MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A non-profit, accused of using grant money to fund lavish trips and a Costco membership, was shut down by the state on Friday.
The state is seeking $600,000 back from Community Action of Minneapolis. The agency helps low-income families with heating bills and works to find people jobs.READ MORE: Violence Free Minnesota Finds Help For Domestic Abuse Survivors
One after the other, people arrive at Community Action of Minneapolis, only to be met with locked doors and a sign that says “Closed Until Further Notice.”
“I have like a 100-percent concern,” Katherine Hunter said.
The programs — which help people like Hunter and T.X. Campbell pay their heating bills and stay afloat — was shut down by the state when it terminated all contracts.
“This program has done wonders for me,” Campbell said.
DHS launched an audit in 2013 which found the group used grant money on things with no business purpose, like airfare to the Bahamas, golf, a celebrity cruise and a Costco membership.
State Senator Jeff Hayden announced his plan to step aside from the Board of Directors on Tuesday.
Minneapolis City Council members Abdi Warsame and Blong Yang resigned on Friday.
“I just thought some of the numbers were obscene,” Yang said.READ MORE: Saint Paul Regional Water Services Is Well-Equipped To Handle Heat And Drought
He says they were appointed after the audit was done, and both had appointed people to serve in their place.
“Unfortunately this thing happened, and, you know, our names are there and people are just asking questions, and so we wanted to get it on the record that we weren’t involved in any sort of way,” Yang said.
His concern shifted to the people Community Action helps. Campbell worries too.
“I’ve seen a few senior citizens that was coming here for help. They’re weren’t able to work,” Campbell said. “You know the winters around the corner, pick a fine time for this to happen.”
MinnCAP, the statewide association of Community Action Agencies, says they support the state shutdown.
Executive Director Arnie Anderson says agencies in other cities are working to help continue current services.
Residents who received energy assistance in the past should contact:
Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin
8800 Highway 7, Suite 401
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
People who are interested in the weatherization program should contact:MORE NEWS: What Health Information Can Employers Require From Their Workers?
Sustainable Resources Center
1081 Tenth Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414