Brickbat: Help Yourself


Community Action of Minneapolis is supposed to provide energy assistance, skills training and other services for poor people. But a state audit found that it spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars over a two-year period on cruises, trips, spa treatments, a loaner car and bonuses for staff and board members.

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  1. That’s standard operating procedure for non-profits in New York, they just felt left out. Basically “Non-profit” here is synonymous with “Connected people lining their pockets”.

    1. In DC it’s probably worse. The people around here claim they work for a non-profit as their job description. As if saying what your companies tax return designation accurately describes what you do. I take it as a sign that the person has no clue what value they provide and wants to pretend they are charitable because they collect a check.

      1. wants to pretend they are charitable because they feel *guilty about collecting a check.

  2. Along with the trips, the audit by the state Department of Human Services found that the nonprofit’s leaders spent public money on bonuses, golf, spa treatments, furniture, alcohol and even a personal car loan.

    Step 1. Run a nonprofit
    Step 2. ???
    Step 3. PROFIT

  3. Yeah, the whole “nonprofit” world is full of this. I guess if you can’t show a profit, you spend the extras on “employee compensation” to make the books balance. Why anyone thinks it is particularly noble to work for a nonprofit is beyond me, but the benefits are clear for the executives.

    1. You probably also see a bunch of interlocking “donations” between nonprofits that have the effect of laundering excess funds that end up being applied to perks.

    2. They see a nobility in not working.

      1. They see a nobility in not working.

        Hillary Clinton is quite proud of the fact that she has chosen the austere life of a humble public servant over the pursuit of filthy lucre in the private sector and I’m pretty sure she believes she is part of the nobility.

        1. Hey, she was totally broke when she and Bill left the White House.

          1. By those standards, the non-profit in the story was helping the poor.

  4. I call them ‘not for paying taxes’

  5. Oh look.

    I’m stunned.

  6. Hey, charity begins at home.

  7. I was in a hotel where Community Action was having a convention this summer.Not a decent-looking broad out of the whole bunch.

    1. Most women don’t appear their best in front of the waitstaff for breakfast.

  8. Fund them out of pull-tab revenue.

    1. Ted,

      You better line some other non profits up because there is soooo much more money from the pull tabs (after we finish paying for the Vikes stadium) that I don’t think just one non profit could spend that much money wisely.

  9. Is anyone under the impression these kind of things don’t happen in the ‘for profit’ world? Companies often pay to reward their workers (and attract new ones) for things like this. Most of the comments here just reflect a bias against people who might dare to work for a company that is non=profit. I guess freedom to choose has an asterik.

    1. Greedy capitalist running dogs don’t hold themselves out as selfless servants of the oppressed underclass, comrade.

      1. Oh I see, they created the double standard, you’re just applying it. To the extent they are not monks they are hypocrites, because the interests of those they serve could never be furthered by standard contemporary industry actions like these to attract, reward and recharge their employees.

        1. If they want to lower themselves to the level of the evil profit-takers, let them. They can abandon their moral superiority and we can point and laugh.

          1. But of course they are not lowering themselves anymore than they lower themselves by adopting other standard industry practices, like TQM.

            They are different in the nature of their mission and that they do not generate and distribute profits, that’s all.

            1. they do not generate and distribute profits

              Oh, that’s rich. A nice spa trip isn’t a profit as long as you aren’t paying taxes on it.

              1. Here’s the upshot, you don’t think non-profit employees should get paid because they profit from that, and that’s hypocrisy! rofl

                1. We get it. You are pro-corruption. Good for you.

                  1. Because compensating non-profit employees well=corruption!

          2. If I buy a widget, I buy it understanding that there is profit that will be spent by the company on whatever. It’s really a matter of indifference to me if they use the profit to fill a giant money bath for executives.

            Not-for-profit entities, by and large, don’t sell products, they solicit donations So if I give one $1,000 to help needy children, I’m going to be incredibly pissed if they use 60% of the donation for a money bath.

            1. Your first point is true as long as you are not a shareholder

              Btw, buying Body Armor stock was a very good decision, a very basic Lynchian company.

              It would have been very sucky if instead of spending their profits as they did, and were obligated to do so as a public co., they pulled the kind of spa shenanigans we see here

              Both cases are fancy ways to steal, putting it bluntly

              1. Obviously, owners have a different perspective than consumers. As well they should.

    2. Most people who start non profits do it because they get special treatment when submitting bids on gov contracts. They can get by without having profit because the only overhead most have are rent and salary so they can easily project budgets. In other words they provide absolutely zero value and rely on gov. contracts to survive.

      1. Yup, organizations that have been around for almost 200 years like the YMCA are just parasitical wastes of space! LOL!

        1. pretty much.

          1. Did you even read the article?

            1. The article was about how all nonprofits just waste time and money providing no value to anyone?

              1. In other words you did not read the article.

    3. Here’s the for profit Oracle’s conference plans, including this event:

      “Stay up past your bedtime rocking to Aerosmith and hip-hopping to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Oracle Appreciation Event. These award-winners?plus free-flowing networking, food, and drink?come Wednesday to magical Treasure Island.”…..index.html

        1. And, these are standard things organizations do for their workforces. Non-profits exist in the same world as non-profits you know, and have to compete for the same workers and expectations.

          1. Your a colossal retard. Bottom line if anybody is pissing away public money on cruises or spa trips we have a right to bitch and be pissed off about it, just like private shareholders can bitch about these things in board meetings.

            1. But you can’t just point to the fact there are spa trips or cruises and scream waste, especially when successful for-profits standardly engage in similar things.

              1. I can when they are spending tax dollars to do it. If I was a shareholder and the company was loosing money and doing these things I would be pissed about that as well.

              2. I can when they are spending tax dollars to do it. If I was a shareholder and the company was loosing money and doing these things I would be pissed about that as well.

                1. *losing not loosing.

              3. “Standard for-profit” companies acquire the money through voluntary exchange so I couldn’t care less what they spend it on. It is utterly wrong for tax dollars to be spent on vaca’s for useless individuals.

          2. The difference being that Oracle earns the money they spend on their employees and Community Action uses donations meant to benefit the poor and tax money looted from the public.

            Oracle answers to their shareholders; Community Action answers to me.

            1. Well, don’t be a stupid shareholder.

              I mean, really. Open your mind to the possibility that the reason why these kinds of things are standard practice is because in the long run they might work.

              I think what you’re really peeved about, other than a bias regarding non-profits, is any organization getting public money.

              1. Well, don’t be a stupid shareholder.

                That’s what we are doing when we complain about waste, fraud and abuse in tax-funded non-profits.

                I think what you’re really peeved about, other than a bias regarding non-profits, is any organization getting public money.

                Well fuck me, I just might be a libertarian or something.

                1. Again, don’t assume this is waste, fraud and abuse. If successful private companies are doing it then perhaps it has a useful purpose?

                  And being a libertarian, while problematic enough ๐Ÿ˜‰ can’t explain a bias against non-profits and their employees in general. People are free to choose to work in non-profits and free to give to them, that’s how successful ones like the YMCA have been around for a couple of centuries.

                  1. I work for a putative non-profit organization. The sheer amount of BMWs, Mercedes, Range Rovers, and the occasional Maserati in the parking lots show you have no idea what you are talking about.

                    1. See, this is the heart of the matter. You don’t think people that work in non-profits can or should be well compensated or rewarded well like their for profit counterparts because they’ve taken a vow of poverty or something.

                      One would think that a libertarian might appreciate that an organization, despite it’s ‘high falutin’ ideals and goals, might be best served by taking into account and pitching to the self interest of those involved. What a novel idea!

                    2. There is nothing libertarian about taking my money at gunpoint and then spending it on spa days and golf. And to top it off to get pissy if I dare complain about how you use my money.

                    3. Are you against all government contracting out?

                      Because here’s the the thing: if any government contracting is OK, you should know that it’s standard big company practice to pay for perks for their employees sometimes. It’s seen as a way to attract and retain talent, increase motivation and loyalty, and stuff.

                    4. There is nothing libertarian about taking my money at gunpoint and then spending it on spa days and golf.

                      Why should a for-profit defense contractor be able to do that without you batting an eye, but a non-profit can’t?

                    5. My self-interest is that Community Action stops stealing from me to give well-paid people massages. And I’m supposed to forgo my interests because what they are doing is for the collective good.

                      Once they exist on private donations, they can do what they want. They would still be a shitty charity, but my self-interest would have far less involuntary interaction with their failure of mission.

                    6. I assume that even you want a government doing some set of functions. What if the government could achieve these cheaper and better by contracting out to a NGO?

                      Now, what if non-governmental organizations (profit and not), have found that paying for perks for their employees aids them in doing their work better?

                      Are you going to object to them doing that when they might be saving you money overall? How’s that in your self interest?

                    7. The state of Minnesota found that what they were doing is waste and fraud under state law.

                      So I guess the state was wrong? I guess you should be bitching at the state of Minnesota rather than trolling us, MNG.

                    8. So the libertarian relies on the state’s determination! LOL.

                    9. So the state can’t determine when it’s own money is being improperly spent? I’d be fine dismantling it as well.

                    10. Are you going to object to them doing that when they might be saving you money overall?

                      Stealing $20 at gun point instead of $40 at gunpoint is not saving me money.

                    11. Not great at word problems, I get it.

                    12. Not great at logic and honest argument, I get it.

                    13. Where’s your ‘logic?’

                      Do you think no government services should be provided, or do you think no private organization could or should provide that service under contract in a way that would save money? And if so, then recognize that private organizations profit and not do give perks like this to employees for non-wasteful reasons, logic King.

                    14. Dr. Doom you must work for a non-profit it’s the only reason in my humble opinion that you be so willfully ignorant in why everyone is irritated about this case.

        2. Evil. Profits.

      1. Nobody cares what people do with private shareholders money. People care what people do with public funds which is how these connected non-profits line their pockets. Also last I checked oracle isn’t pretending to be some sisters of the poor charitable group.

        1. And Oracle, of course, gets no government monies!

          Most big companies get government money. That money is not necessarily wasted when it is being spent on practices like these that are embraced by the private sector too, it’s likely they, you know, work.

          1. Oracle is being paid for a product, dubious as it may be. Community Action is spending money looted from me at gunpoint.

            1. Because Community Action does absolutely nothing other than spa trips, and we know that because they pay for spa trips!

              So likewise since we know Oracle will pay for Aerosmith concerts they must do absolutely nothing but pay for concerts.

              1. Your missing the fucking point or your ignoring it. It seems you have a fundamental misunderstanding about how gov. contracts work. Oracle didn’t spend funds that it received to do research on tech from the gov. on the spa trip it spent other funds provided by other activities funded by consumers. If it did it would be embroiled in a federal investigation much like the non profit in the article.

              2. I’m sure that Community Action did something of use, maybe. But the spa trips were all profit to the employees, no different than if they had taken it home as a “bankster” bonus.

                When your dream of nationalizing Oracle comes about, I’ll start bitching about them wasting money on Aerosmith concerts.

          2. Of course they do, but when they are audited as they are every year to make sure they are spending the money correctly it isn’t revealed that they spent the money on things it wasn’t specifically allocated for as per contract.

            1. Dude, google oracle overcharged government

              1. Dude everyone overcharges the gov. Mostly because they have to in order to do business with them.

                1. Do your standards always come in duplicate?

                2. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be pissed we are.

              2. Did they overcharge the government by billing them spa days? I’m guessing the answer is no.

              3. Dr.Dumb. Fraud is fraud no matter who engages in it.

                1. Of course fraud is bad. And fraud may have occurred here, for example billing the government for time spent organizing files when you really spent the time and money on a spa.

                  But the mere fact that an organization, profit or not, paid for things like spa trips for their employees is not by itself proof of waste.

                  1. So involuntary collected taxpayer money, given to a non profit organization, that was supposed to be spent on the less fortunate, is instead spent on spa treatments, and parties for it’s exec’s is not waste. Got it.
                    Shit Hawk.

                    1. If paying for such perks leads to a more talented, motivated work force which then uses the resources remaining in a more effective way to help the poor, yup. Just like what Oracle and many other successful for-profits do.

                  2. To expand on that, ANY compensation they provide an employee is not (necessarily) waste, let alone fraud.

                    A spa trip, a company car, free soda (Microsoft) etc. are all just part of the way a company compensates employees.

                    However, when you are talking about nonprofits that spend (as an extreme example) 75% of donations on compensation, overhead, etc. I don’t think anybody WOD argue that nonprofit was wasteful.

                    1. Of course at some level it is waste, maybe here. It also can be waste at small levels if the motivation and planning behind it were wrong. I’m just saying this idea ‘OMG the workers drive Range Rovers but this is supposed to be a non-profit, so !!!!’ is silly.

                    2. No it’s silly to think we should be forced to pay for spa days for those that can clearly pay for them themselves.

                      But seriously keep being obtuse.

          3. Everything you have written in this thread has made people dumber for reading it. If non profits want to act like for profits then they should work under the same rules as for profits.

            1. Of course non-profits that act like profits, say in using copier machines or adopting flex time or work from home, are obviously then hypocrites aping the for profit sector! LOL, talk about dumber.

              1. Yes, a copier is the same as a massage.

                Your desperation is showing.

                1. Paying for conventions with things like spas and massages is certainly seen as a standard industry management tactic.

                  You know what else happens in organizations? The boss will take everyone out for a beer! Of course if non-profits did this they would be hypocrites. Other organizations have family picnics paid for with company money? Of course non-profits that did so would be hypocrites. Etcetera.

              2. Burn that straw man.

                BURN!!!!!! Baby BURN!!!!!!

                1. Oh look,someone’s leaned a little internet logic talk!

                  As he gets older he’ll even learn to actually correctly apply it, but it’s cute to see him handle it now anyway.

                  1. You cant seem to grasp that for profits are using money people volunteered to give them by buying their service. They answer to shareholders.

                    Non profits like this one are relying on money taken from me at gun point. They answer to no one it seems.

                    1. You can’t seem to grasp, even though I’ve pointed this out several times, that for profits like Oracle take government money too. Are you against all such privatization of government services, or just, as I conclude, have it out for non-profits that do so?

                    2. Turd.Burglar.

                    3. Oracle does not take government money. They have a contract with the government to provide a service for which they get paid for. They have shareholders who dictate what oracle can do with the profits they receive from that contract.

                      You must either work for this non profit or one like it. Only someone protecting their gravy train could blindly ignore the difference between a company providing a service and a non profit receiving a handout

                    4. Do you think non-profits like the one in question just get a sack of government money left on their doorbell after the state comptroller rings the door bell and runs away?

                    5. They get their money by begging at the trough of the entity that sends people with guns to threaten me with death or being locked in a box if I don’t pay up.

                    6. They get their money by applying for grants and contracts just like Oracle does (well, Oracle probably greases a lot more palms). Your hate of non-profits just shines on through!

                    7. I love non profits that work on private donations. They exist because people have volunteered to give them money. If they spend their money on things I don’t like then I don’t give them money. No one with a gun will threaten me with death if I don’t give them money.

                      Non profits that live on government grants and handouts are using men with guns to force me to support them. So yes, I hate those kinds of non profits

                    8. No they get a sack full of money after the local guards extort it at gunpoint.

        2. Oracle cashes vast amounts of government checks, from licensing to consulting, etc. They were one of the OCare contractors.

          Why can Oracle, which is lining its pockets with government money, throw lavish parties for its employees, but a non-profit lining its pockets with government money cannot?

          Community Action’s government money is looted from you at gunpoint to exactly the same degree that Oracle’s government money is.

          I don’t get why you think its okey-dokey for a for-profit to spend its looted government money on big parties, but not OK for a for-profit to spend its looted government money on big parties.

          The distinction can’t be that its government money looted at gunpoint, because that’s the same for both.

      2. Dumbass, that is a trade show. Anyone who wants to buy Oracle products can sign up and go. Of course they have to pay money to attend.

        1. Looks like it costs $2650 to attend Oracle’s Open World conference (which is what you linked to).

    4. Companies often pay to reward their workers (and attract new ones) for things like this.

      Hey, non-profits can do those things all they want, as long as they don’t use my taxpayer dollars to make it happen.

      Most of the comments here just reflect a bias against people who might dare to work for a company that is non=profit.

      Yes, that is exactly what it is. We just hate those filthy non-profit employees

      1. And the comment right below yours realizes its partly true at least and tries to offer an explanation, hilarious.

        1. Don’t you have some eastern european peasants to oppress or something ?

          1. Oppress? My people adore their liege.

    5. Most of the comments here just reflect a bias against people who might dare to work for a company that is non=profit.

      I think the abuse isn’t for non-profits as much as it is for those non-profits that suckle at the government teat. There’s a difference between collecting voluntary donations to further your charitable work and collecting a government check. I suspect non-government-connected non-profits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army do more with less than do government-connected poverty pimp non-profits like Jesse Jackson’s and General Motors.

  10. What’s the point of working in government if you can’t treat yourself well for being such a selfless public servant? If we don’t allow government workers a little treat every once in a while how will we keep the top talent motivated? If there are no perks to working in public service then there will no quality employee would ever choose to stay.

    1. While I may work at an Evil Governmnet Burueaucracy, the policy with regards to employees getting anything (other than the paycheck) has always been “Pay your own goddamn way”.

      1. Ditto

        Although our insurance, does provide 60 massages a year, and yes you can go to a spa, as long as the therapist is a preferred provider

        Massage is a very therapeutic practice btw improving a host of things and definitely improving quality of life of the employee AND improving their ability to do the job

        1. Officer Dumpy. I sure you need a good massage after a long day of shooting peoples pets, extorting motorists, and giving beatdowns to homeless people.

          1. A massage paid for by us none the less.

            1. Hell yea!

              But as I said, it’s part of insurance benefits and is thus clearly a medical procedure designed to correct health issues etc and it does just that.

              By the way studies show substantial health and performance benefits come from Massage. Benefits are to physical health as well as psychological health

              Whether the cost of the massages to the agency roughly $70 per are a cost effective thing is another question

              That improve officer health Whether exercise good diet whatever have been shown by the FBI law-enforcement journal studies to offer substantial benefits

              They found that officers who were healthy which was correlated to working out eating right etc were: less likely to use or abuse sick leave, less likely to get seriously injured on duty and burn up tax money on injured leave, Less likely to use excessive force, and less likely to cause the department’s civil liability, less likely to commit suicide, less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, etc

              1. In other words healthier officers cost the public far less than healthy officers obviously

                Of course there are correlation and causation questions in other words do the same types of officers that tend to take care of their body by working out and eating right etc be naturally inclined to be less likely to be the kind of person to abuse sick leave or use excessive force ?

                Do working out eating right etc etc improve the officers physical capability and emotional stability psychological well-being etc etc thus making them into a better officer and this one less likely to engage in those pathologies or etc?

                I suggest that both are true to varying extents

                Many agencies for this reason among others now pay us to work out on duty and even offer pay and vacation incentives if we meet higher physical fitness standards

                And those agencies argue that such practices actually save money in the long run

                1. Regardless of which way the correlation and causation factors work, which are causes and which are effects, its irrefutable that

                  CETERIS PARIBUS – A healthy and physically fit officer will be more effective in his job and less costly to the taxpayer and will produce more product per hour worked

                  He will use less force to accomplish any given task on average he is less likely to get serious injured or killed etc etc etc, less likely to engage in conduct resulting in termination

                  If I was king, officers would be required to pass a physical fitness test and psychological test every year

                  They would be paid to workout On duty for a few hours each week

                  There would be citizen review boards (trained in use of force and approved by both the prosecutor and public defender office) in charge to review uses of force and pass out discipline

                  They would be required to wear body cameras

                  Just as dishonesty by officers would be vigourously punished , if Body cameras etc could prove dishonesty by complainants against officers, they would also be vigourously prosecuted and sued if appropriate

                  In addition to these required physical fitness standards strength standards etc officers will be required to demonstrate a much higher level of competence in defensive tactics similar to what we see in countries like Japan

            2. Yup. and the doughnut eater salivates at the fact. See below.

              1. Sorry above.

          2. I see the generalizations about entire fields is not limited to non-profs.

            1. You haven’t seen occifer dumpfry defend our boys in blue when they shoot and beat on innocents for daring to disrespect one of his fellow travelers.

              No matter his right opinions on other matters his terrible need to justify the police state still makes him a slaver that deserves contempt.

              1. I always defend our boys in blue when the facts support they should be defended and condemned them when the facts support they should be condemned this is what distinguishes me from the average bigot here

                Well that and the fact that I actually understand the law surrounding use of force

                The fact that I teach both cops and noncops deadly force law and firearms instruction

                The fact that in over 20 years of policework I have never had a single complaint regarding excessive force let alone a sustained complaint

                That is despite the fact that I have used literally every possible force option that you can imagine on my gun belt and that I have been in shootings victim of felonious assault multiple times etc etc

                And of course my uses of force have always been subject to civil and criminal review and have always come out Golden

                It would be nice if there were persons here who actually had at least a theoretical understanding of the issues involved in force let alone actual experience of using it

                Damn, I miss Balko ๐Ÿ™

                1. I have also had the real-life experience of coming to work and finding out one of my beat partners and best friends had been murdered in line of duty

                  I have used physical force to save lives

                  I have seen countless violent incidents and what type of force is often necessary to overcome resistance by such actors

                  I have suffered serious injury due to force used against me by offenders and have had to respond and/or witness when force was used against my partners resulting in substantial injury in my presence

                  And again despite all that real experience versus ivory tower pontificating by ignorant bigots here, again have never had an excessive force complaint

                  But yes I am sure some puts named FUQ who couldn’t distinguish Tenn v. Garner from Roe v. Wade knows what he’s talking about!


                  1. And of course me the horrible statist supports every officer being required to wear a body camera, citizen review boards of use of force, mandatory physical fitness and psychological testing every year for police officers, The end of the war on drugs, increased privacy protections against search and seizure by State actors, far more expensive right to keep and bear arms by average Joe’s, greater self defence rights for the average person such as my state which requires the state to disprove self defence in a criminal trial, substantial dismantling of civil forfeiture laws, abolishment of all two-party consent was and protection of the absolute right of people to film police anywhere the person doing the filming is lawfully present, substantially Tighter standards for SWAT training and for determination as to when they are deployed, an absolute prohibition against police officers investigating immigration status

                    But I’m a STATIST derp derp derp

                  2. Wow !!! I did not know beagles,kittens infants, and the elderly could be so dangerous !!!
                    Stay safe Officer Dumpy !!!

                    1. He speaks about all these freedoms he supports and then justifies bad actions by his fellow occifers. And wonders why no reads his massive “me” posts or believes a word of it. It’s almost like we know he’s taking out both sides of his mouth.

                      Tongue kisses

                    2. And his new body camera kick means nothing when the occifer has the ability to turn said device off when he wants or “lose the tape”

  11. Lets make it all happen. Wow.

  12. Holy shit between this and us tagging Larry Craig for $240K, maybe I will get a tax refund this year?…..67511.html

  13. One of the things to remember about this scam is that it isn’t about how much money was stolen, but who it went to.

    Members of Community Action’s board during the time in which funds were allegedly misappropriated included a number of prominent DFLers, including Keith Ellison, state Sen. Jeff Hayden, and Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson. Ellison and Johnson told the Strib they didn’t actually attend board meetings and instead sent proxies on their behalf, but Goodwin says “that’s no excuse.” (Ellison and Hayden have resigned from the board in recent days.)…..candal.php

    That money was basically being used as a slush fund for state Democrats.

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