The Washington, D.C. Audit of Peaceaholics is Hardly Peaceful

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May 4, 2011; Source: Washington Times | During Adrian Fenty’s term as mayor of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit called Peaceoholics, led by Ronald Moten, was the favored gang intervention and youth rehabilitation group, receiving eight figures worth of city grants for its programs. Now that Fenty is out of office, having been upset by Vincent Gray, the organization is facing an audit.

Moten apparently resigned from the organization prior to the mayoral campaign, though he remained as a volunteer, but Peaceoholics shrunk during and after the election from 77 staff to eight. Toward the end of the campaign, a council candidate aligned with Gray, Yvette Alexander, requested an audit of Peaceoholics. Among Council member Alexander’s requests to the auditor are whether Moten was working for Peaceoholics during the campaign, whether it violated prohibitions involving nonprofits engaging in electioneering, and whether it was up-to-date with its public disclosure filings.

To Peaceoholics, these requests amount to Alexander’s politicization of the audit process. As a result of the ongoing audit, the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, one of the last remaining sources of funding for Peaceoholics, suspended further payments on its grants. Peaceoholics contends that the Trust is violating its contract with the nonprofit and behaving with a strong dose of political animus. According to Molten, the Peaceoholics executive director, Council member Alexander said that she was reviewing a draft copy of the audit and told him “I’m after you.”

One might think that the councilwoman is beating Peaceoholics into submission with the audit, but the demise of Peaceoholics was well underway long before, as Molten was deep into Fenty campaign politics, expecting that the incumbent Fenty couldn’t possibly lose to Gray. When nonprofits get too close and too deep with one or another political faction, they will find themselves dwindling quickly when their political supporters unexpectedly find themselves on the outs.—Rick Cohen