SEATTLE – Some powerful names are among those who were given contracts by a small business program in the center of the Seattle Public Schools scandal, documents show.
The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle was awarded nearly $600,000 in school district contracts, making it the largest single recipient of the misappropriated money, but the head of the organization says the contracts were legitimate.
"The Urban League did nothing wrong and, so, we want to set the record straight that we have done nothing wrong," Tony Benjamin, Urban League acting executive director said Wednesday.
The Washington state Auditor's Office criticized the Urban League for invoices that it says were vague and gave few details as to what work was actually done. But the Urban League says it has very detailed documentation about how it helped women and minority businesses bid for contracts.
"The auditors, and I'm not sure what documentation they were provided by the school district, but I am very confident in the documentation that we submitted that accompanied any invoices that we submitted to the school district were very complete," Benjamin said.
Benjamin also addressed the $25,000 the Urban League billed the school district for a database the state auditor said never worked and was not used. Benjamin said the database was only a 30-day trial and that the school district rejected making it a full working program.
Benjamin offered no opinion on Wednesday night's expected vote to fire superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, other than to say that it's the school board's decision.