A former Obama fundraiser and fired head of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit has been accused of using his organization's funds to make political donations to major Democratic candidates, pay his property taxes and buy home office furniture, according to court documents filed this week.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in a federal court in California, the anti-poverty nonprofit Youth Policy Institute (YPI) reportedly accuses its former chief executive, Dixon Slingerland, of misusing the organization’s money on a number of things – including paying for his children’s private tutoring, padding his wife’s pensions, paying for “lavish” entertainment and making “partisan political contributions” to federal campaign committees. That last activity would be a violation of federal tax law.
The Los Angeles Times first reported on the allegations.
YPI said in the filing that it had already sent Slingerland a letter demanding that he repay more than $1.7 million. The organization fired Slingerland in September after it “concluded that Mr. Slingerland had been misusing YPI’s funds for his personal use over an extended period of time, and at least since 2014,” court filings reportedly say.
Slingerland did not return Fox News’ request for comment, but in an email to the Los Angeles Times he called the allegations “incorrect and extremely misleading.” He did admit that “a handful of expenditures were mistakenly made” on his YPI credit card. He added that he had already expressed his commitment to repay the money.
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“I have made several attempts to meet with YPI leadership to resolve any and all issues, including the fact that YPI still owes me money,” Slingerland said. “YPI has refused to engage in discussions or provide me with the necessary detail needed to clear up these matters.”
The allegations in the bankruptcy filing come as the longtime nonprofit abruptly closed for good nearly two weeks ago, putting almost 1,000 employees out of work and disrupting services to low-income families across the Los Angeles region.
Slingerland reportedly worked for YPI for 23 years and had an estimated annual salary of around $400,000 when he was fired. During his tenure, he became a force in both local and national politics and used his connections to bring in taxpayer funding for his organization, as reported by the Times.
He is also a well-known Democratic booster, reportedly holding at least seven fundraisers for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2013 campaign and contributing $5,000 to a committee set up by Garcetti to support congressional candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.
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Slingerland was also heavily involved in raising money for former President Barack Obama’s election campaigns in both 2008 and 2012, with The New York Times reporting that he had raised more than $743,000.
The bankruptcy filing does not specify if political committees or campaigns received the purported improper contributions from YPI.
YPI, which had an annual budget of around $47 million and operated in about 100 locations around Los Angeles, began to run into trouble when federal education officials determined it “lacked the proper financial controls and the systems needed to manage its cash flow,” the Times reported. It was then subject to an audit that flagged problems.