• Domestic violence non-profit wasting taxpayers money, investigation funds

    By: Jim Spiewak


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A state investigation finds a domestic violence non-profit is wasting taxpayer dollars.  

    Investigators found 8 problems with the way the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence handles financial records.  

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    The report shows more than $500,000 in just the last year was classified as ‘questionable.’ 

    We’re told a disgruntled former employee tipped off the state about the money and they immediately started investigating.  

    The report cites falsified time reporting and reimbursement records. Marquiepta Odom is a domestic violence advocate with the YWCA who said, “In advocacy $500,000 could have a great impact.”  

    Odom does not work for the coalition but works in partnership with it. The YWCA heavily depends on the coalition for training.  

    They then use those skills to help local victims.  

    “Now comes the time to actually be able to fix it and put the protocols in place to make sure the necessary checks and balances and actually checked and balanced,” said Odom.  

    The investigation gave recommendations, which the coalition responded to and agreed to make changes.  

    Odom said getting tax dollars in any form is not easy and every dollar is important to go towards helping the victims adding, “We may not be able to save that one life with the awareness that we're able to go out and go out to different venues and show that domestic violence is faceless.”  

    The coalition gets its money from local, state, national grants and through some private sources. Anna Walley with the Rape Crisis Center was the only person from Memphis on the 16-member board.  

    She recently resigned from the coalition board but was not named directly in the report. 

    She said her resignation was because she took another job and not because of the investigation.  

    She said the coalition needs to be a better steward of the money they get. 

    Here is a copy of the full investigative report from the State Comptroller’s Office. 

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