New England Farm Workers' Council investigated by state auditor - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

New England Farm Workers' Council investigated by state auditor

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

The New England Farm Workers' Council is a Springfield based non-profit that provides services such as job training, daycare and fuel assistance to low-income families.

But it's the money used to help those families that had the state auditor knocking on the organization's door.

Between 2010 and 2012 the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump examined the New England Farm Workers' Council for state money she said was used for non reimbursable expenses.

The report, released on Tuesday, highlighted the money in question including:

  • $454,871 FOR SALARY EXPENSES
  • $162,590 FOR CONSULTANT EXPENSES
  • $32,377 TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PAYMENTS
  • $20,261 FOR CONFERENCE & LODGING FEES

Those and other expenditures totaling up to $782,224.

Bump the non-profit failed to report those expenses to the state.

In a statement issued to CBS 3, she said, "Proper documentation of all expenses is absolutely necessary to ensure that public resources are being used for a real public purpose."

But the head of the organization, Heriberto Flores, said his council has been up-front with the state auditor through the entire process.

"We feel 100 percent confident that we have all the documentation there. We will sit down with the state agency and submit all the documentation, and we will be proving all the information was there," said Flores.  

Bill Bennett is the attorney that represents New England Farm Workers.

He said the council raised $2.4 million for expenses and not a dime was state money.

"The auditor's report presumes that those $2.4 million were state funds. That's incorrect. That's just not right," said Bennett.  

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