POLITICS

Audit of Utah lawmaker's nonprofits finds 'improper disbursements'

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A former state lawmaker may have taken more than $88,000 in fraudulent payouts from two Utah nonprofit groups that he oversaw or advised, according to a new state audit.

The audit also alleges former Rep. Duane Bourdeaux, D-Salt Lake City, attempted to stymie an investigation by the state auditor's office into the financial practices of the organizations Colors of Success and the Center for Family Development, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/TUlj0z).

Bourdeaux is CEO of Colors of Success, a program that seeks to curb gang problems and high dropout rates among youths of color. It was founded at a Utah high school in 1989.

He also was executive director of the Center for Family Development, a counseling program, but it closed in June with significant debt, auditors said.

The audit released Friday reviewed the two organizations' finances between January 2011 and Aug. 15, 2012. It questions more than $86,000 in costs charged to federal grants by both groups and says Colors of Success gave questionable loans totaling nearly $40,000 to the Center for Family Development.

Bourdeaux, who served five terms in the Utah House, denies any wrongdoing in a Dec. 4 written response.

The audit also found payouts of more than $81,000 made to a woman who served as both groups' director until her employment was terminated in June, the newspaper reported.

Auditors say the questionable disbursements could lead to legal action against Colors of Success and the loss of the group's nonprofit status.

The audit says poor documentation, improper bank reconciliations and other lax procedures allowed the "improper disbursements to occur and go undetected." It recommends the organization adopt better internal financial controls.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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