As the future of CPRIT remains in flux amid a Texas House vote on the cancer-funding agency’s new reform measures and its inclusion into the Texas state budget, the Attorney General of Texas is once again turning up the heat on the CPRIT Foundation, a privately-funded arm of CPRIT that supplemented top-level CPRIT executives’ salaries. Recently, the CPRIT Foundation announced that it would be shutting down its operations over the next few months in the wake of a new investigation into its donors and expenditures, noting that the remaining $221,000 in unspent donations would be given directly to CPRIT after all remining foundation expenses were paid.
However, the Texas Attorney General is disputing the amount of remaining money owed, and how much the state-run CPRIT organization should receive from the Foundation.
According to an AP article from yesterday, “in a letter sent to the CPRIT Foundation on Monday, the Texas attorney general’s office said a review of financial records suggests the amount owed to the state is closer to $328,000,” citing that $150,000 in expenses that the CPRIT Foundation is claiming in expenses were accrued after the Foundation recently changed its name to the Texas Cancer Coalition. The Attorney General argues that, because not only was the Foundation’s name changed, but also its mission, that those expenses should not be paid out of monies owed to CPRIT.
CPRIT Foundation/Texas Cancer Coalition spokesman Marc Palazzo is planning to meet with the Attorney General to work out some kind of agreement on the matter.
In the Attorney General’s letter, he outlines several questionable expenses, including “$36,000 for a monthly retainer to Austin-based JHL Co., which is run by Jennifer Stevens, who was the executive director of the CPRIT Foundation. A $20 parking ticket is also listed as a disallowed expense.” the Attorney General is calling for a more detailed account of the foundation’s expenses as well, which very well may lead to a continued reassessment of what the CPRIT Foundation will owe the state of Texas in the end.