Money for digital divide programs attracts scammers

The Post reports on a DC scandal - a scammer claiming to set up a technology center in impoverished southwest DC received $1.7 million in grants in 1998 and over several years he was paid $5.4 million in multiple contracts by three different agencies.

The Post reports on a DC scandal - a scammer claiming to set up a technology center in impoverished southwest DC received $1.7 million in grants in 1998 and over several years he was paid $5.4 million in multiple contracts  by three different agencies.

The Department of Housing and Community Development let him spend lavishly on the $4.6 million computer training center he called DC Link and Learn. But for years, the agency failed to carefully track Prioleau's work, records show. After questions this year from The Post, federal monitors investigated and told the city this month that it must repay the federal government the $1.7 million unless it proves that needy people were trained and the spending was proper.

The Department of Employment Services, which employed Prioleau's nonprofit group to train and find work for young people, let him hire his company and equip a new office while he was paying to keep furniture and computers in storage. In March, the agency hired outside auditors to review his spending.

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer paid Prioleau $377,000 in 2002 to plan a fundraising gala and help design a business campus at McKinley Technology High School, despite warnings from a city official and others that he might not be able to deliver. The gala never happened, and the campus was never built.

Archie Prioleau delivered nothing but receive no oversight from city officials, who continued to pay his salary and give him new contracts. Fortunately most cities are run a little  better than DC but its interesting how poorly run governments are vulnerable to claims of crossing the digital divide, and the like.


 

 

 

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