County finishes audit of CRC misuse of federal ARPA funds — what happens next?

Audit of Community Resource Collaborative finished — what’s next?

Audit of Community Resource Collaborative finished -- what's next?

MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. — The Monroe County executive says a local non-profit that got more than a million of your tax dollars was mismanaged and misused some of the cash.

The Community Resource Collaborative has been shut down while the county investigates how it mismanaged federal funding it won through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The forensic audit is now complete. News10NBC investigative reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke with County Executive Adam Bello about what it shows.

The Community Resource Collaborative, or CRC as it was known, was supposed to be the middleman. It got federal ARPA money from the county and was supposed to funnel the cash to a number of small, grassroots organizations.

Initially, that’s what happened — but eventually the small groups stopped getting paid. The county’s audit shows they were owed about $250,000 that they never received from CRC.

And, CRC overpaid itself by $20,000 for being the middleman.

But that’s really just the start.

This agency was getting more than a dozen grants — between the feds, the state, the city and the county — and the audit shows a lot of co-mingling of that money.

On Thursday, News10NBC spoke with the county attorney and county executive about what happens next.

“It’s hard to assess, based on the record, whether it’s mismanagement or fraud because of all the money moving in different directions. It’s also then, there’s a question to be asked, is the fact that the accounting records are such a mess, is that deliberate or is that negligent … so those are the questions that will have to be answered and continued to be explored through this process,” John P. Bringewatt, Monroe County attorney, said.

Jennifer Lewke: We see how this one went so terribly wrong — how do you ensure that this isn’t the case with all of the grantees that you’ve given money to?

Adam Bello: There’s so much incredible work being done in the community and you just have to look … but our team, we have an ARPA response team which actually you’ll see a lot of that work in the documents that we’re providing you, that meet regularly with each of these institutions.

The county executive says the audit has been handed over to federal and state law enforcers who will determine whether any criminal charges are filed. And each and every agency getting ARPA funding, as per the rules, will be audited annually.

Bello says his team has not discovered any other issues.