Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sucker, Inc.

You probably assumed that, since the Gill Pratt scandal, the city council had enacted new rules governing the disbursement of city funds to private organizations. To be sure, the first effort to pass such rules was deferred, but you probably assumed that the matter was revisited and resolved later. After all, if the city council weren't the very model of fiscal probity, Fielkow would have never broken out of his Fielgood mode and chewed out Midura for daring to suggest otherwise, right? Guess again Succor sucker:*
NO ASSISTANCE FOR SUCCOR: One of interim Councilman Michael Darnell's last acts in office before Jackie Clarkson replaced him in late November was to introduce a resolution giving $20,000 to a group called Succor Inc.

The money would have come from the $225,000 that Harrah's New Orleans Casino gives the council each year for distribution to community organizations and worthy causes, all to be determined by the council members.

Darnell said he thought Succor would be a worthy recipient, but he agreed to leave a final decision up to his elected successor.

Clarkson this week killed the proposed grant. She said she hadn't been able to learn much about the organization and thought that, in any case, $20,000 was too much to give to one group. She said she will propose dividing the $20,000 among several groups.

Without knowing anything about Succor, Inc., one can't help but wonder about the position taken by the old council members and the District C reformer that there was no need for recipients of city government grants to fill out a questionnaire because the city council already required information from grant recipients. Apparently, the city council doesn't require much information.

Of course, an item like that can't help but provoke a google search from a person like me. There's not a whole of information available on Succor, inc. I see from C.B. Forgotston that some state legislator proposed a $300,000 grant for the organization. That makes an item in an independent auditor's report (pdf or html) all the more interesting:
Nature of Activities
Succor, Inc. (the Organization) is a non-profit corporation organized to foster, protect and promote the
public welfare, character and spiritual development by making donations for the public benefit and by
engaging in charitable, educational and civic endeavors, by bringing about programs of an educational
and economic value, and by cultivating the practice of volunteerism among its members.
The Organization is supported primarily through government cooperative endeavor agreements and
does not engage in fundraising activities.

I find it amazing that an operation that relies on government funding can fly so far under the radar.

I don't know if I want to put names to the other questionable items that I found because I don't believe that succor, Inc, actually received the $300,000 grant. As a general rule, I don't like to post the names of private citizens, unless I see that they're politically active and recipients of large government contracts. However, it's interesting that the registered agent for Succor seems to be an entertainment lawyer who owns the building that Succor pays rent on (with money that it raises primarily through government cooperative endeavor agreements). The lawyer in question also seems to have some other business arrangements with Succor though his other business enterprises and some kind of working relationship with a disbarred attorney; there may even be a tenuous Roy Rodney connection. My email contact is right above the archives, if anybody is interested in the info that I don't want to post just yet.

Addition: I seem to have left the obvious question of what state legislator(s) proposed the $300,000 grant for Succor, Inc.

*It seems that the most interesting items in the Saturday "New Orleans Politics" column are often at, or near, the bottom of the column.

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