Judge calls Oklahoma charity's expenditures 'very questionable'

District Judge Patricia Parrish said she would question the appropriateness of about $28,500 in Community Health Charities of Oklahoma expenditures. Executive Director John Motil has since died.
by Randy Ellis Published: August 2, 2012

An investigative report on Community Health Charities of Oklahoma has identified about $28,500 in “very questionable” expenditures, an Oklahoma County district judge said Wednesday.

After reviewing the long-anticipated report, District Judge Patricia Parrish said she would question the appropriateness of about $26,000 in expenditures that benefited former Executive Director John Motil, who has since died, and about $2,500 that benefited Robyn Boswell, the charity's administrative assistant.

Among the expenditures questioned in the report were thousands of dollars in charity fund checks signed by Motil that benefitted volleyball and soccer teams that his daughters participated on in Deer Creek. The payments included such things as $2,039 for a volleyball team banquet at Quail Creek Country Club and $822 for volleyball team T-shirts for the Deer Creek High School volleyball team.

Even if such expenditures had some promotional value, investigators said they would question the charity spending significant portions of its marketing budget on events or activities in which Motil's family members were involved. Motil also wrote several hundred dollars in charity checks to his daughters and wife for work he said they had done.

The largest expenditure by Boswell that was questioned was a $2,033 check that she wrote to herself in December 2009. Judge Parrish said there was no documentation explaining the purpose of that check.

Boswell did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

The judge said she didn't think she had the authority to order that the money be paid back and announced she was closing the court case.

Mannix Barnes, who served a brief stint as the charity's interim director after Motil left, said Wednesday that he now plans to ask for an investigation by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Barnes helped blow the whistle on alleged wrongdoing at the charity in January.

“I really believe there are still questions that have not been answered,” said Barnes, who questioned the objectivity and credentials of the individuals who worked on the investigative report. “It's a sad day in Oklahoma when we cannot get a complete audit done with charitable donations by individuals who trust us to make sure their donations each month are going to the right entities.”

Community Health Charities of Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization that collects money through donations and payroll deductions and financially supports 22 local health charities. The group reported collecting $837,715 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, and distributed $720,893 to charities that fiscal year.

The investigative report was prepared by the Oklahoma City law firm of Hartzog Conger Cason & Neville with investigative assistance from several individuals in a master's level accounting class at Oklahoma City University led by C. David Rhoades.

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by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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