of organizations that might have to return millions of dollars in state funding.
Last month, Department of Treasury secretary John Kennedy announced 36 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the state have until Aug. 31 to report how they spent $4.45 million in tax dollars or return the money.
The Colomb Foundation is on that list for not reporting how they spent $300,000 they were awarded in 2007. But, in a letter sent to Kennedy on Monday, Colomb Foundation founder Sterling Colomb Sr. says back in 2008, his staff filed paperwork detailing how they spent that money.
Colomb writes he will resubmit the information if needed and looks "forward to resolving this issue in a professional amicable manner." Kennedy's office says, even with the letter, they still consider the Colomb Foundation to be out of compliance with state law.
All delinquent NGO's have until the end of the month to provide the information requested by the treasurer or be turned over to the newly created Office of Debt Recovery. Colomb did not return phone calls from KATC requesting an interview.
The Colomb Foundation is based in Lafayette, but primarily runs a community center in Arnaudville. The community center was a dedication to Colomb's daugther, Dene Colomb, who was killed by serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. The organization has never filed tax returns with the IRS and its non-profit status was revoked in 2010 for that reason.
Along with the $300,000 the Colomb foundation received from the state in 2007, the organization has received a total of more than $1 million in state funding since 2004, according to financial audits filed with the state. Some $462,107 came from general state appropriations; $341,416 from capital outlay and $275,074 from the city of Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge received state appropriations in 2010 and then funneled that money to the Colomb Community Center "used as a regional site," according to WBRZ.
Documents show Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden signed off on it, and Patsy Parker, State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb's legislative assistant, signed as a witness. Dorsey-Colomb and Sterling Colomb married in 2010. Dorsey-Colomb sat on the state House Appropriations Committee for a decade until she was elected to the state senate in 2008.