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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2014 - Updated: 9 months ago

Elusive $98,000 Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board owes city of Toledo turns up

BLADE STAFF
Paul Z. Tecpanecatl. Paul Z. Tecpanecatl.
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An elusive $98,000 the Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board owes the city of Toledo – which in November it claimed could not be found and wanted forgiveness for the debt – has turned up and will be handed over next month, the agency said today.

Paul Tecpanecatl, chairman of the board that oversees federally-funded homeless shelters, revealed in November that an independent audit discovered a “major accounting error that led to the overspending of $98,000 in homeless prevention and rapid rehousing.” He stressed that “no money is physically missing” but that a “specific fund code was overspent.”

A week later, Mr. Tecpanecatl and Tom Bonnington, homelessness board executive director, said they had misstated what happened to the public money and rescinded their request for the city to forgive that debt. The two men at that point said the agency knew about the problem for more than a year.

Mr. Bonnington today said the money had been located. It was buried in a mess of sloppy accounting, he said.

“We have it set up to pay the city by Feb. 15,” he said. “The money was in between our bank account and being fronted for homeless services.”

Mr. Bonnington who took over as executive director mid-2013 blamed past accounting methods for the error.

“They didn't have good accounting processes in place," he said. “The money is all there and accountable for. We know specifically which fund it is allocated to.”

Mr. Bonnington said the agency pays property owners rent for homeless people or people in danger of becoming homeless. Reimbursements for those rents did not come quick enough or impending reimbursements were not accounted for, he said.



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