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The violence prevention group the Peacoholics was put under the microscope today at the D.C. Council.
The non-profit group the Peaceoholics is largely known for two things: an ability to settle gang disputes when others have failed; and an ability to stir up political controversies, largely because of its founder’s close ties to former mayor Adrian Fenty.
The D.C. Council held a hearing Monday on a recent audit of the Peaceoholics that examined the nearly $14 million in city funds the group has received, most of it during the Fenty era.
“Peaceoholics has done tremendous work in the District of Columbia," says D.C. Auditor Yolanda Blanche. But she's quick to add: "We have concerns about their financial management systems.
The audit highlights shoddy book-keeping by the Peacoholics, including a failure to properly track how money was spent, and to file paperwork on time with the IRS. But the auditor also faults the city for not doing a better job of monitoring groups that receive grants and believes the city needs a standard, uniform system for executing grants.
The audit, released in August, cleared the Peaceoholics of any major wrongdoing, concluding the group did not steal any money and made a "significant contribution" in quelling gang violence. But the report found problems with how the city awarded the funds, stating that $1.3 million was improperly awarded in no-bid grants.
Ron Moten is a co-founder of the Peaceoholics. He’s no longer paid by the group and is now running for a council seat. During last year’s heated mayoral primary, Moten was perhaps the most vocal supporter of then-mayor Adrian Fenty. He has also complained in the past that the audit was politically motivated.
"I hope that people come down and just look at this and try to address the issues that need to be fixed and don't make it political because I would hate to turn into something political with all the stuff going on at the Wilson Building," says Moten.