Kevin Johnson Settles with the Federal Government – Former Corps Must Repay CNCS

Kevin Johnson

Update 6/12/09: For more background regarding the Corporation’s Inspector General Gerald Walpin’s role in the Kevin Johnson controversy, check out this article in Youth Today.

Kevin Johnson, Sacramento’s mayor, former Phoenix Suns point guard and former AmeriCorps program director, has settled with the Feds, clearing the way for Sacramento to receive stimulus funding.

Last fall, I wrote about Kevin Johnson’s missteps as head of an AmeriCorps program in Sacramento. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) accused him of wasting its money and directing corps members to do things clearly outside the bounds of AmeriCorps service.

The controversy didn’t end when he left his nonprofit St. HOPE Academy and its AmeriCorps program Hood Corps; nor when he ran to become mayor of Sacramento; nor when he took office as mayor. In fact, his questionable role with the AmeriCorps program threatened to prevent the city of Sacramento from receiving stimulus funding!

Because the Corporation (a federal organization) had named him in the excluded parties system he was not allowed to receive federal contracts, subcontracts, funds, and even nonfinancial benefits.

Recently he and his former nonprofit St. HOPE Academy settled with the government. They are responsible for repaying about half of the $848,000 in AmeriCorps funding that they had received  between 2004 and 2007. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Johnson agreed to pay $73,836 owed by St. HOPE, although he eventually might be repaid by the organization. St. HOPE Executive Director Dana Gonzalez agreed to pay another $1,000. St. HOPE will pay the remaining $350,000 over 10 years.”

The settlement doesn’t force anyone to acknowledge misuse of AmeriCorps money, but it does take his name out of the excluded parties system. (I just did a search of his name and didn’t find it listed.) That clears the way for people in Sacramento to get stimulus funding.

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