DOJ finds inconsistencies in Fani Willis federal grant fund usage

by | Apr 10, 2024

The Justice Department has discovered “inconsistencies” in how Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis utilized federal grant funds, according to federal authorities familiar with the matter who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon.

The bombshell revelation emerges two years following the dismissal of a whistleblower by Willis, who had alerted the district attorney about potential misuse of a $488,000 federal grant allocated for “swag,” computers, and travel expenses.

Now, the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs has identified reporting discrepancies related to this grant in Willis's office, a revelation disclosed to the Free Beacon after federal authorities initially provided conflicting statements regarding awards Willis’ office made under the grant.

The Justice Department did not offer additional specifics regarding the nature of Willis's reported “inconsistencies” concerning the $488,000 federal grant, designated for establishing a Center for Youth Empowerment and Gang Prevention in Atlanta. Despite the grant's conclusion in September 2023, the center never came to fruition.

The Justice Department is collaborating with Willis's office to address the reported grant reporting “inconsistencies,” as an ongoing House Judiciary Committee investigation delves into Willis's utilization of federal grant funds.

The Free Beacon's inquiries that led to the DOJ's identification of Willis's reporting “inconsistencies” focused on potential subaward payments made by the district attorney to the Offender Alumni Association, a charity based in Alabama staffed by former prison inmates. The question of whether the Offender Alumni Association received payments from the federal grant appears to vary depending on the source.

Fulton County records indicate that Willis's office transferred $88,900 from the federal gang prevention grant to the Offender Alumni Association. However, the group's administrative director, Toni Barnett, informed the Free Beacon that she was unaware of the reason behind the county's reported payments to her organization in 2022 and 2023.

On March 27, a spokesperson for the Justice Department informed the Free Beacon that federal authorities had no records of any subgrant payments from Willis's office to the Offender Alumni Association.

However, the Justice Department altered its stance after the Free Beacon highlighted the discrepancy between its records and Fulton County’s records, which revealed $89,900 in subpayments to the Offender Alumni Association.

A DOJ spokesperson explained that “upon further research, we found that Offender Alumni Association is included as a Fulton County subgrantee in subsequent documents,” apologizing for the ‘initial error.’

The Justice Department declined to provide the Washington Free Beacon with copies of the “subsequent documents” demonstrating Willis's office made subgrant payments to the Offender Alumni Association, or the date on which Willis's office reported the payments to federal authorities.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon

 

 

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