A review by the City Controller’s Office found that more than $380,000 in revenue from the Philadelphia Marathon was used as a “slush fund” for grants not approved by the board, trips to Italy for then mayor Michael Nutter and his staff, as well as an event that included an open bar last year.
The report notes 20 line items of grants and expenses from the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia that went unchecked by the fund’s board of directors.The Fund is responsible for overseeing revenues and expenditures from the race.
Controller Alan Butkovitz told Philly.com that the spending was approved only by the fund’s then chairwoman, former City Representative Desiree Peterkin Bell.
“Instead of making grant awards, it appears the former chairperson used the reserves account as if it were a special slush fund,” Butkovitz reportedly said at a news conference.
Some of the expenditures reportedly included:
- $51,295 for airfare and five-star lodging to Rome for the mayor and five staff members to meet the Pope.
- $52,000 for accommodations at Philadelphia Marriott Courtyard. The line items do not indicate for whom the rooms were provided.
- Nearly $11,000 for an open wine and beer event for a mayor’s reception at the African American Museum.
Butkovitz reportedly said there was no indication of any criminal wrongdoing, but suggested the expenditures could be in violation of IRS rules governing nonprofits.
“You’re not allowed to use nonprofit money for your own benefit, just how you are not allowed to use city money for your own benefit,” Butkovitz said. “The IRS has some guidelines about what things constitute as business expenses.”
Nutter has denied that any of the expenditures were improper.