Baton Rouge, LA (PPN) – The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging (COA) continues to sit in the hot seat as more information is being discovered.
An audit shows that the COA allegedly used public resources and funding last year to campaign for a dedicated property tax. If this findings are true, the nonprofit’s organization may have violated laws on the state and federal level.
This could jeopardize the nonprofit organization’s tax-exempt status, according to a long-awaited Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report released this morning.
During the election year in 2016, voters approved a property tax that is estimated to generate nearly $8 million a year for the COA, according to the Business Report.
The agency’s management and staff violated state and federal laws throughout the months leading up to the November 8 election for the 10-year, $2.25 million property tax.
The COA’s Attorney Murphy J. Foster III said that intent to violate campaign finance laws was not done purposefully and believes that the agency did not understand what was legally permissible.
“Given that this was the COA’s first and only foray into the political arena and first and only dealing with the concept of a PAC, the leadership and the agency should have been better informed and advised on the nuances of campaign finance law,” Foster says.
The Council on Aging controversy began at the end of last year when the campaign allegations came out.
COA board member C. Denise Marcelle announced that a press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. at 5790 Florida Blvd. to discuss the audit’s findings.