A recent audit revealed $2.2 million in unrecovered grant dollars associated with several programs created during the Quinn Administration that were intended to help combat violence. Senate Republicans noted that this type of abuse, mismanagement and lack of oversight in state government underscore the need for reform and change in how Illinois operates.
The audit determined high-ranking Quinn officials made decisions on what communities and grantees would receive funding as part of the program, but provided no data to support how grantees or funding were selected. According to Auditor General Frank Mautino, it's difficult to determine whether the Quinn program "achieved the goals that it was supposed to do." The Auditor General noted there were "significant breakdowns" in the process of distributing and managing grant dollars during the third and fourth years of spending associated with the programs.
A review of the programs overseen by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) noted the Quinn administration repeatedly parted with grant protocol when distributing grant funds through the program, and failed to adequately oversee how those monies were spent.
The audit also cited problems with how contracts were executed, noted that often the financial information provided didn’t match up with supplementary documentation, and also stressed that millions of dollars in unspent funds associated with the programs have not been recovered.
Of note, 41 organizations were selected to receive part of the $1.7 million for the Department of Human Services’ Summer Youth Jobs Program, but it is not clear how those agencies/organizations and funding levels were selected.
Additionally, the audit pointed out that a “misunderstanding” by ICJIA officials resulted in $7.3 million in intergovernmental transfers being directed to ICJIA for Quinn’s programs from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program and the Comprehensive Community-based Services to Youth programs.
The current director of ICJIA has accepted the findings and issued a statement noting that the Authority is working to resolve those issues.
Criticism and confusion have surrounded Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative for years. A previous audit found similar instances of mismanagement, lack of oversight and serious abuse within the program, which prompted an investigation by the Legislative Audit Commission.
Additionally, at least three grand jury subpoenas were filed on the program—two from US Attorney’s offices in Chicago and Springfield, as well as from the Cook County State’s Attorney.