Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Audit clears youth agency

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said Monday that his office's investigation of spending by the Citizens' Committee on Youth (CCY) found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

        “Audit findings do not rise to the level necessary to prove criminal culpability,” Mr. Allen said.

        The announcement came as no surprise to former CCY president and CEO Clarence Williams.

        “We maintained we had not done anything wrong,” Mr. Williams said. “It was a contract dispute. We were not worried about it. We still maintain we executed the contract properly.”

        Earlier this year, Hamilton County canceled two projects with CCY worth $5.2 million. The contracts were canceled after an audit found questionable record-keeping and expenses for CCY's "We are the Future' program and a handful of other programs that used county money.

        CCY has operated on city funding for decades, but last year began contracting with Hamilton County.

        Mr. Williams previously acknowledged that CCY overbilled the county, but said CCY identified the problem and corrected it and argued the organization should be allowed to repay the money. The county asked the prosecutor's office to review the audit findings.

        Mr. Williams, who resigned his CCY post effective Aug 17. to pursue other opportunities, had headed the organization since 1997. The CCY board voted to accept the resignation with regret.

        Tyrone Yates, new CCY board chairman elected in June, said Monday that while the contract dispute and subsequent review by the prosecutor's office may have brought the organization some negative publicity, it has had no bearing on the operation of the organization or the board's acceptance of Mr. Williams' resignation.


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