Oklahoma City Bombing Fund Audit Complete

Friday, March 22nd 2013, 6:12 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

An audit of the Oklahoma City Bombing fund is now complete. And auditors did not find any improprieties related to how those funds were disbursed.

The audit did make some recommendations about changes that should be made following the recent controversy.

In the massive 151 page report, auditors found the DRF's procedures were consistent with IRS guidance. Also, there is no evidence disaster relief funds were used to pay the salary of Oklahoma City Community Foundation president Nancy Anthony or pay for OCCF's downtown building. Administrative fees charged by the OCCF are in line with industry standards. And there was no evidence of any compensation or payments to DRF or OCCF Trustees using DRF funds.

11/9/2012 Related Story: Bombing Fund Spends More Than $200K On Admin. Costs

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation,which manages the fund, requested the audit after several bombing victims came forward saying they had been denied funds or were told all the funds in the Disaster Relief fund were gone.

“Our stance is still thanks for the information in the audit but that’s not what we requested. That’s not what we need to prove what we’re speaking about,”said Gloria Chipman.

Chipman is a committee member of a group of bombing survivors and victims who calls themselves The Survivors Tree. The group has been critical of the OCCF's treatment of bombing victims, and of denying victims assistance.

The Disaster Relief Fund still has $10 million dollars in it.

The audit found some of those alleging the DRF denied them assistance received thousands of dollar sin financial assistance since 1995 from the DRF and other relief agencies.

Still Chipman says she personally knows of more than 50 people who didn't get the assistance they need.

“But even just one, that person’s family should have been helped,” said Chipman. “That person who was injured should have been helped. There’s no reason with the amount of money that came into Oklahoma that even one person should have fallen through the cracks.”

Auditors recommend the DRF should consider policies to improve outreach so survivors don't “fall through the cracks”.

The report also says the OCCF should revisit their decision to allocate $4.4 million dollars in donor funds to other entities including $1.5 million dollars for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and $400,000 dollars to other communities.

Other recommendations include:

“The DRF should consider formalizing a policy for the use and distribution of funds.”

“The DRF should consider obtaining an IRS private letter ruling. A private letter ruling from the IRS would be a written decision that would bind the DRF and put to rest many of the issues as to what can or cannot be done with the remaining funds.”

“The DRF should consider establishing and communicating a written policy for survivor appeals that could be reviewed by a committee.”

Representatives from the OCCF declined News 9’s request for on camera interview. But said in an e-mail they will consider the report's recommendations.

Members of the Survivor Tree also point to what they believe is a conflict of interest with the auditing firm BKD. The managing partner in BKD's Oklahoma City office is listed as a major donor on all the OCCF's annual reports between 2009 and 2012.

A spokesperson from the OCCF counters there is no conflict of interest because the donation was a one-time gift of 1,000 in 2008 to from the managing partner and his wife to an endowment fund that they administer – one of more than 1,200 funds at OCCF.