Jack Kitchen of OARC responds

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This is taken verbatim from an email sent from Kitchen:

“A couple of areas of your article that I think need clarification.

 

The first is that I believe very few people were aware of the lengthy process it took to obtain a DCED grant and I want to explain this in more detail. When we discussed the WAMS having no paper trail I was referring to an article in Western Pa that made that claim and as I said that is a misnomer. DCED grants, Legislative Initiative Dollars or WAMs whatever you call them had a process that was transparent and held organizations accountable.

The second is a newspapers responsibility to check facts prior to printing a story. It seems that there is no accountability for printing stories based on personal opinion or stories that are completely incorrect. While I read Jim Fosters response to my statements my only comment is it seems he continues to base his articles on his personal opinion, or inaccurate articles published in other papers.

Some of the larger papers in Philly have written stories about OARC that were without fact and incorrect. While they may issue a retraction that is usually buried deep within the paper the damage has been done.

My experience has been that an incorrect story written in one of the larger Philadelphia papers will almost always get picked up by the AP and spread across the state in a matter of a few hours. The AP as well as some of our smaller papers will follow the original story and craft it into their paper by stating (based on an article in the Philadelphia paper) the following occurred.

While a retraction may be issued in a few days by the Larger Philadelphia Paper usually buried deep within retractions are not usually picked up by the AP or any of the smaller papers.

Yes there was a normal DCED compliance review that spiraled into a full blown investigation I believe largely in part due to inaccurate newspaper stories. I base this belief largely because one of the first statements made by DCED was that “we have copies of all of these newspaper stories and their claims about OARC”.

At the end of the day and after an intense investigation in which we opened our books records to the DCED / The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a forensic audit team from Western Pa commissioned by the Office of the Inspector General. Upon completion of their review of all of our transactions including Relish, and North by Northwest … OARC has been cleared of any wrongdoing, and restored to good standing and eligible to receive further DCED / Commonwealth funding.

Whatever you want to call them Legislative Initiative Dollars or WAMS a contract and compliance process was in place with DCED. To give you a short overview here is how the process was set up by the Commonwealth.

1) An application was submitted to DCED for project funding.

2) DCED would review the application and then contact the applicant with questions or issue a letter of award or rejection.

3) DCED would issue a contract and forward it to the applicant or execution. The contract would have listed the purpose of the funds and the time period that the project needed to be completed.

4) The applicant would execute the contract and return it to DCED for execution.

5) Various departments in Harrisburg would sign off on the contract including the Attorney General’s office.

6) Once executed by the various departments the contract is the sent back to the group that requested the funding.

7) At the end of the time period for completion an independent audit of the use of the grant was required by DCED. In the event that an audit was not received within the allotted time period the recipient of the funding would be deemed ineligible for future funding.

8) DCED would review the independent audit and either accept or reject it.”

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