Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board to recoup $37,000 from African American Leadership Council

LARGO — A Clearwater community organization has agreed to repay more than $37,000 to an agency that formerly funded it to resolve discrepancies that arose during a financial audit last summer.

Bilal Habeeb-ullah, founder and director of the African American Leadership Council, denies the money supplied by the Pinellas County Juvenile Welfare Board was used inappropriately but said he will take responsibility.

"We have agreed to pay back what they say are disallowances," Habeeb-ullah said. "That's where we're at with them, and with us, we're just trying to re-establish the AALC."

The agreement, finalized Thursday at the Juvenile Welfare Board meeting, puts an end to a contentious saga that began in July when two people complained that agency's finances were being mishandled.

A fiscal review did not identify any malfeasance and an investigation by the State Attorney's Office did not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

"I want to be clear that I don't believe there was any misuse of funds, but there was some very poor accounting," said Lisa Sahulka, director of contract management, finance and research for the JWB.

Habeeb-ullah was unable to provide documentation for $37,379 in expenditures for 2007, Sahulka said. The JWB, which uses tax dollars to support social services programs for children and families, provided $494,536 for the organization that year.

Pinellas Core Management Services, which manages funding for some programs supported by the JWB, discontinued funding for the organization in September over the bookkeeping concerns.

Shortly thereafter, the city of Clearwater pulled $88,000 in funding, as well as its contract with the council for use of its Martin Luther King Jr. Center in North Greenwood. The council managed the center for the city and provided tutoring, computer training and other services for local youth.

The center reopened three months ago; programs and services are now being managed by Pinellas Core Management Services.

As part of the agreement, the council must make scheduled payments that will end Dec. 31.

The council's lawyer, Cory Person, said Habeeb-ullah agreed to the settlement because "it's in the community's best interest."

"The AALC's position was that they wanted to move forward and put this behind them and get back to providing services to the community, which is what they do best," Person said. "This has been a long, tedious process for the organization and Mr. Habeeb-ullah."

Habeeb-ullah said it was an unfortunate end to a long-term relationship.

"I hope it's closure to this chapter with the Juvenile Welfare Board with this agreement," he said. "I'm not pleased that it happened this way, but we'll deal with the hand that was dealt."

In the meantime, he said, the organization is considering other fundraising options with the hope of getting the program "back up and running."

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board to recoup $37,000 from African American Leadership Council 03/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools

    Editorials

    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.
  2. Man in bunny mask part of trio that breaks into Odessa McDonald's to haul away ATM

    Crime

    ODESSA — A man in a bunny mask and two also-masked accomplices broke into a McDonald's early Wednesday, hoisted an automatic teller machine into a stolen minivan, then dumped the ATM and the van into a pond, deputies say.

    Three masked men, including one in a bunny mask, broke into an Odessa McDonald's early Wednesday and stole the ATM.
 [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    USF

    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  4. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Jeb Bush on the 'most ridiculous example of political correctness in history'

    Blogs

    Jeb Bush on ESPN's decision to pull commentator Robert Lee from a football broadcast at the University of Virginia.