Appalled by Amistad Failures, Sen. Fasano Demands Answers from OPM

August 14, 2014

Hartford – State Senator Len Fasano (R-34), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, is demanding more information regarding Amistad America, Inc.’s financial problems uncovered in four audits released on Friday. Today, Senator Fasano wrote to Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) with specific questions about the OPM-managed audits conducted by CohnReznick.

“The level of disorganization, failure to fulfill responsibilities and mismanagement of funding by Amistad America, Inc. is appalling. The audits are our first direct look into the bigger problems at stake here. They also raise further questions that must be addressed immediately,” said Fasano.

In his letter to OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes, Fasano asks for more information related to Amistad America’s fundraising activities, salary expenses and relationship with Ocean’s Classroom Foundation Inc.

Fasano also asks OPM about the administration’s management of the auditing process, questioning why OPM chose to only audit through March 31, 2012, why OPM granted extensions for the submission of these audits beyond what is allowed by state regulations, and why OPM did not previously consider suspending financial assistance until the audits were completed.

“Unfortunately these audits confirm what was feared, that there are wide deficiencies in the financial management of the Amistad America, Inc. organization across the board. It is my opinion that no further monies shall be allotted to this organization until an appropriate corrective action plan is approved by the state and implemented by the organization. For the protection of the taxpayers’ monies I hope that you share the same sentiment,” Fasano said in his letter to Secretary Barnes.

“The Amistad is one of Connecticut’s greatest historic treasures. It pains me to see the organization responsible for preserving the ship in such financial trouble. We need complete transparency now, so that we can resolve the problems, respect our taxpayers and protect our ship,” said Fasano.