Embattled Nonprofit Cries Politics as Usual

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December 1, 2010; Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Here’s one way not to handle your organization’s audit.

Missouri’s state auditor, Susan Montee, found that the Missouri Technology Corporation had not only fallen short of meeting its goals in distributing funds, but according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Montee “blasted” the group “for conflicts of interest, misuse of money, and general ineffectiveness.” The Missouri Technology Corporation was created in 1994 as a nonprofit to attract high-tech investment into the state, with a board partially appointed by the governor and staff paid by the state government.

In Missouri, the state auditor is an elected position, and Montee lost to Republican Tom Schweich on November 2 this year. Jason Hall, the CEO of MTC, was apparently quite aware of the election and let it be known that he was “a good friend” of the Republican candidate (who acknowledges knowing the guy but doesn’t give him the “good friend” classification). Montee charged Schweich with “making political threats against her as her staff worked on the audit and she campaigned for re-election.”

Some of the audit’s findings were directed at MTC’s former executive director, Rob Monsees. Monsees defended himself and the agency, claiming that the Democratic governor fired him (Monsees is a Republican), and charges of his conflict of interest were due to his job search after having been dumped

Rather bitterly, he “question(ed) Susan Montee’s ability to judge whether MTC was successful in helping technology companies.” Whether Montee was reelected or not, the responses of the former and current EDs of the corporation were unseemly, playing the electoral card, and don’t make either of them come off well.

Rather than charging people with being Democrats, Republicans, or, horror of horrors, perhaps independents, maybe the recipients of audit or IG reports might simply look at the findings and respond with facts, analyses, and coherent explanations.—Rick Cohen